IBM faces lawsuit over failed SAP implementation

But IBM says the allegations are misguided

IBM is being sued by chemicals manufacturer Avantor Performance Materials for fraud and breach of contract, following a failed SAP software implementation.

Avantor, which filed the complaint on 8 November with the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, said it is seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages from IBM.

Avantor's complaint alleges that IBM, retained by Avantor to upgrade the company's global computer systems to an SAP platform, misrepresented the capabilities of its proprietary Express Life Sciences software solution, leading to a failed implementation in Avantor's US locations.

IBM Express Life Sciences runs on SAP and provides mid-size companies with real-time data from across the enterprise for cost information, electronic batch and device history records, and electronic signatures.

"IBM representatives assured us that its Express Life Sciences Solution, a prepackaged software solution, was suitable to run Avantor's core business processes," says John Steitz, President and CEO of Avantor.

"In fact, the solution - and the service and support offered by IBM throughout the implementation - proved to be woefully misaligned with the unique needs of our company and our customers."

IBM also violated its contract by staffing the project with "incompetent and reckless consultants" who made "numerous design, configuration and programming errors," according to the suit.

Avantor claims that it had been recovering from the alleged failed SAP implementation for the last seven months, and the company is now largely operating at pre-SAP implementation service levels.

Commenting on the news, IBM said it was "surprised" that Avantor chose to file suit, and that the allegations are "exaggerated and misguided".

"IBM met its contractual obligations and delivered a solution that Avantor continues to use in its operations," a spokesperson said, adding that IBM would defend itself "vigorously" against the claims.

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