Avantor Sues IBM Over SAP Implementation | November 19, 2012 Issue - Vol. 90 Issue 47 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 47 | p. 9 | News of The Week
Issue Date: November 19, 2012 | Web Date: November 15, 2012

Avantor Sues IBM Over SAP Implementation

Lab chemicals business alleges product misrepresentation
Department: Business
Keywords: software, information technology, services, SAP

Avantor Performance Materials has filed a lawsuit against IBM over what it claims is the failed implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from the software firm SAP.

Avantor, the former Mallinckrodt Baker lab chemicals business, alleges in its suit that IBM fraudulently misrepresented the capabilities of its Express Life Sciences Solution information technology platform, which is based on SAP software.

The firm had operated on homegrown software, a spokeswoman explains, but determined that an ERP system was necessary to support planned growth via acquisition. “Issues with the implementation led to widespread problems that prevented us from manufacturing and shipping at appropriate levels for months,” she says. The firm is seeking damages in the tens of millions of dollars.

John M. Steitz, CEO of Avantor, says IBM’s IT platform and services proved “woefully misaligned with the unique needs of our company and our customers.”

IBM denies that it failed to fulfill its obligations. “We believe the allegations in the complaint are exaggerated and misguided and are surprised that Avantor chose to file suit,” the company says.

SAP holds a significant ERP software market share in many industries, including chemicals. In the 1990s, most major chemical firms adopted SAP software. Installations, which sometimes caused interruptions in daily operations, were often undertaken by service firms such as IBM.

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