Internet Expert Witnesses & Consultants
On this webpage we present:
“The Internet has changed everything!” Well, that’s not exactly true.
In fact, although WSR Consulting Group, LLC has less faith in internet systems/applications failure rate statistics than for non-internet systems/applications, those statistics still show an unacceptably high level of failed and challenged systems/applications: delivered well over budget; delivered late; delivered with missing feature and functional requirements; that are unreliable; that cannot scale up as volume increases.
Why? Applications, such as the major ERP applications offered by the large ERP vendors still pose the same risks, problems and surprises to implementers and customers they always had in the pre-internet business world. Now, if that ERP suite of applications has internet order-entry, or a whole new internet e-commerce front-end, the additional skills, interfaces, and risks associated with the new business/ application functions and new web platform(s) must be added on to those already in the core ERP processes.
Legacy Company Risks/Issues/Tasks Carried Over into Web Applications
- mixed computer usage,
- closed (vs. open) networks,
- IT vs. user culture clashes,
- maintaining and upgrading legacy systems,
- continuing relationships with applications vendors,
- Using older worker-machine interfaces,
- use of good, enforced SDLC methodologies,
- legacy and new systems (including new Internet systems) will still require:
- identification of functional requirements,
- project estimates, budgets, skilled staff,
- good project monitoring, escalation and risk mitigation processes,
- training, file cleansing/conversion efforts,
- functional, performance & readiness testing,
- go-live process, help desk, debugging teams and post production support,
- IT and computer strategy,
- on-site and remote support,
- open source code,
Additional Risks/Issues/Tasks/Requirements Imposed on Company Using Web Applications
- disparate customers & users
- myriad devices (i.e., PC, Mac, thin client devices, mobile, specialized PDAs, etc.),
- different browsers and browser-based interfaces,
- additional service providers: ISPs / ASPs,
- Software as a Service (SaaS) & hosting options,
- new/evolving standards & technologies (e.g., web 2.0, wireless, web services, smart phones, reusable code, etc.),
- building apps in “internet time” – quickly & seat-of-the-pants at expense of testing and quality,
- new web tools which may have flaws themselves,
- new/different security & privacy issues,
- new/different performance & reliability issues,
- web/e-biz strategy, policies, workflows, skills,
- interfaces with other apps not designed to interface with other vendor products/databases
- business process reengineering (BPR) to integrate web apps into business, work, data, control flow.
- re-align IT strategy to embrace the internet/web,
- recruiting web-skilled developers, maintainers and IT executives
- add web data back-up/archiving systems.
WSRcg’s internet expert witnesses have specific internet and web experience and expertise that they apply to litigation matters involving:
- failed internet, web and e-commerce software projects in terms of:
- how the project was managed,
- the quality of the product/software design
- the appropriateness of and the proper use of the SDLC selected,
- the quality of the delivered system and artifacts,
- clarifying and interpreting ambiguous contracts,
- fulfillment of party roles and responsibilities,
- functional, performance, security, interface, conversion and reliability requirements per the agreement, RFP responses, project charter, SOW, and/or as industry standards
- failed components anywhere in the end-to-end internet and application architectures
- misappropriation of trade secrets and idea theft
- copyright infringement and idea theft
- disputes regarding: disruption of services; employee misuse of company resources; unauthorized access to an organization’s network, IT assets and data.
WSRcg’s internet experts assist counsel in the technology and Internet/IT industry aspects of the case by uncovering the root core events, decisions and actions that led to the issues in dispute. We develop simple persuasive stories to help the trier of fact better understand what happened, why it happened and which party is responsible, with minimal technical jargon, and in the context of the Internet and IT industry historical timeline. We assist in developing demonstrative evidence as requested, and testify, as applicable as Internet expert witnesses.
In addition, several of our internet expert witnesses and consultants specialize in specific industries such as:
- health care and hospitals,
- big box retail stores, regional department stores, grocery chains,
- manufacturing and distribution,
- restaurant & fast food service,
- gaming, lotteries and ticketing,
- government: federal, state, local,
- military command and control and embedded systems,
- robotics & smart buildings,
- software and high-technology,
Several of our experts have been accepted and/or testified as internet experts and internet project failure experts. Accordingly, they bring an extra level and sense of awareness, skill, knowledge and experience to disputes requiring top-notch internet experts.
Also, when and as necessary, WSRcg will engage associate consulting experts and firms that we work with to supply special hardware, scientific and engineering expertise.
As internet consultants (i.e., when we are not acting as Internet expert witnesses in litigation) we assist clients in turning around failing projects and help them develop an internet strategy that supports their long range business plans and needs. We may also review and plan the RFP process for IT/internet systems. We also assist clients in making decisions regarding: selecting software, hardware, peripheral devices, networks, staff, redesigning business processes and the systems to support them, and implementing IT best practices in their IT functions.
Importantly, we assist counsel in developing or reviewing IT licenses contracts and make sure that SMART (i.e., Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Trackable) metrics are used for testing and acceptance purposes and for ongoing service level objections. The table below highlights some of our expertise:
- configured application software,
- new custom software,
- specialty devices (e.g., POS equipment, medical equipment, smart buildings, robots, etc.),
- interfaces between different software & devices,
- contingent and disaster recovery planning,
- risk management and insurance issues,
- system compliance with requirements including:
- functional & performance requirements,
- design specifications,
- software and operations documentation,
- required tests,
- industry and government regulations,
- industry “best practices”,
- contractual promises,
- Business Process reengineering (BPR),
- proper project compliance against contract provisions, industry standards/best practices:
- “workmanlike quality”
- staffing needs and skills
- deliverables: acceptability; approval process,
- use of required /recommended development tools and certifications (e.g., CMMi, PMP, ITIL)
- readiness for go-live determination
- turnover to maintenance group
- proper SDLC enforcement/relaxation,
- competency, staffing, adequacy of SMEs, IT professionals and engineers, CIOs, DBAs, project managers, test leads, help desk, etc.
- outsourcing contracts for hardware, software,
- facilities, assets, staff and operations.
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Very Large e-Commerce Retailer v ERP Vendor – ERP systems project and unsuitable software failure
PLAINTIFF - CUSTOMER
Dispute: A customer licenses e-commerce software from an ERP vendor only to find that the vendor’s Platinum Implementation Partner is unable to configure, customize and install the system per agreement. Additionally the system has insurmountable scalability problems and is unable to meet the required volumes of the customer. Plaintiff sues for fraud.
Our Role: WSRcg’s expert witness was deposed and testified at trial about: the failure of the vendor to properly estimate the project and the special customization requirements of the customer; the unsuitability of the software for the job; serious strategic software design and architecture decisions made by the vendor regarding the software and the suite that would prevent a “successful” implementation without much more investment and cost – information that the vendor allegedly withheld from the customer.
Web Application Developer
PLAINTIFF – DEVELOPER
Dispute: Large industrial/consumer retailer stole ideas for web-based applications developed by Plaintiff in an idea submission.
Our Role: We provided a definitive analysis that demonstrated that the retailer copied the ideas for the web-based application directly from the prototypes that the developer provided.
Result: Developer received payment in a settlement.
Web Browser Developer/Portal
DEFENDANT - DEVELOPER
Dispute: Developer sued by shareholders after their IPO value dropped considerably, for allegedly releasing poor and untested Internet service product(s).
Our Role: Our expert reports and testimony demonstrated that the systems were well architected and designed, tested, and released following better than industry accepted practices in: quality assurance; project organization and management; acceptance, alpha and beta test release criteria; and post production help desk and defect correction/control.
Result: Defendant exonerated by arbitration panel.
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Call Warren S. Reid at (818) 986-8842 if you have any questions or wish to discuss your case.