Wiser Technology Advice Blog

Protection from scandal

Sonya Weiser - Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Senior executives in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have been charged with several counts of bribery, with NSW police alleging they took a combined total of $2.9 million in bribes from American IT company ServiceMesh to seal a multi-million dollar deal.

The plot has thickened, with the CBA now having to defend allegations that a whistle-blower was sacked for raising his concerns about the deal to the then Chief Information Office and Chief Executive of the bank.

The Weekend Australian ran an article on Saturday 2 April 2016 where it was revealed CBA’s former executive manager of software services, Marcus Nicholson, was sacked just eight weeks after refusing to sign off on a $10.5 million contract at the centre of the bank’s bribery scandal, which has resulted in charges against two of its most senior IT executives and an FBI investigation into software company ServiceMesh.

Nicholson is the hero of this story, being brave enough to stand up for what he believed was right even when pressured and intimidated by the senior executives he reported to.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re told by a director, business owner or senior executive that you should accept a deal without question, what would you do?

Ethical and well governed businesses should never pressure you to take a deal that you instinctively feel is not right.If you’re stonewalled when you ask for more details, that’s a sure sign that something dodgy is going on!

It is always worth investing a little time and money up-front on due diligence, particularly when there’s a significant amount of money involved.At a minimum you should always seek quotes from more than one provider. For a national corporation $10 million is a level that requires such due diligence, if you’re a small business it might be a proposal to spend $10,000 that is significant for you.

And you should carefully think through and document what your company needs before going out to market with your invitation to providers to propose their deals.

Wiser Connections can help you navigate the often complex and technical world of information technology, providing you with guidance on the questions you should be putting to providers.

Contact us today for wise, independent advice to ensure you mitigate the risks involved in information technology procurement and don’t get caught up in such a scandal!

There are plenty of stories about this long-running case on the web – for more information here’s a link the story in The Australian’s Business Review: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2016/4/3/industries/narev-told-cba-it-concerns

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