Fellow EI, Mike Krigsman does a nice analysis of an ERP implementation gone awry, and which is the subject of a bankruptcy case. Plenty of blame to go around.
But for the most part in our industry we tend to blame such failures on the customer. After 200,000 plus ERP projects over the last 15 years they are not rocket science. There are 8 to 10 critical project steps - conversion, testing, training, integration,change management - in any such project. There are scripts and tools and accelerators for each step. They have been honed in industry after industry, country after country. There is little reason for spectacular failure. Some overrun or delay, ok - spectacular failure, no way.
Smart as we are as an industry, we are awfully dumb to let attorneys and media and others get close to our projects. The best way to keep them away is to make them routine. As they should be after 200K projects and 15+ years of experience.
On a side note, I have been involved in a few "carve-outs "of companies. I am always surprised how the spinoffs don't take advantage of their "clean slate". A $ 200 m or $ 1 billion dollar company does not need to adopt the same technology or vendors of its $ 15 billion former parent. They could be leveraging cheaper hosting, SaaS, next gen systems integrators for much cheaper and much better results.