A year ago May, I wrote about British Gas suing Accenture for £182 million ($365 million) over an IT project called Project Jupiter which British Gas claimed reduced its customer-billing process to "shambles."
At the time, an Accenture spokesman was quoted by the Times as saying that Centrica [the parent company of British Gas] "conducted extensive testing" on the system before it was handed over.
The spokesperson added: "We are confident, based on the facts of the situation, that this claim is baseless and without merit. Accenture will vigorously defend the High Court proceedings."
Well, a UK High Court agreed last week that maybe the British Gas claims weren't so baseless after all.
According to a story in this week's London Times,
"On Friday [November 5] the High Court issued a judgment on the preliminary issues raised by Accenture, relating to the wording of a contract between the two companies and a warranty claim. The judgment from Mr Justice Field at the High Court in Winchester was in favour of British Gas on all six points" of alleged contract breaches by Accenture.
The court didn't say that the claims made by British Gas were correct, but that the company had a right to test them in court.
The Times reported that Accenture disagreed with the ruling and planned to appeal. The paper quotes an Accenture spokesperson saying, "There has been no final determination of the case or any of the detailed underlying facts of this case. We remain confident that Centrica’s claim is baseless and that Accenture will prevail when the factual issues are examined in detail at trial."
Hmm, I noticed that the Accenture spokesperson didn't say the British Gas claims were "without merit" this time around.
I wrote in 2008 that I thought the affair would be settled out of court before a trial occurs - I think that even more so now.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.