IBM cleared of mis-selling MDM to Southwark Council

Southwark Council’s claim that IBM mis-sold it a master data management system has been dismissed in court.

In 2009, the council sued IBM for £700,000 over an MDM system based on the IT giant’s Websphere integration platform and specialist housing management software Orchard ArcIndex.

At the time, it said there were serious deficiencies with the ArcIndex tool that only came to light after the implementation in 2007. It accused IBM of misrepresentation, negligence and breach of contract.

However, a judge ruled last week that Southwark had understood the full extent of ArcIndex’s capabilities before entering the contract with IBM, clearing the IT supplier of any wrongdoing.

"An analogy is the potential car purchaser who might want an off-road vehicle but, having looked at the brochure for an on-road vehicle, says to the salesman ‘that’s what I want’," Mr Justice Akenhead wrote in his judgement. "There will be no cause for action against the garage that the car is no good off the road. The salesman will reply, with justification: ‘you got exactly what you asked for’."

"Southwark’s case as a whole fails on the issue of liability," he said.

Akenhead noted with some surprise that Southwark had not called any of its employees responsible for selecting the system and managing the implementation as witnesses.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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