Well it’s that time of year.  It’s been a while since we have seen an ERP train wreck spelled out so publicly.  This article recently appeared in PC World:

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/228412/oracle_sued_by_university_for_alleged_erp_failure.html

I don’t want to completely take sides or a make a judgment here as Oracle has yet to state their side of the story and their truly is usually two sides to every story.

That being said, we constantly compete with vendors who claim to use some fancily named methodology and a quarterly quota driven salesperson paints a very rosy picture.  However, once the deal is signed, checks exchange hands and Champaign is uncorked, reality sets in.

From the little I see here, it sounds like the real breakdown wasn’t the software so much as the management of the implementation and quality of the consultants.  I’d also be willing to bet there were significant issues with the client in terms of dedicating the appropriate resources and they probably had the impression that the system would be implemented for them by Oracle, vs. the reality that the end user is just as responsible for a successful implementation as the vendor.

However, Oracle was ultimately responsible and should have had the business courage to call a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting about the problems, assuming there were a fair number of them being caused by the client.  Instead, they just continued billing away.

I also am amazed by the ratio of services to software.  We fight an uphill battle with clients who always think the implementation is too expensive when our ratios are 1:1 to about 1.8:1 Services to software depending on the solution and project.

This project was budgeted at 4-1 ratio for a solution that was actually specifically written for the industry.  Then Oracle wanted to change it to 6-1, even though they signed a fixed fee contract.

Now the lawyers get to make millions litigating this mess in multiple lawsuits and they still don’t have a new solution.