Feeds

MFI stumbles over SAP writ

Whose fault is it anyway?

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

MFI Furniture Group has until Tuesday to serve a writ for compensation against IBM before its claim expires.

Former MFI chief executive John Hancock said last summer the company would seek compensation from IBM and other parties involved in the bodged implementation of a £50m SAP system that cost the retailer an additional £30m, was responsible for substantial losses, and the heads of two directors in 2004.

MFI registered a writ against IBM in August last year, almost a year after it exposed the gremlins in its SAP supply chain system, and just after it finished clearing up the mess.

The Register understands that the retailer was under pressure to file the action before it was ready to pursue it because of contractual terms that put a time limit on compensation claims against IBM.

The writ was amended on October 7, just three days after the resignation of CEO John Hancock, who had presided over the implementation, the crisis, the response, and the preparation for legal action.

MFI had four months to serve the writ on IBM, but the retailer left it in an unusual state of limbo. From Tuesday, 7 February, MFI will no longer be able to pursue the action unless it is able to convince a judge that there are extraordinary circumstances that have delayed its action.

The system was supplied by SAP, implemented by IBM, and consulting support was given by KSA.

When the crisis emerged in September 2004, both MFI and SAP said the software had not been the source of the problems. The retailer blamed the botched transfer of data from old computer systems and the failure of staff to work in new processes.

These problems arose despite the implementation being handled in stages over a period of years. When MFI was asked at the time how it could have run into such serious issues with an implementation that was phased and managed by IBM, one of the biggest names in the business, it said the question was being pursued by Hancock. IBM refused to provide any comment at the time.

MFI was also well aware of the challenges it would face in the implementation. Old retail systems tend to be built around functions, and populated with data in different formats, and people who are not used to working outside their own departmental cloisters. These characteristics can complicate the implementation of an ERP system.

Compensation claims for computer system failures are notoriously difficult to bring to court, not the least because it is difficult to identify the root cause of failure in a complex implementation. This is especially relevant in large retail implementations. MFI's supply chain system had to be implemented across around 800 stores and 20 logistics sites. This complexity may have hindered MFI in the development of a case against IBM.

Hancock had also considered seeking compensation from SAP and KSA, but no record of any action has been found.

MFI declined to comment. Neither SAP or IBM were available for comment. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.