News broke yesterday that Oracle would pay the U.S. government $46 million to settle claims of kickbacks related to Sun Microsystems.
According to the claims, Sun Microsystems paid kickbacks to Accenture to recommend that federal agencies buy Sun products. The years in question were 1998 to 2006. Just as important: Sun wasn’t the only one. Six other companies, including Hewlett-Packard Co., have settled similar charges.
So for many years, kickbacks from big IT vendors were a pervasive tactic in the IT industry.
Accenture, of course, is one of the largest IT consulting businesses out there. So this draws into question just about any IT consultant. I’m not knocking IT consultants. Many of them provide very valuable services to companies with limited IT staffs.
But if you’re not doing your own due diligence and are relying blindly on the recommendation of a consultant, you are putting your own organization at risk of being exploited like this. And chances are you don’t have the brawn of the Justice Department behind you to recoup any losses.