Oracle also misled Montclair State about how long the project would take, saying it could be done quickly through a methodology it had developed, the complaint states. At the same time, Oracle was working out a contract with the Lone Star College System to install a similar set of software, it adds. Oracle repeatedly told MSU that the Lone Star project was comparable to its own plans, according to the complaint.
In fact, "the number of personnel and resources available to the Lone Star College System to complete its implementation ... was four times greater than the personnel and resources available to the University to implement its ERP system," the complaint states.
Ultimately, most of the work Oracle performed, for which the university has paid more than $6 million, won't be reusable, according to the complaint. Depending on which vendor MSU hires, the cost to finish the project will exceed Oracle's original $15.75 million bid by up to $20 million, Montclair has said.
The revised complaint also includes a partial list of MSU's project requirements and in all runs 60 pages, nearly twice as many as the original filing.
"This is a textbook example of how to file a legal action against a vendor for failure to deliver," said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, who reviewed the updated complaint on Wednesday.
MSU made some smart moves to protect itself, such as documenting all conversations and interactions with Oracle, and working out an escalation procedure in the event the project ran into problems. It also was wise to use real-life use cases for the demonstrations, Wang added.
"The documentation on this complaint is solid," he said. "Whether it's true or not, we'll let the courts decide."
Another expert pointed out that it remains to be seen whether MSU or Oracle is responsible for the problems.
"The fact that Montclair produced a detailed list of Oracle project issues does support their claim that work was not completed as expected," said Michael Krigsman, CEO of Asuret, a consulting firm that helps organizations conduct IT projects successfully, in an email.
"However, the detailed fact list does not establish cause," he added. "The case hinges on the respective roles, responsibilities, and expectations of the parties in driving successful project results. In and of itself, the mere fact that something went wrong does not help us understand either why the problem occurred or which party was responsible."
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com