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Waste Management sues SAP over ERP implementation

US$100 million suit alleges the vendor misrepresented software capabilities, faked demos

The trash-disposal giant Waste Management is suing SAP, saying top SAP executives participated in a fraudulent sales scheme that resulted in a failed ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementation.

Waste Management said it is seeking recovery of more than US$100 million in project expenses, as well as “the savings and benefits that the SAP software was promised to deliver to Waste Management.”

An SAP spokesman said via e-mail Thursday that “as a matter of policy SAP does not comment on ongoing litigation.”

In 2005, Waste Management was looking for a new revenue management system, according to a company statement. “SAP proposed its Waste and Recycling product and claimed it was a tested, working solution that had been developed with the needs of Waste Management in mind,” the Waste Management statement reads in part.

SAP promised that the software could be fully implemented throughout all of Waste Management within 18 months, according to the statement.

“From the beginning, SAP assured Waste Management that its software was an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution that would meet Waste Management’s needs without any customization or enhancements,” the statement reads. “Unfortunately, Waste Management ultimately learned that these representations were not true.”

Waste Management said product demonstrations by SAP prior to the deal employed “‘fake software environments, even though these demonstrations were represented to be the actual software.”

Waste Management’s original complaint, filed in Harris County, Texas district court, said senior SAP executives, including SAP Americas’ president and CEO, Bill McDermott, participated in the “rigged and manipulated” demos.

The company filed suit against SAP Americas and SAP AG on March 20 after “months of discussions with SAP and a recent consensual, three-day mediation that SAP ended after day two,” according to the statement.