When global digital experience projects fail

If you haven’t heard about the lawsuit the Hertz Corporation has filed against Accenture then you should probably read up on that a little bit before reading this.

I will start by saying this is a system integrator (SI) nightmare, so on one hand I do blame Accenture but on the other hand I feel Hertz is also to blame. These types of projects are partnerships – meaning, responsibility remains on both sides of the table. If you don’t have a technical lead in your company driving the discussion then you are at the hands of the SI, completely.

Some high level bullets you can learn by reading the filed case:

  • Test driven development is a must
  • Phased approaches are always a sure thing, never go for the big bang. Any CIO/CTO/CMO/VP that wants a massive launch must have just transitioned into that roll from a completely different discipline, like cooking . Cooking is where big bang works, I want my main dish delivered together and hot, not my digital transformation project.
  • Requirements, deadlines, and deliverables must be understood and gone through with a fine tooth comb – again, Hertz has to take some responsibility here.
  • Content Management Systems come with best practices, starter templates with code and guidelines – it really is a good idea to use them versus creating your own. This should have been a show stopper once realized:

    Accenture’s code for the AEM component (the content management system that allows Hertz to create, edit, and change the content on its websites) was seriously flawed as well. The coding and file structure were not based upon the Adobe AEM archetype, which made the application unreliable and difficult to maintain, as well as making future updates challenging and inefficient. – link

  • What the heck is RAPID as outlined in this filing (please someone enlighten me)?  Maybe I am just missing it but I can’t find what Accenture recommended with RAPID – is this a technique or an actual piece of software?
  • I would really like to see some of this code. With today’s editors (or Integrated Development Environment, IDS’s) you have to go out of your way to not follow “Java standards“. Again, if this is true, then this is very bad for any SI.

    Accenture’s Java code did not follow the Java standard, displayed poor logic, and was poorly written and difficult to maintain – link

  • Having a global content management strategy that includes multiple channels, multiple languages, and multiple currencies requires a platform that is designed for that from the ground up.

    Instead of delivering an architecture and code that was extensible, Accenture tailored the Project codebase to support only a single brand in a single market – the Hertz brand in North America – link

  • When your SI shifts the primary resources out of the project you need to start asking some serious questions.

I would love to hear you thoughts on this, I am not an expert with Adobe AEM implementations and if you have any insight I would appreciate it. I will say, regardless of the vendor, the SI’s and the companies need to follow the vendors guidelines, otherwise don’t use an off-the-shelf solution and just code it yourself .

Dave Guarino also has some really good points in his Tweet storm over the case (click on the tweet and read his entire thread of responses).

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