Intended business outcomes lacking in IT projects

Fewer than half of IT projects have intended, positive business outcomes, according to a survey of IT decision makers conducted by the Economist Business Unit.

Fewer than half of IT projects have intended, positive business outcomes, according to a survey of IT decision makers conducted by the Economist Business Unit.

The research, which questioned 1125 IT decision makers and was sponsored by HP, also found that the main reason for failure of IT projects to deliver business benefits was that demand was outstripping the IT department's ability to deliver.

The survey said that speed of project delivery was driving company profits, yet a quarter of projects ran late. In 63% of projects, respondents said they would reduce the scope of the project if a project was behind schedule. And 31% said they would reduce quality and performance testing to prevent a delay and 45% said they would increase their budget.

Significantly, 40% of UK users admitted that outsourcing was one of the reasons for project delays. According to Dave Clarke, presales business consulting manager at HP, "Outsourcing generates a trade-off between efficiency and agility. The ability to change quickly is more important. When you are outsourcing, you lose the ability to change quickly."

Clarke believes businesses may have outsourced too much, and have no spare resources to throw at a project if it was running behind schedule.

HP provides software to help CIOs and IT directors manage the software development lifecycle. One user of the HP software is Vodafone. Speaking of the importance of software-development lifecycle management, Ian Ravenscoft, head of IT operations at Vodafone UK, said, "You can only spend money once to deliver an IT project. You have to get it right. You must really understand the benefit between business and the customer."

As an example, he said that in the development of Vodafone's self-service systems, "We have been focussed on looking at how our customers will use our systems."

He urged IT directors and CIOs to build system that can scale and be provisioned very quickly.

HP's strategy through its $4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury in 2006 is to provide CIOs and IT directors with a suite of tools to support the software development lifecycle. Last week HP introduced software to help users capture project requirements. It also expanded its range of testing tools with testing accelerators for testing SAP and Web 2.0 applications and a new product to help users run risk based testing of software projects.

The company is also acquiring SPI Dynamics, a company specialising in providing users with risk assessment across the lifespan of their software development project.

Economist Business Unit site >>

Outsourcing delays technology roll-out >>

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