Feeds

MFI stumbles over SAP writ

Whose fault is it anyway?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.