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4/14/2009
07:45 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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SAP Buried Under 9M Pages Of Docs In Ex-Client Lawsuit

Waste Management's year-old lawsuit claiming its $100M SAP implementation was a "complete failure" shows the ugly side of E-discovery: SAP says that in a two-week period its former client sent 8.6 million pages of documents and 575,000 pages of emails and attachments. Even worse - oh yes, it gets worse - SAP has had 25-30 attorneys reviewing documents "continually" for six months.

Waste Management's year-old lawsuit claiming its $100M SAP implementation was a "complete failure" shows the ugly side of E-discovery: SAP says that in a two-week period its former client sent 8.6 million pages of documents and 575,000 pages of emails and attachments. Even worse - oh yes, it gets worse - SAP has had 25-30 attorneys reviewing documents "continually" for six months.While SAP has used recent courtroom filings to paint a nightmare scenario of "massive and incredibly costly efforts" that include "spending millions on an E-discovery vendor and contract attorneys," the nightmare for former client Waste Management began a few years ago when it claims SAP promised it would install a robust, field-tested order-to-cash system to handle the $13 billion company's business.

In fact, Waste Management's lawsuit has asserted, the SAP software was "unable to run [our] most basic revenue management operation," according to an InformationWeek news story. "Waste Management alleges that SAP tried to solve the problem by rewriting tens of thousands of lines of core code during the implementation process," the article also states. "But that only caused further failures and made the system incompatible with future upgrades, Waste Management claims."

SAP has a different version of what happened, and for the past year these two large corporations have been preparing for what could be a long and messy legal battle. And as the firms' lawyers prepare to begin taking depositions, claims and counterclaims have been filed about who's cooperating and who's dragging their feet and who should be made to stand in the corner during snack time.

In the meantime, if SAP did indeed receive 8.6 million pages of documents in two weeks, then by my back-of-my-hand calculations that would represent a stack of paper more than half a mile high (2,500 sheets in a 10-inch box into 8,600,000 sheets = 3,440 boxes x 10 inches/box = 34,440 inches = 2,866 feet = 0.54 miles).

And only in America could a company that strives to create a paperless workplace lock horns with a company that specializes in managing waste and jointly combine to produce stacks of paper more than half a mile high before the real party even begins. The E-discovery market must be licking its chops.

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