Give Symantec CEO John Thompson some credit for being upfront about a dreadful quarter.
Throughout Symantec's recent troubles, Thompson has been straightforward about the quarter. On Symantec's earnings conference call he also shed a lot of light on the perils of fumbling an internal technology implementation. In Symantec's case, the problems stemmed from an enterprise resource planning implementation gone awry.
We're still trying to figure out why the project stumbled and who the key players were, but Thompson did lay out the effects. In any case, there's usually plenty of blame to be passed around when these big systems rollouts stumble. More often than not, failure can be attributed to poor project management and the lack of process planning by the customer.
Here's what Thompson had to say on the earnings call:
"We consider the business process changes implemented with the systems consolidation important to scaling our business and lowering our cost over time. Systems changes such as these certainly don't come without issues and we may have had more than our fair share of them with this set of changes where we incurred higher expenses than planned and loss some revenue opportunities during the quarter.
There were several areas where we had to absorb additional labor and administrative costs. For example, we had to duplicate processing of some documents in order to complete transactions or records, as well as manually manage the SKU process for some of our partners around the globe. In addition, our enterprise support cost increased as we fielded that many more calls with longer than normal hold times.
Administrative challenges in our services business contributed to some lost revenue as we were not able to obtain the required data to support revenue for the period. Process problems affected the quality of the data which hampered our ability to recognize the revenue. However, we believe the major technical and process issues are now behind us."
Symantec better hope those technical issues are over. It has enough problems on its hands.