“There is a 70% failure rate of UK Government IT projects”David Chassels – May 2010
“Nearly 1 in 4 IT projects across the Globe were considered failures”Standish Group – 2010
“Overruns of Government IT projects in 2007 cost £150 for every person in Britain”MoneyWeek -2009
Whether it be the damaging delays and added costs in the £12.7bn Health system, a doubling of the cost of the National Offender system, the £2bn extra cost of the National Identity Card Scheme – one could go on ad-nauseum – the money that could be saved by dealing with the root problems is enormous.
The situation is stark and almost unbelievable, with vast sums of public money being wasted; and yet it simply rolls on with little sign of the fundamental causes of failure being addressed effectively. The proposed response in The DILIGENT DIRECTOR in a Digital Business World is the first proposal, based on a lifetime’s experience, which addresses the need for management and organisational ground rules for change that respond in a cohesive manner to today’s and tomorrow’s, rather than yesterday’s, challenges.
The financial justification here is the avoidance of huge costs and delays that past performance almost guarantees. The consequences of NOT bringing about the changes being advocated are therefore surely unacceptable, but we need to have the courage of our convictions and deal decisively with the management, structural and cultural problems that currently impede progress and cost us dearly.
A new board sub-committee, that is proactively supported by designated sources of specialist knowledge within the business, is a key first step. Exposure to areas that have traditionally been outside directors’ sphere of competence or comfort then becomes an educative process that generates more perceptive and better informed e-business strategic direction by the board as a whole.
As this new forum matures it places more critical demands on those lower down, through more perceptive questioning, better informed appraisal of performance and a growing demand for new business intelligence for forward planning. These demands from the top naturally lead to improvements in the planning process, more effective collaboration, and clearer business accountability for targeted results.
Behavioural and attitudinal changes then typically show themselves in a variety of ways. The top management team develops a more ‘instinctive’ understanding of how information technology can transform their business performance. At lower levels the providers of systems, and the business people who use them, work in a more productive and more effective partnership, each having a better understanding of the other’s needs and concerns.
More time is not needed for this subject; rather it is about using senior peoples’ time more effectively, making the management process more efficient, and clarifying accountability more clearly. This results in a decision making process that takes account of IT constraints, and business opportunities and risks, in equal measure, aligning business and IT drivers, thereby raising the quality of decision making..