Big Blue is in hot water in Australia after it admitted using “leaked information” to win a multi-million dollar Queensland Health payroll contract.
When the project went spectacularly wrong, with thousands not paid properly, a few people started wondering how IBM got the job in the first place. Taxpayers were left with a $1.2 billion bill.
An inquiry into the bungled system has started looking at whether IBM was given an unfair advantage during the tender process.
It turns out that IBM executive Lochlan Bloomfield was forwarded an email from rival bidder Accenture about its proposal during the tender process in August 2007.
Bloomfield said that he can’t remember who sent it, or why he accidently removed the sender’s name when forwarding it to a colleague, or whether he reported it to his superiors.
According to the Brisbane Times, Bloomfield said he is sure he never requested the email, it just turned up and gave Big Blue all it needed to put its contract bid in the best light.
He famously told the inquiry that he would have remembered if he asked someone to get this intelligence for him. The only reason he would have taken his source’s name out was “not relevant” and not because he was trying to protect his identity.
Bloomfield conceded he had used the information to highlight comparisons between Accenture’s pricing structure and IBM’s.
The turnaround from IBM knocked Accenture out of the running as it had initially been the preferred provider.