Hit where it Hertz

Few of my regular readers will be surprised by this story:

The US corporation hired monster management consultancy firm Accenture in August 2016 to completely revamp its online presence. The new site was due to go live in December 2017. But a failure to get on top of things led to a delay to January 2018, and then a second delay to April 2018 which was then also missed, we’re told.

As Hertz endured the delays, it found itself immersed in a nightmare: a product and design that apparently didn’t do half of what was specified and still wasn’t finished. “By that point, Hertz no longer had any confidence that Accenture was capable of completing the project, and Hertz terminated Accenture,” the car rental company complained in a lawsuit [PDF] lodged against Accenture in New York this month.

Hertz is suing for the $32m it paid Accenture in fees to get to that aborted stage, and it wants more millions to cover the cost of fixing the mess. “Accenture never delivered a functional website or mobile app,” Hertz claimed.

The whole thing is worth reading, even if just to reconfirm what most of us already know about the practice of hiring large consulting firms. From getting the basics wrong:

Among the most mind-boggling allegations in Hertz’s filed complaint is that Accenture didn’t incorporate a responsive design, in which webpages automatically resize to accommodate the visitor’s screen size whether they are using a phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop.

To bait-and-switch tactics:

The team working on the project was pulled off by Accenture “but their replacements did not have the same level of experience, and a good deal of knowledge was lost in the transition.

And the inevitable extras:

When the rental giant’s execs asked where the tablet version was, Accenture “demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional fees to deliver the promised medium-sized layout.”

It’s all there.

(Via Tim Almond)

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18 thoughts on “Hit where it Hertz

  1. There’s a joke about Hertz van Rental – the famous Dutch painter – in here somewhere.

  2. So what you’re saying is

    Hertz declined the additional insurance cover offered when signing the contract & is now whining ?

  3. Hertz declined the additional insurance cover offered when signing the contract & is now whining ?

    Heh!

  4. Wow. This sounds eerily familiar.

    I worked for a large firm – a competitor to Accenture, back in the late 90s. Bait and switch must be SOP for those guys. That’s exactly what they did. All the pros got the ball rolling, and then they staffed up with new college hires and dot-indians.

    Only this was a $75M contract.

    My team built out the infrastructure to handle the client-server replacement for their aging, non Y2K mainframe. First thing that hit me, when sizing up what the apps people were building from scratch, was – wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply buy the apps that worked already? For instance, they were custom building a sales/marketing app. All they really needed to do was upgrade the one they were using. Goldmine, in this case.

    The apps were horrible. Built by indians with zero concept of usability, and the simple ergonomics of a client interface.

    The deliverables were late, causing the consulting firm to migrate the mainframe apps to a cloud-type arrangement (leasing an LPAR from a provider). That caused a moment of clarity for the end customer – “Why didn’t we do that all along”. In the end , they fired them and sued. Just like here.

  5. SOP
    Relies on the buyer being staffed with just as many useless box tickers who expect to climb a rung (inside or out) before the music stops.

    The difference here being that Hertz seemed to have retained at least one or two competent enought to cry “foul!”
    It won’t have done their careers any good at all….their subordinates watching will observe the result and learn that next time, the correct action is to stay silent and jump ship.

    We had a dose of the Accentures too. I’m not sure if we have recovered, or ever will do.

  6. Accenture are twats, never, ever use them.
    I had them as a customer once. Their application broke down and so I went in to see what happened. My answer “You’re using it wrong.”. The admin had no idea what he was doing. I checked with my missus who was a database expert, who laughed when I told her the problem “They’re using it wrong.”
    I explained on a whiteboard the theory, they refused to believe me.
    I then had to set up an experiment, all the while with manager whining that their system was down and me saying “But you’re using it wrong.””
    The experiment, conducted late at nght broke the database, but left the application intact, whch proved that they were using it wrong.
    I told them what to do and not bother me again as it wasn’t my job to tell them how to run their business. Twats.
    It was a shame that when Arthur Anderson went down it ddn’t take the consulting arm with it.

  7. If you hire a company that calls itself “Accenture”, you should know what you’re getting into.

  8. To bait-and-switch tactics:

    The team working on the project was pulled off by Accenture “but their replacements did not have the same level of experience, and a good deal of knowledge was lost in the transition.

    This went on a lot in the telecoms management consultancy world when I was involved. Clients would do their best to guard against it, but they also wanted basement prices.

  9. Surely by now these lawsuits are going to start to fail, on the grounds that hiring a large consulting company is effectively signing up to getting ripped off?

  10. Bait and switch must be SOP for those guys.

    SOP everywhere. A mate of mine once complained to me that the icy blonde, ex-Cambridge, ex-FT, MBAed hottie who persuaded him to sign up with a leading London PR firm was immediately replaced with halfwitted Ruperts the moment the ink dried on the contract.

  11. The part about resizing webpages is particularly poor. Resizing is easy nowadays and anyone worth their salt should test for desktop, tablet, large mobile and small mobile (and in both landscape and portrait mode).

  12. BoM4,

    So why is it that on every wepage, when I go to click something I want to click on, the thing I want to click on moves somewhere else, and something I didn’t want to click on magically appears under my mouse pointer 12.4 femtoseconds before I click?

  13. BiG
    Short answer:
    They hate you 😉

    Long answer:
    That is because most web sites are built on frameworks that download pretty much everything including the kitchen sink by crap cheap web developers who even if they gave a crap would be allowed to give a crap and do stuff right because management are the usual dumb cnuts.

  14. MC
    “Surely by now these lawsuits are going to start to fail, on the grounds that hiring a large consulting company is effectively signing up to getting ripped off?”

    Yeap, that’s my opinion too.

  15. Bloke on M4,
    The part about resizing webpages is particularly poor. Resizing is easy nowadays and anyone worth their salt should test for desktop, tablet, large mobile and small mobile (and in both landscape and portrait mode).

    ISTR reading that Google down grades sites in their search results if a site isn’t mobile compatible. Not good for a big multinational, let alone the SME looking for a web presence.

  16. The bait & switch is the basis of the whole business model.

    But then it’s a dance. The client wants the moon on a stick for less than the cost of parts for a stick, so bidders go to work, knowing that the work will be awarded to the lowest bid. The winning supplier then has to do whatever it can to deliver on the letter of the contract while still turning a profit. Hence the B&S, and peevish pedantry on meeting requirements*, hence the 50pts of margin on the inevitable contract change note.

    And in my experience, happily or otherwise, clients seem to play this game with their eyes open, because politics, careers and short-term financial planning takes precedent over the greater long-term good of the company.

    So while it’s easy and very tempting to condemn Accenture and hope that Hertz take them to the cleaners, the truth is likely to be that both parties are as bad as one another, with people and systems on bpth sides all being guilty of monumental stupidity.

    The loser, as ever, is actually Hertz customers – typically the corporate ones because see above – who end up eating the cost of the debacle in their inflated hire car charges.

    * Imagine buying a car, and finding it doesn’t have wheels, because you took it for granted they would be part of the core offer. That’s the IT services game of making the client write the requirements and then accepting them, knowing that they will not meet the actual business requirement, and adjusting your H2 financial forecast upwards on the back of anticipated CCNs.

  17. Why doesn’t our UK government, police force, NHS, BBC and probably MOD ( but that would be secret ) sue when the promised wonder product fails?
    Shurely not because they have an infinite (apparently) money source?

  18. If you want to spend mindbogglingly enormous sums of money for negative value, then they’re the best in the business. Accenture should be renamed to Africa.

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