Deloitte – Are They Really A Consulting Firm?

A friend of mine is interviewing for a high level position at Deloitte. She knew what I would say… Although many good people work for Deloitte, she would be joining a professional services firm, rather than staying with one of their important clients. Why go to the side that’s not wearing the pants in the relationship anymore?

Add to that, I think the model overall is broken. I don’t see why anyone would join a firm at this point, especially if their role was more administrative and not directly client service. She did mention that one of their pitches to recruits is that Deloitte will be rebranding soon as a consulting firm, not an audit firm. They don’t believe they have received enough credit for being the lone survivor of the previous shedding of the consulting arms among the Big 4. Are they really a world-class consulting firm? Judge for yourself…

Add to the host of lawsuits, advisors with their own agendas, disgruntled former employees, nefarious activities in locations off the normal grid, and independence conflicts, Deloitte is still in hot water at the Los Angeles School District for their botched ERP implementation.

Los Angeles School District ERP Snarls Teacher Pay
Thousands of LAUSD employees are overpaid, underpaid or going unpaid because of a faulty ERP system. Enormous cost overruns associated with botched enterprise resource planning implementations are the stuff of legend in IT circles.

Now there’s a new debacle to add to the list. Nine months after the Los Angeles Unified School District launched the SAP HR and Payroll modules—as part of a larger ERP rollout dubbed Business Tools for Schools, or BTS—tens of thousands of LAUSD employees at 700 schools have either gone unpaid or been overpaid or underpaid.

The situation for teachers—the vast majority of employees hit by the payroll snafu—is only getting worse as the district struggles to get the system errors corrected in time for tax season and other regulatory deadlines…

Eby said LAUSD officials are also saying that most teachers are being overpaid rather than underpaid. “We’re seeing no evidence of that,” she said. “We’re seeing teachers overpaid, or not paid at all. This whole room is full of teachers, and they are leaving their classrooms” in hopes of getting paid, she said…

The payroll situation has been brewing for months. On June 11, the Los Angeles Times reported that the total cost of the district’s BTS project is expected to reach somewhere in the neighborhood of $132 million—over 35 percent, or an additional $46.3 million higher, than originally expected.

About $95 million was allocated for the BTS ERP implementation project, with $55 million earmarked for Deloitte Consulting, the system integration partner on the project. Now the LAUSD School Board, led by Board President Monica Garcia, has voted to hire an outside monitor to follow the situation.
The BTS program formally kicked off on June 27, 2005, and was projected to be a 27-month implementation that would go live over three distinct phases: Finance, launched in July 2006; HR & Payroll, launched in January 2007; and ESS (employee self-service) and Supply Chain, scheduled for a Jan. 1 rollout.

The second phase, in production now, is the system that’s seeing so many issues—though it’s not clear exactly what those issues are. The final leg of the project, ESS and supply chain, was delayed to give the school time to deal with Phase 2 issues. In media interviews, LAUSD officials have stopped short of pointing fingers at Deloitte as the culprit. SAP itself has a laundry list of successful school implementations and so far no one seems to be pointing the finger at faulty software. But a quick Google search of Deloitte ERP implementations shows that this is not the first botched deployment the company has been involved in.
In 1995 Irish Health Services paid Deloitte $10.7 million to install an ERP system in three years. A full decade and $180 million later the project was incomplete and finally abandoned. The City of San Antonio, L.A. Community College, and the San Bernardino and Minneapolis School districts reported similar ERP implementation nightmares in association with Deloitte.

Deloitte officials did not return calls from eWEEK…