When I first covered the Chrysler/Accenture lawsuit a few weeks back, the primary discussion around the topic was on culpability. The original post which you can read here generated some great comments and analysis. But regardless of who is to blame -- and whom you think John Campi and his team will file suit against next -- there are some interesting broader issues that the litigation has already raised that are worth considering. Perhaps the most important of these is the contractual commitments and warranty limitations implied and articulated in a consulting sales process (e.g., suggested savings numbers) relative to the numbers committed to in an engagement letter and the final savings numbers at the conclusion of an engagement (both identified and delivered). Believe me, this is as far from black and white as it gets. And it also raises some great issues for internal procurement organizations to think about as they fancy themselves as service providers to the business. How, for example, can you count cost avoidance in rising commodity markets towards their overall goals which corporate originally defined as hard dollar cost savings? If you achieve these cost avoidances but fail to achieve savings as someone else originally defined it for you , have they failed? If Accenture saved Chrysler from cost increases by forcing domestic suppliers to become more competitive and avoiding cost increases in a rising commodity market as a result of the global initiatives, perhaps they really did justify their $7+ million in fees -- maybe this never made it into the complaint! As I said, not black and white. But certainly something to learn from.
- Jason Busch