Marin County Blames SAP for Failed “Ramp-Up” Project

California’s Marin County heard extensive sales pitches from SAP, Oracle, and PeopleSoft before deciding on SAP’s complex ERP 2005 software to revamp their county-wide system in 2004. What followed this decision were years of headaches and millions in overrun costs. The software was implemented throughout the county by Deloitte Consulting, who allegedly charged the county exorbitant fees while installing the system.

Marin County initially filed a lawsuit with Deloitte, who has since called the claims baseless and untrue. The county claims that the firm misrepresented its knowledge and general understanding of the complicated SAP technology and was thus incompetent in its implementation. Representatives for Deloitte say that they had completed the project exactly as stated on the contract and that the failure of the system was the fault of the unprepared county.

While the county admits that it probably “bit off more than it could chew” by implementing and going live with a complex system before it was completely ready, they say that it was the job of Deloitte to properly advise and prepare them. The lawsuit is still pending and waiting to be settled.

After filing a complaint against the consulting firm, the county then filed a lawsuit against German ERP giant SAP, claiming that the company provided a “puffed up” and inaccurate portrayal of the ERP software during their sales pitch. SAP provided the county with a presentation including numerous benefits of the new software, ERP 2005, but failed to mention any of the involved risks with implementing the system.

The county says that SAP convinced them to purchase the newest ERP software instead of their initial ERP 2004 choice by promising to give them the support and guidance that goes along with implementing the system. SAP allegedly did not deliver on this promise and left Marin County woefully unprepared to go live with the system.

SAP has responded that while Marin believes that the company used fraudulent means to entice them into purchasing complicated and costly software, the sales pitch in reality simply employed classic salesmanship techniques to sell their product.

Since deciding on SAP to update its system, Marin County has spent over $18.6 million on the implementation of the project, $2.8 million more than it had expected.


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