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IBM Gets Aggressive in Countering Bridgestone Lawsuit

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In case you missed it (yeah right), The Healthcare.gov debacle just provided the entire world with a painful reminder of the challenges inherent in IT projects.

On that note, here’s an interesting case we missed last week: IBM, a company known for keeping its cards as close to its chest as possible, has gone all out to address a lawsuit filed by former partner Bridgestone Tires.

ZDNet calls it “PR finger pointing“, and it goes a little something like this: after hiring IBM to help install SAP software, Bridgestone blamed the company for a “failed” launch and sued for $600 million to cover “fraud” and other expenses.

In the wake of such accusations, IBM chose to go on the offensive, calling the claims “exaggerated, factually wrong and without merit” and writing that Bridgestone “failed to meet critical commitments upon which the performance of IBM’s obligations were predicated.”

The statement IBM reps provided to Business Insider is quite extensive; it includes a series of bullet points detailing the many mistakes that Bridgestone allegedly made during the implementation process.

Here’s the larger point: tech is a tricky thing. A recent McKinsey study, for example, claims that a majority of all IT projects “deliver less functionality than predicted”, but it’s rare to hear of a case as large as this one or Healthcare.gov.

ZDNet’s Michael Krigsman writes that IBM’s statements “come across as little more than disingenuous legal posturing” because, in most cases, all involved parties share the blame for IT failures.

We get why they had to be aggressive with the message when facing such a big lawsuit, but most brands don’t want to badmouth their tech partners and vice versa. Is this the best way to confront IT challenges and the fallout that follows implementation and functionality problems?

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