When launching an IT transformation project, there are some steps you definitely don't want to take, and 10 steps that could lead to success.
First, make sure that the new business strategy that’s triggering the transformation remains hazy, and not backed up by a coherent business plan on which all business units agree. Second, don’t clarify IT’s role in the project, or the technologies needed to meet the needs of the business. Third, assign responsibility for different aspects of the project to different groups, and allow them to proceed at their own individual pace. Fourth, assume that funding for the project will take care of itself at some point along the way.
That’s how one company in our experience began a top-to-bottom transformation of its business and technology. The result, of course, was inevitable: After three years of thrashing around, and many stops and starts, the project was killed, with a dead loss of $55 million.
As every CIO knows, all too many major projects turn out like this one. Indeed, the statistics on the success rates of major IT transformations are daunting. While outcomes have improved over the years, just 10 percent meet all their project goals on time and within budget. The rest either struggle or fail outright.
Companies downplay the complexity of such programs and the extent of the organizational and cultural changes required. So they underestimate the required investment in time, money, and talent, the need for careful planning and a detailed roadmap, and the potential risks involved. Yet they charge ahead anyway, with the inevitable poor results.
In reality, IT projects aren’t really all that different from any other endeavor, large or small. Readiness is all. So it’s critical for companies to conduct a reality check on just how prepared they are to embark on their transformation effort. In our experience, readiness is a matter of ensuring that the company has put in place 10 key requirements needed to make sure their project reaches its business and technology goals. These requirements should be set up as an operational checklist to be punched as each one is fully accomplished.
Refer to the full story on InformationWeek for the 10 key requirements.