British Gas sues Accenture
Ahh... they deserve each other
British Gas is suing Accenture for £182m in costs connected to the failure of a new billing system put in place by the consultants in 2006.
Problems with the system led to a massive increase in complaints against the gas supplier. Centrica, British Gas's parent company, has already written off £200m due to problems with the system.
Complaints about British Gas peaked in April 2007. By October 2007 energywatch figures showed it was still the second worst energy supplier for customer service.
British Gas said complaints have fallen 85 per cent since then.
It said: "British Gas sought to establish what went wrong and why. A subsequent independent analysis of the billing system has concluded that Accenture was responsible for fundamental errors in the design and implementation of the system.
As a direct consequence British Gas was forced to make significant investments to address the system failures and these investments are ongoing. It also incurred significant additional staff costs to manage the customer service issues. The increased cost to address the problems comes on top of the initial £300m investment." The company said it had no other option but to sue Accenture.
It claims it had to hire 2,500 extra staff to help sort out problems created by the billing system.
Accenture sent us the following statement: "Accenture rejects responsibility for the situation Centrica created. Centrica directed the design, build and implementation of the Jupiter system and insisted on many of the features they now find problematic. At their own choice, after extensive testing, in March 2006 Centrica took over total control over all aspects of the system about which they now complain and has operated the system themselves for over two years...We are confident based on the facts of the situation that this claim is baseless and without merit. Accenture will vigorously defend the High Court proceedings."
The statement said that Centrica was trying to shift blame for a situation it created.®
http://www.waltzingrhino.com/Humor/business/accidenture.mp3 is a funny spoof advert for "Accidenture" from a little while ago...
Consulting for Dummies
OK - how many ex-public sector monopoly companies have management that are in-touch with commercial realities of doing business?
So what do the management in such organisations do?
Answer: Play the internal games that are required to make them look good ... which consist of not-taking-risks and making charlie-in-accounts look like a moron while backstabbing angela-in-hr.
When a committee decides that the core business system that ensures cashflow needs a major update, because the auditors have described the core-system as a major risk for the past 5 years, what's the best way to avoid risks?
Answer: Employ a firm of consultants who have a proven track record
What's the last thing that a 'play-it-safe-and-wait-for-my-massive-fat-cat-pension' management type would want to do?
Answer: Sue a large firm of consultants and have it on the public record that the management of XYZ corporation completely failed to pay attention and correctly govern the massively expensive project they handed over to the consultants?
What's going on at BG - has someone forgotten to play-it-safe? Or is someone trying to cover their fat-cat ass? There's only one set of people that are going to look like a pack-of-f**kwits at the end of the sorry saga - and it won't be the consulting firm.
It's about time someone let Richard Branson loose in the utility sector in the UK - giving fat-cat-corporations the shaft is his speciality. Look what he did for British Airways.
As another poor unfortunate...
I was also on the project at the early stages. We had Siebel come in telling the ACN and Centrica "oh, yes sir, you can do that, and this and this with Siebel", and I *personally* warned them that they were pushing the software beyond what it was designed to do, altering basic data structures that would lead to the product being unupgradeable, but was ignored. Centrica Mgt listened to what they wanted to hear.
For the billing side, ACN brought in people who had successful done this from the US and Canada. There were a lot of yanks in Chertsey. You've got to ask - why did it work in these companies in the US, but the same people failed in Chertsey. Answer - client with its head in the sand wanting every feature regardless of how unstable it made the overall system.