back to article Southwark council sues IBM

A London local authority is taking legal action against IBM over a software solution it claims is not fit for purpose. The London Borough of Southwark has issued a writ against the company over the performance of a master data management system, developed by another company, for the cleaning up of information on several …

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Big Brother

Yeah Right

"We sincerely hope this matter will be resolved and it should be made clear that this issue does in no way reflect the normally high standard of products provided by IBM."

I could explain to you why their normal high standard of products no way reflected your issues, if they happened to sell mirrors and only mirrors.

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FAIL

Translation

"We failed to exercise due diligence in ascertaining what we needed the new software to do, and how it needed to do it. Due to this we purchased some software that was unsuitable, and would like a refund. The software works as it was intended, but not as we need it to work so rather than suing the manufacturer, we'll sue Big Blue who sold it to us!"

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This may be why I am not a lawyer

Because to me it seems simple. The system either does what it was supposed to, in which case IBM are in the right, or it doesn't in which case the Council are in the right.

Why is law so complicated?

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Headmaster

@Daniel Wilkie

but what if the customer signed off the specification and said this what we want.....IBM built it....Then the customer comes back and goes "ah but thats not what we want"...."Rewrite it".

IBM says "Give us some more money then?"....... "Nah got none, we've spent in on *add group here*".

Well why did you sign it off in the first place? If it is bad programming then IBM should fix it. If its cause someone signed the wrong thing off then thats different. Can't have your cake and eat it!

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Alert

Not fit for purpose?

Does this have any chance of coming off? Plenty of software I've used over the years was in no way "fit for purpose".

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Flame

Amount Confidential

No it's bloody not! FOI time!! Legal right, blah blah blah

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FAIL

Astonishing.

Wow a public sector organisation that failed to specify requirements properly, failed to recognise this at any point during the project and then perform a proper user acceptance procedure?

Whatever next - a consultancy that is willing to flog unnecessary software?

I can't believe it!

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Re: This may be why I am not a lawyer

In this case, it appears not quite so simple. The council don't claim it doesn't do what it is supposed to do. They claim it isn't fit for THEIR purpose. So it'll probably come down to whose responsibility it was to determine the requirements and whether or not the product met them.

I've written plenty of software that worked exactly as it was intended to do only to discover it doesn't meet the actual requirements - and for a hundred different reasons.

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Microsoft

Does that mean everyone who owns a copy of Vista can get a refund?

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Anonymous Coward

@Kevin 43

Working in local gov, I too cannot believe it.

Next they'll be saying Councillors haven't got a clue what they're talking about, shocking I say ;)

(Anon, 'cause I have an IT project that I'm 99% confident has been spec'ed accurately, I know this cause I've not let higher management have any say in it).

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WTF?

@AC to Kevin 43

so to have reasonable, value for money IT we have to keep politicians out of it? No, surely not.. Can you name a single government IT project that has ever been mis-sold to public, gone over budget, or just not worked? Thought not.

Or something like that.

(to any lawyers reading: by the way, if IBM provided stuff that meets spec, and counter-sues or gets costs for this suit, I take it the individuals who wrote the spec will share joint & several liability with the councillors who approved the budget for it, and won't dump the bill for any screwups on their part onto Southwark's taxpayers? Were I a Southwark resident how would I make sure that I wasn't paying for that sort of thing, and make sure the people responsible do so themselves?)

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@AC FOI

If only the freedom of information act worked that way - it will be refused on the grounds of it being commercial in confidence... Maybe should be called freedom of some information act?

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