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Six Success Factors When Planning a Large Scale IT Project

By Liberty Advisor Group

Business & Technology Strategy

Does one of your business resolutions include a large-scale IT transformation project? If so, we recommend keeping in mind these six key success factors that can make a critical difference.

Planning a large-scale IT project? Remember these six success factors

Do your business resolutions include a large-scale IT transformation project? If so, taking into account six key success factors can make a critical difference.

Six success factors for large-scale IT transformation projects

  1. Make the project a top priority
  2. Dedicate your best people to the program
  3. Justify the expenditure with a compelling business case
  4. Ensure that all executives give unwavering commitment and support
  5. Employ top-down, center-led and swift decision-making
  6. Implement independent controls and transparent governance.

Even with the continued commoditization of certain IT services and the advances in software, failed IT projects continue to occur at alarming rates and impact efficiency and growth.1 A recent example involved a failed SAP implementation at German-headquartered supermarket Lidl. This cost an estimated €500 million ($565 million) over seven years, and the company is now reported to be reviving its old system.2 This wasn’t a moon-shot science project. This was a mature retail business implementing the world’s leading ERP software software.

Why are such failures still commonplace today?

One element is the fact that end users have high expectations that their digital experiences will be as seamless as those with smartphones and consumer apps (see panel below). Software vendors pitch solutions trying to emulate a similar seamless digital experience, but the vendor’s sales process fails to account for legacy challenges that can plague a transformation. The lack of appreciation for data discrepancies and process inconsistencies have plagued IT projects since the introduction of modern computing for business. There is a continued need to fully understand the new digital capabilities required and how these replace or plug into the existing legacy solutions. A user-centric and objective approach is vital for any large digital transformation project.

Current factors in the market 

  1. Consumer software experience vs. enterprise IT software solutions
  2. The next wave of technology trends )AI/ML, blockchain, etc.) are embedded and complex
  3. Lots of technology proof of concepts…but very few pilots and beyond

The last wave of technology innovations included significant advances in cloud computing and mobility, and they further enabled trends from the boom – e-commerce and social. This has led to a proliferation of data, which is creating the ecosystem for the next wave of innovation. This next wave is significantly more complex and requires higher end skills in advanced programming, statistics and other technology skills. For example, there is significant value in building out an advance analytics group, but this requires unique data skills and access to multiple disciplines in order to enable this capability. The changes required to do enable such a function are much more challenging than shifting workloads to the cloud or building a mobile user experience.

Finally, there seems to be significant interest in some of these new trends and innovations, which leads to organizations learning through small, focused tests or proofs of concepts. Due to the embedded and complex nature of some of these technologies, there are fewer proofs of concepts moving beyond incubation phase. Companies should continue to test out these innovations, but they should also pay more attention to choosing the right use case. For example, blockchain is a new technical paradigm that enables significantly more trust in the integrity of the data. This is extremely valuable for uses cases that involve multiple parties exchanging data or for a data set that requires frequent or expensive audits.  Choosing the wrong use cases can still teach the organization about the technology and introduce the concepts, but will not achieve the benefits across the organization if not adopted and deployed at scale.

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By Liberty Advisor Group