Charleston Country sues Tata
Charleston Country sues Tata
Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 11:51 PM
<<<<< JOB DESTRUCTION NEWSLETTER No. 1657 -- 3/14/2007 >>>>>
Charleston County isn't pleased with a botched software job done by the
Indian owned bodyshop Tata Consultancy (TCS). The software is such a
clunker that the county decided to file a lawsuit against Tata for
delivering an unworkable piece of junk!
It's too bad they didn't learn their lesson from a fiasco that started in
Charleston County used to use an American company called Affiliated
Computer Services (ACS) to run their computers. In 2002 they decided they
could save lots of money by firing ACS, along with its American employees,
and hiring an Indian owned company called Baton Rouge International (BRI).
A huge battle ensued within the County government over the switch to BRI.
Dissenters in the country government and some computer/IT activists
actually asked me if I could go there to testify against this madness.
Unfortunately I couldn't afford the travel expenses to go there unless I
was reimbursed. Nobody would pay my expenses so therefore I didn't go. My
intention was to explain to the meat-heads who were making the bad
decisions that going with an Indian contractor will not only compromise the
integrity of their computer system there will be social and economic costs
as the Americans are displaced by cheap Indian contractors. Tough to say if
I would have made a difference since all that anyone cared about was saving
money by exploiting cheap labor. In the end, the county went for BRI to
You can read more about the 2002 fiasco by going to the newsletter archive
and reading the following: "April 17, 2002 Charleston Flip-Flops, then
Forgive me for sounding kind of vengeful, but I just can't help myself from
smiling and laughing when I see that Charleston County continued to use
cheap Indian labor, and now they are getting burned because of their own
CHARLESTON COUNTY -- I TOLD YOU SO!
PS -- I emailed the reporter who did this story and asked him if Tata took
over the same system that was run by BRI. He wasn't familiar with the story
even though it was his newspaper that ran several stories about the mess in
County sues over software
Tax platform full of errors, suit charges
BY KYLE STOCK
The Post and Courier
Charleston County is suing an India-based technology giant over a $1.2
million software contract, alleging that the company delivered an
error-ridden product that is unusable.
In August 2003, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., one of the world's largest
tech companies, signed a contract to build a custom software platform to
handle county taxes.
But 3 1/2 years later, the product is still too flawed to use, the county
said. It sued Tata for breach of contract in December and a few weeks later
went shopping for off-the-shelf software.
Ellis Lesemann, Tata's local attorney, said the company will fight the
lawsuit vigorously and plans to seek to dismiss some of the allegations. He
declined to comment on the specifics of the complaint, citing company
policy not to discuss unresolved legal matters.
Charleston County has used the same software to organize tax charges and
payments since 1990. In October 2002, the county requested bids for a
platform that could be changed easily to match up with new regulations.
Tata was selected from seven interested firms and agreed in August 2003 to
produce the software by July 2004 for $1.2 million, according to the
The county said the system was still not fully functional in August 2004,
and by October of that year officials had identified 350 errors. The "go
live" date was pushed back to November 2005 and subsequently November 2006.
Walt Smalls, the county's chief support officer, said his team plugged in
the software in June but had to stop using it after a few weeks because of
When the county filed its lawsuit in December, the program allegedly still
had about 200 errors. Tata classified the errors as "enhancements,"
according to the county, and sought additional charges to fix them. "I
guess it was a difference of opinion," Smalls said.
Much of the software was developed in India, according to the lawsuit, and
a number of Tata's "on-site managers" moved from Charleston to India before
the project was completed.
The county has paid the bulk of the $1.2 million cost of the contract, plus
another $80,000 for additional services.
Tata Consultancy's parent, Tata Group, reported $3 billion in revenue in
the most recent fiscal year. It employs about 83,000 workers.
The case was filed in a Charleston County court and was transferred to
federal court Monday.
Reach Kyle Stock at 937-5763 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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