It has been a taxing time for some of the big account managers at Computer Sciences Corp (CSC).
In the space of a few days in July, the services giant learned that it had not only been bumped off the short list to manage the massive UK Inland Revenue systems project, but that another huge project to upgrade computer systems at the US equivalent, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), had also gone awry. Until the surprise UK decision, insiders had been saying that CSC and its alliance partner, BT, were making real progress, against heavy odds, in their battle to displace US services giant Electronic Data Systems (EDS) for the £4 billion contract.
BT, in particular, had been led to believe it was a frontrunner for the deal. Perhaps the US IRS experience did not help. A plan to upgrade the IRS database, at a cost of some $33 million, will now be pushed back by nearly a year – the latest in a series of delays.
CSC is working with IBM and several other partners on the project. “This most recent setback is a serious matter,” IRS Commissioner Mark Everson told reporters on the Wall Street Journal. “The… project has had a number of delays over the past several years – too many delays.”
Observers say the delays could jeopardise future contracts and will cost the contractors more to fix.