IT projects need perception correction

The IT industry is in need of a spin doctor to change perceptions about the success rate of IT projects.

Regardless of whether IT deemed a project successful because the technology was implemented correctly, what matters is perceptions that the business holds, RNC Global Projects managing director Diane Dromgold said.

Speaking at a CIO magazine breakfast in Sydney today on 'Dymanic business change through IP multimedia services', Dromgold said getting the technology right doesn't necessarily mean it was a "successful" project.

"The people at the top of the organization have to deem the project successful for it to be so," she said.

"It is the perception of a successful project that matters and the only way the perception will change is when the heads of an organization say a project was a fantastic success; it is [not enough] to say a project was a success because we got the technology right."

Dromgold said it is worth noting that in the construction industry the project success rate is as high as 85 percent.

"Admittedly when they go bad they go spectacularly bad, but in IT we hear of project failure rates as high as 95 percent," she said. This figure and business perceptions need to be turned around to secure IT's role within organizations.

The fact that IT underpins the success of many organizations today isn't always realized.

"It is just not fair that we've had gotten such a bad rap, we need to change these perceptions," Dromgold said.

Another challenge, she said, is convincing managing directors to invest in training.

Dromgold said the business case often stacks up for new technology, but business is often tempted to simply put up the money and hope everything will be okay with little consideration given to adequate training and support.

Danny Geldenhuys, CSC national engineering services director, said projects are delivered successfully when everyone works as a team armed with preparation, education and an understanding of the desired outcome of the project and the benefits it will bring to the company and employees.

Citing CSC's recent relocation to Sydney's Macquarie Park (near Macquarie University), which involved shifting thousands of staff, and a VoIP rollout, Geldenhuys said it was successful because there was plenty of training.

"The move was seamless because staff were trained on how to use the new VoIP system so they could hit the ground running," he said.

"For CSC, VoIP was not about seeing cost reductions through voice but productivity increases," Geldenhuys said.

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