The main reasons for the failure to quantify return on IT investment were a shaky assessment of risks, poor project management and a shortage of systematic methods to track the performance of IT projects, the survey by IBM Business Consulting Services revealed.
The study questioned IT directors at European financial services companies and analysed 165 large IT projects. Its findings are likely to raise eyebrows, since the financial services sector spends more on IT than any other industry and has a reputation for investing in innovative technology.
"Our study found that governance and the evaluation of risks are the most pressing challenges to improving IT project performance," said the survey report. "Although risk management was viewed as important, few firms use standardised processes to evaluate generic risks and implement risk mitigating measures."
The IBM study also found that one-third of projects run over deadline, one-fifth run over budget, and one-fifth fall short of planned functionality.