Feeds

IBM, Accenture play blame game over $1bn project blowout

Sueball guns locked and loaded

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

IBM and Accenture are sniping at one another in public over just who should take the blame - and the fall - for the $AUD1bn blowout of a project to provide the Australian State of Queensland's Department of Health with a new payroll system.

The project kicked off in 2007 with a budget of just over $6m. It's now expected to cost up to $1.25bn to complete, a failure that has led the State's government to run a Commission of Inquiry into the affair.

That inquiry is due to report by the end of July, and looks set to spark a rolling lawyer-fest on a scale that Cecil B de Mille might find worthy of attention.

Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told the inquiry the former government chose to negotiate a settlement with IBM rather than risk litigation. However, it looks like the vendors surrounding the project will be more than happy to unleash their lawyers as soon as the commission delivers its report.

With public hearings complete, the two vendors front-and-centre of the inquiry, IBM (which won the 2007 tender) and unsuccessful bidder Accenture are still firing barbs at each other via written submissions.

Through its counsel, IBM appears to be girding for a battle against pretty much everyone, just in case: the Queensland Government, the commission of inquiry (which Big Blue repeatedly cautions should not make adverse findings against it), and Accenture.

At issue is the tender process in which IBM won the contract.

The counsel assisting the Commissioner has asserted that a consultant working on the project, Terry Burns, had shown partiality to IBM due to a long-ago prior employment by the company in South Africa. That partiality, denied by Big Blue, combined with a poorly-managed tender process in which Burns found himself making key decisions about the project, led to a “disparity of treatment” of tenderers, counsel assisting asserts.As we've reported previously, Burns denies that assertion.

The use of “WorkBrain” software from Infor also came under criticism, with counsel assisting suggesting that the software was inadequately tested and benchmarked for such a large organisation – again, something that IBM refutes in its counter-submission.

In the meantime, Accenture is aggrieved that it was prevented from giving evidence to the inquiry. Even though it had not won the tender, it believes it's been unfairly accused of colluding with SAP during the tender process.

Accenture also complains that IBM is using its submission to accuse it of improper behaviour. As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, the consulting giant says IBM did not make this allegation in the witness stand, instead “only indirectly by public submissions, in a manner that would inevitably cause the greatest harm to Mr Porter's* personal reputation and [by association] the reputation of his former employer” (Simon Porter, a former Accenture executive).

With two giants apparently so ready to set lawyers sniping at each other, August 1 will probably be popcorn time. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.