From: Selina Olah, Finance director, Orbit Group
Sir – So you’ve hit upon the perfect systems-based solution to your latest major problem, or perhaps more likely, you were sold it by that very pushy salesperson at the last conference. You have convinced your finance director, secured the budget, written the business case and won over the board. What could possibly go wrong?
In my experience you will learn more in 10 minutes from the frazzled manager of a failed project than spending days visiting host sites recommended by the supplier. Having pored over many ‘lessons learned’ documents, the two most common reasons for project failures remain poor project execution and failure to change the pervading culture. And yet how many of us end up blaming the fit and/or functionality of the product?
How often do these two issues receive top billing in the business case? Sure, you may find some reference to them buried at the bottom of the risk map but if they are to be fully evaluated and resourced, they need to be pushed right to the top of the list of requirements.
Most IT solutions will deliver operational benefits; the suppliers wouldn’t stay in business long if they didn’t. But a solution is only a solution if it is embraced wholeheartedly and utilised to the maximum. To achieve this you need an experienced and doggedly-determined project manager, a fully-resourced and passionate project team and an innovative training and engagement programme that penetrates to the heart of the organisation.
Skimp on this and you’re setting yourself up to fail from the outset. And I wouldn’t want to be the one who has to explain to the finance director why that budget has doubled as a result, but then again, I would say that, wouldn’t I?