LawsonGuru Blog

Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community

“We Are All Culpable”


That line comes back to me as I read about a client suing Lawson over a failed implementation.


I dunno, but this sure sounds like a pretty typical ERP implementation. But like a failed marriage, there is usually plenty of blame to go around–and, of course, no one willing to take it.

Several years ago, I helped mediate and ultimately dissolve what had become a toxic customer/vendor relationship. The unique aspect–for me–was that both the customer and the vendor wanted me involved in the settlement, since I had insight into both sides of their dispute. Both parties initially agreed to equally share the blame, and what could have ended up in a nasty courtroom battle was ultimately resolved fairly amicably.

What resonated then–but appears to be absent now in this case–was the mutual desire of both parties to end amiciably and move on. In other words: avoid the cost, lost productivity, and bad publicity associated with litigation.

Customer/vendor disputes are to be expected in some percentage of sales–human nature means that not everyone can be 100% satisfied. Therefore, involving the lawyers is not that uncommon. But what is uncommon–and ultimately so counter-productive–is litigation.

Here are some notable past ERP disputes:

Here are some excellent industry articles:

  • You Sue, You Lose: The High Cost of Litigation
    The rise in lawsuits over failed software projects demonstrates a truism-everyone loses in court. CIOs can avoid a legal morass by doing up-front contract work to protect their companies’ interests. CIO, February 1, 2004 http://www.cio.com/archive/020104/vendor.html
  • How to Divorce Your Technology Vendor
    When deciding whether to change vendors, avoid getting stung while considering legal liability, service-level agreements, and support for soon-to-be legacy applications.
    Infoworld, May 1, 2006
    http://www.infoworld.com/reports/18SRvendor.html
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3 responses to ““We Are All Culpable”

  1. Phil Simon August 23, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Good post, John. I agree completely that there’s usually plenty of blame to go around. I just incorporated similar sentiments into the next edition of “Why New Systems Fail.”

  2. tboehm30 August 24, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks.
    I have read plenty on why projects fail, and why they are delayed, but not much on what happens after that.

    This is a great list of articles detailing those stories.

  3. John Eisenschmidt October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Excellent post John.

    No one whose been through an ERP implementation should be surprised by the outcome, but it takes two to tango. Clients often hire “consultants” to transfer all of their risk and obligation, expecting to sign a check and get a call when it’s time to go live.

    No amount of money gets you what you want, when you want it, exactly the way you expect it, without any input.

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