Feeds

MFI stumbles over SAP writ

Whose fault is it anyway?

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.