Change and delivery 2: managing IT-based business innovations
Applied to more recent IT-based innovation, Pompidou’s observation quote above remains an all too apposite indictment.
Consider a typical finding represented by a 1995 Standish Group study of 175 000 projects in the USA. It concluded that 30 per cent of projects, representing US$81 billion expenditure, delivered no net benefits. Our own end-of-millennium study found 26 per cent of projects producing very disappointing results, while 5 per cent were complete failures (Willcocks and Graeser, 2001). Regularly such studies show that 70 per cent plus of IT-based (and 90 per cent of ERP) projects are ‘challenged’, meaning over budget and late. Introducing new information technology, even just to support the existing business model, emerges as a high risk, hidden cost process. The risks are even greater when, as for example with many Internet and ERP applications, real business innovations are also being looked for. The top reasons for disappointment cited in studies also remain stubbornly familiar: incomplete definition of business requirements, insufficiently detailed technical specifications, changing business requirements and lack of business user input in the development process (see, for examples only, Willcocks and Griffiths, 1996; Avital and Vandenbosch, 2000).