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Amey's ERP costs balloon

Antony Adshead
Construction company Amey is continuing with an enterprise resource planning implementation that has run up costs of £25m - more than three times the initial predicted cost.

The company anticipated spending between £6m and £8m when it started the project and employed LogicaCMG to implement the SAP software. Following unsuccessful attempts to get the system up and running, LogicaCMG left the project and integrator Fast Track took over.

Amey's decision follows a string of high-profile problems for ERP implementations in the construction sector.

Simon Bragg, an analyst at ARC Consulting, said a lack of industry-specific software and cultural constraints in the sector have hampered IT projects. "The construction sector has been a bit of a graveyard for ERP suppliers. In the late 1990s, Baan tried to create a solution for a UK house builder but was kicked out, and JD Edwards had problems at WS Atkins.

"Construction requires strong one-off project management tools, which in turn affects the design of the financials. The culture in the industry is not particularly supportive of a large ERP implementation.

"There is a view that everyone should be working on a client project, and success is measured by the profitability of each project," he said.

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