Oh I See! Getting CIOs to view their jobs from a different angle

Nov 2 2009   9:11AM GMT

To IT and its role in project failures

Arun Gupta Arun Gupta Profile: Arun Gupta

I recently read a report about the global annual cost of IT failures, wherein the author puts the figure at US$ 6.2 trillion based on certain assumptions. It’s almost half of the US GDP, and that is indeed something to think about. Never mind the assumptions or math behind the figures, but the reality is that this humungous number is being labeled as an IT failure.

A Standish Group report on reasons behind the failure of projects with significant IT components indicates that IT contribution to unsuccessful projects is less than 10%. So the number is closer to US$ 620 billion in reality. And that is about half the GDP of India!

Knowing a bit about IT, I would label this as a business failure to capitalize on the potential that IT could have offered to them. Why does every initiative have to result in painful change management (which the IT organization should drive)? What prevents business users from embracing new technology solutions despite their vocalization of requirements (in some form or other)? Are there any answers that provide a holy grail to the crazy figures out there?

My Oh I See moment happened many years back, when my obstinacy to not start a project without the business leader’s signature delayed project commencement by 11 months. And when we did complete the project within the stipulated time of six months, it was like delivering water to the desert weary traveler (who has stopped believing in mirages). So don’t push hard to implement the next SCM, CRM, or whatever TLA (Three Letter Acronym) technology that you believe will make the difference — because it will not, if no one uses it!

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