Disclaimer: I am totally bias here as I am consultant and our business model is to help our customers with their digital transformation while teaching them devops and cloud technology.
$10M for a project of this size and importance does not seem unreasonable to me. The big mistake is that they didn't seem to have a plan to take ownership of the project and learn the skills required to carry the project forward without Accenture.
"hired the vendor based on a cool demo & vendor size"
It is common that companies don't chose the right people to assess vendors and review the suggested approach. Often the consultancy sends in sales teams to pitch to the boardroom with demos and "we're Big Company X and know what we're doing". However it seems that Hertz knew enough to ask for specific functionality that didn't get delivered.
"did not have a Hertz employee as Product Owner"
Part of leading a project is making sure that your client, internal or external, is properly educated and involved in necessary decisions. Accenture shouldn't have accepted the PO role as it is a conflict of interest.
"tried to go big fast instead of taking an iterative approach"
I don't recall reading if this was Hertz's decision, it could well have been Accenture's suggestion and in the early stages of this relationship Hertz would have trusted their "expert" recommendation.
"did not implement proper tests & validation"
This would have been Accenture's responsibilty.
"spent $10M without building internal skills"
It was $33M and you're right, although we don't know what skills they built internally. They might have been better off building a team internally but often companies prefer to hire "expert" as it's often easier from a cost centre and administrative view.
Specifically: "Your customers are idiots, that's why they hired "experts." They don't know how to judge expertise (otherwise they wouldn't be hiring you). They hire based on emotions, recommendations and epaulettes because that's the best they can do."
"They might have been better off building a team internally". For a business critical projects, building the team internally and using the right partner is the way to go imho... if budget allows, which they had plenty.
All their standardised templates and processes mean that the Accenture 'experience' for clients is consistent but it does seem to reduce the capacity for creativity and flexibility in approach.
Their business works because they realise the world is big, so they focus on sales. They are amazing at selling their rubbish to anyone and everyone and know how to rack up billable hours. If a project succeeds (prob because it's easy), then great! If it fails, then move on to the next victim.
Also, the truth is that a vast number of very senior people are non-technical, which is why they get taken in by the machine-learning/AI/blockchain BS the consultancies have been spouting for the last few years. Once they get their foot in the door, they'll convince many a CEO to purchase their magic beans.
Generally on projects I’ve been on with Accenture involved they use their size to push through what they want and how they want to do things regardless of everyone else. One thing they do well is talking to the stakeholders, it’s all sales at the end of the day.
First, just in point of fact, I have personally been part of lots of successful deliveries.
Both Facebook and Google spent $1 billion with Accenture last year.
Like all large IT consultancies, they're defined by normal distribution - they have high and low performers, pockets of competence and incompetence, big wins and big misses.
Anyway, we spent about £15m over a year, with literally no results to show for it. I was less than impressed - in fact, I was furious at the gross misrepresentation of the status of the project by the partner.
My own experience leads me to believe that the distribution of talent is most certainly non-normal - perhaps skew-normal, with most of the weight in the less-competent zone.
The variability of quality of people is simply too big and this is completely on Accenture's side. Yes some locations provide reliably good quality, but Accenture doesn't have the same standards for hiring across the globe.
Seen first hand, couple of years ago batch of folks from central/east europe was hired for long term cooperation, out of 20 maybe 2-3 were worth their salt. For rest, firing them on spot would be more time-saving than baby-sitting extremely junior clueless unmotivated crowd.
We stood up and currently manage the trading platform, integration layer, data lake and analytics infrastructure, event messaging, on-demand machine learning compute provisioning and model management, API middleware, front end web app, and about 500 various service touchpoints therein of the largest oil and gas upstream finance trading desk in the world.
We've developed a ton of standard demand planning and SKU-level pricing forecasting pipelines, ingest, storage, processing, model training and deployment, and consumption. In some ways that's our bread and butter as you can re-use 75-85% of the IP and focus a lot of energy on feature engineering and edge cases.
We do a ton of IoT work in the mining and energy industries. Mostly (again) developing the infrastructure to ingest and process that data, building ML models to predict anomalies, production trends, workflow to connect that to SAP or some other ERP system for work orders, remote operating center dashboards, etc.
We do a lot of HSE initiatives. One cool one we did recently was use some Zebra beacons and some computer vision to identify people entering dynamic "red flag" geofences (think mobile equipment, forklifts, cranes, wrecking balls, etc.) on field sites so we can instantly stop work.
Anyway, I'm the first to admit Accenture's a mixed bag, but one thing I've learned since coming to work (under/for) them is large-scale delivery is very, very, very hard to 1) scope, 2) de-risk, and 3) price.
They're simply ripping people off, and I don't understand why people keep giving them business.
I suppose these two articles show a tenuous link, but do you have a specific article you can cite?