You’ve probably heard about this latest $32M Hertz vs. Accenture lawsuit by now, where Hertz is suing Accenture for failure to deliver on a digital transformation project involving their website and mobile applications. I’ve personally received hundreds of emails, texts, links and questions on this exciting case.
My only response to this point has been a nod of understanding as I, like many, have been frustrated with Hertz’ website. In fact, it drives me nuts and I have found myself using other rental agencies as a result of this frustration.
This is also selfishly an opportunity to say, “I told you so”. We have recently shared many thoughts around the concept of managing your digital transformation and systems integrator, including an article about the SAP implementation disaster at Revlon, which led to lost customer sales, a pummeled stock price, and an investor lawsuit. We also published a popular article regarding the concepted of being “Accentured.” In the case of the Hertz vs. Accenture lawsuit, Hertz has clearly been Accentured.
Similar to getting bit by a rattlesnake, it’s not clear that Accenture is fully to blame; it’s just who they are. In another recent posting where we talked about system integrator vs. customer responsibilities, we discussed the concept that companies implementing technology have a level of responsibility themselves.
Hertz is not a small company with limited resources, and likely “let” themselves fall into the Accenture trap. Hertz certainly has some compelling issues that have been noted in the lawsuit and they may very well have a viable case, but there are a few key issues that standout where Hertz may have let their guard down:
It appears that Hertz basically allowed Accenture to “run” and manage the entire project.
With a transformation of this size and importance to customer experience, NEVER take your hands off the wheel. As the implementing organization, you should always have a position of ultimate program management, and essentially manage your system integrator versus the other way around. It is important to keep your systems integrator under control.
Hertz hired only Accenture to deliver this project.
Accenture does have a great name and is one of the largest systems integrators on the planet, but putting all of your eggs in one basket is rarely a good idea. If you don’t have the resources or experience to provide internal project management, business process management or organizational change management, bring in outside help. Systems integrators are not a silver bullet to outsource your entire digital transformation to, so simply don’t allow your SI to singularly hold the keys to your success.
Accenture gathered requirements and developed a design to implement.
This is perfect. Accenture also acted as product owner, deciding themselves whether the design met requirements. This is a problem. Again, Hertz let Accenture take ownership of what is rightfully theirs.
The project execution began in August 2016, with Accenture promising a go-live in December 2017.
Hertz complained when it wasn’t implemented on time. As stated above, Hertz is a huge company with multiple entities, complexities and a whole lot of customers and definitions of end clients. Curious if anyone at Hertz ever batted an eye to ask if this was really possible.
Accenture is known for accelerating billings and piling junior resources on projects to increase profits, and this is not a secret. Following best practice, Hertz should have been monitoring internal capacity along with project schedule as well as budget tracking. It really should not have been any surprise that the timeline was never going to work.
Finally, Hertz selected Accenture.
From what is public knowledge it sounds like they only considered two options and chose Accenture after a one-day demonstration. Shame on Hertz for not doing their homework on who they were hiring and buying into a well-practiced sales pitch.
Conclusion: Take ownership of your digital transformation
This case follows very similar patterns to nearly every case we review where an implementing company blames their systems integrator for failure to implement on-time or on-budget. There is a grand perspective that Accenture, Deloitte, Capgemini or other large SIs carry some magical ability to simply run an implementation on their own while the implementing organization sits back to watch.
If you are heading into a digital transformation or are mid-stream and starting to see some stress cracks, take note of the above points and learn from Hertz’ failure to take ownership of their digital transformation. Contact us to learn more about how our technology-agnostic team of experts can help with your digital transformation project.