Convert Failures into Success!

I recently came across an article from , on why IT projects fail.

It had some data on a study conducted in 2007 study by Dynamic Markets Limited of 800 IT managers across eight countries which showed that:
• 62 percent of organizations experienced IT projects that failed to meet their schedules
• 49 percent suffered budget overruns
• 47 percent had higher-than-expected maintenance costs, and
• 41 percent failed to deliver the expected business value and ROI

This got me thinking about the failure rates…in my opinion these numbers are on the low side. After all, no one wants to admit they were late or did a poor job on key company wide initiatives…

If you are trying to implement a new system, how should you go about it?

I would start with assessing

(1) Drivers for change: why do we need to change our current modus operandi for executing business process? Is there a clear advantage of the new system? Is it going to add value? Are we at risk due to obsolescence of existing platform(s)

(2) Are we ready for change? Even if the new system is the right thing to do, are we ready for change? Do we have the resources required to plan, define, test and implement this new system in addition to taking of care of day to day business? Do we have the discipline to adhere to the rules and logic built within this new system or are we going to modify it so that we can continue with business as usual but in a new locale? Is this a key initiative? If so is executive management aligned with requirements, costs and possible impact on performance?

(3) Do we really understand our current business processes and systems? In most cases, it is easy to blame the instrument (business solutions) and not the musician. If you truly understand your business process and can clearly identify the flow of information, material and finance at each and every step of your end to end processes, then proceed with scoping, feasibility, selection and vendor assessments. If you understand your system (process and business solutions), then in some cases, you may not need a new tool, you can super charge your existing toolset and reap the same benefits.

(4) Software selection, my approach would be is establish a budget based on fund availability. Then benchmark with companies within your space and similar sized companies not in your space. Analyze their success and failure stories, gather as much information as possible on how much they spent and on what. Get information on what vendors they reviewed and why they selected a particular vendor. Now that you are armed, create a check list of must have capabilities to support business process! Don’t focus on technology rather focus on capabilities to bring about success by implementing a new business solution. Be

(5) Implementation, ensure that your change is well socialized and aligned to at all levels, use best practices in IT change management, project management and run the implementation as you would run your business. Focus on your customers and ensure that their success is an integral theme of your implementation. Ensure you test well and properly to ensure that all your processes will execute well within the new system. Establish a super user community ahead of time and implement a “train the trainer” program. This will ensure that your support group doesn’t get overwhelmed upon go-live.

These points are general guidelines, over the next few weeks I will add more details on best practices for each of the bullets.

"Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are my own only and in no way represent the views, positions or opinions - expressed or implied - of my employer (present and past) "
"Please post your comments - Swati Ranganathan"


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