Overcoming the Barriers to IM Success: Learn from the Past.

May 12, 2010
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The total annual cost of worldwide IT failures is $6.2 trillion dollars- a staggering amount-  according to calculations performed by Roger Sessions, enterprise architect and CTO of ObjectWatch.  

How can organizations overcome these financially disastrous situations?

Firstly, it’s important to note that the term “failure” can have many implications, but for the sake of this post, let’s assume the general sense is that the solution in question fails to meet the needs of the organization.

 Having learned by experience, these are the main reasons I’ve seen IT implementations fail (and how to avoid them):

Unclear management expectations.  It is important to involve management in the decision making process, be realistic about what the system can do, and to clearly communicate the benefits/limitations of the solution you are choosing.

Scope creep.  In the implementation process, management may find that the features of the program are limited and may need additional services that were not previously budgeted.  This causes the project to drain resources more quickly and increases the

The total annual cost of worldwide IT failures is $6.2 trillion dollars- a staggering amount-  according to calculations performed by Roger Sessions, enterprise architect and CTO of ObjectWatch.  

How can organizations overcome these financially disastrous situations?

Firstly, it’s important to note that the term “failure” can have many implications, but for the sake of this post, let’s assume the general sense is that the solution in question fails to meet the needs of the organization.

 Having learned by experience, these are the main reasons I’ve seen IT implementations fail (and how to avoid them):

Unclear management expectations.  It is important to involve management in the decision making process, be realistic about what the system can do, and to clearly communicate the benefits/limitations of the solution you are choosing.

Scope creep.  In the implementation process, management may find that the features of the program are limited and may need additional services that were not previously budgeted.  This causes the project to drain resources more quickly and increases the chances of failure.  When determining the project schedule and allocation of resources, clearly communicate what the system will look like and what functionality it will have to avoid a creep in the scope. 

Costly add-ons.  Solution providers LOVE add-ons.  Chances are the program they’ve given you to test drive is not the base model, and to get the bells and whistles you’ve gotten used to, you will have to pay extra for them.  

Lack of technical support.  Subscription-based solutions are notorious for poor technical support.  For over the phone service, you typically have to pay extra to receive a live person within a timely manner.  This causes frustration and further budget usage.  Prior to deciding on a solution, make sure to test the support during your trial period and ask ahead of time what type of support can be expected with your plan.

Lack of user adoption.  By not having a formal change management plan and training program, you are setting your employees (as well as the project) up for failure.  It is important to clearly communicate the benefits of the program, train employees how to use it, and have an onsite, dedicated “go-to” person they can call on for help.

Have you come across any other barriers to success?  What advice could you offer information managers to avoid costly implementations and project failures?

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