Don't blame football club IT managers for the game
Phil Everitt, West Bromwich Albion Football Club
I read with interest the opinion of Ibukun Adebayo. The majority of big football clubs (and many smaller ones) have IT managers or directors. IT in football has come on in leaps and bounds in the past five or six years and any club worth its salt needs to be at the forefront of new technology. Wireless tills, hotspots, tablet PCs, smart cards for season tickets, electronic access control for fans, internet and SMS ticketing, ProZone player analysis, the list is endless.
But when it comes to the laws of the game, do not blame the clubs' IT managers. We are powerless to introduce IT into "the game", which remains under the control of the FA, the FAPL, the FL, FIFA and the various other governing bodies. Football IT managers meet regularly to discuss new and emerging technology, but are restricted to improving the fans' "match day experience".
Incidentally you may recall thousands of Liverpool fans being denied access to the Millennium Stadium a while back because their tickets were lost in the post and the Millennium Stadium would not reprint them for fear of duplicate tickets getting into the ground. My stadium, in common with many other Premiership and Championship grounds, has electronic access control that allows me to cancel any lost or stolen ticket and deny it entry to the turnstiles. A simple solution to the problem that affected the Millennium Stadium.
Process management should be an expert job
In response to the article "Learn from mistakes, urges Portillo", I was interested to read Michael Portillo's comments. While I agree with the sentiment, he fails to take into account that the CIO's role is being stretched disproportionately, and many, therefore, need to rely on others in order to deliver against objectives.
Business process management has become a full-time role as organisations recognise the scale of efficiencies and productivities that can be derived from business process optimisation. However, it is the CIO who is often tasked with driving such projects, and these often fail at the expense of the plethora of other projects being juggled.
Poor business process management will have a negative long-term effect on how companies perform. Strong leadership from a designated business process management expert is therefore a key component in companies staying ahead of the game.
Portillo is right - CIOs should take responsibility for their own failures. However, they should not have to take responsibility for failed projects that should not be in their domain in the first place.
Define roles and benefits early for project success
In response to your article "Metrics key to IT success, say MPs", I agree that part of an essential programme of change is the need for metrics during the delivery of the programme and after implementation. However, the article identified that post project reviews and senior responsible owners are key to ensuring value from government IT programmes.
Leaving the realisation of benefits until post project reviews and not defining the role of the senior responsible owner is a big reason that 67% of government IT projects fail. Building a strong business case for a senior responsible owner and regularly reviewing this as part of a structured quality management process is critical. Not enough programmes put sufficient emphasis on the role of the senior responsible owner and the delivery of benefits associated with the programme.
A senior responsible owner is the individual with a baseball bat to make things happen and a pot of money to deliver a return on investment. The programme manager is the conduit to deliver the senior responsible owner's dreams and implement the right governance processes. Without clearly defined roles and relationships or sufficient measurement of the return on investment, the programme is a failure waiting to happen.
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