Creating Information Technology Value – Doing the Math & Breaking the Mold

Most organizations are unable to create information technology value. The success rate for IT projects is only about 20% – has been for as long as there has been IT.

So if you are embarking on a new IT project, what makes you think you are an exception to this rule?

Meg Ryan, just prior to her famous fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally, said, “Most women have faked it at some time, and all men think it’s never happened to them. You do the math!”

Besides giving rise to a catch phrase that is still popular (the other is “low maintenance”), the movie makes a good point. If you are consistently the exception to the rule, then there must be something exceptional – or at least different – about you to account for this; you have to be doing something that is fundamentally different that accounts for your good fortune. If not, then you are just deluding yourself.

Here are some best practices for creating information technology value. How many are you currently doing?

Quantify the return on investment the system is expected to produce for you (i.e. reduced personnel, other reduced cost, increase sales, or reduced investment)
Delineate specifically how the system will produce these results (i.e. which features will make this possible)
Meet with managers to discuss the process changes that will be needed to capitalize on the new system
Discuss how recognition and compensation systems will have to change to support the behavior required
Identify the work groups whose behavior will need to change to support the new software; discuss this with the managers involved
Formulate a communication plan to reach the change targets and delineates what will be said, when it will be said, and how the message will be delivered so that the target gets multiple impressions from multiple types of media
Develop a compliance follow up system so that change agents can follow up to measure and track behavior change
There’s more, but you get the idea. These are basic steps in an IT system change management plan. If none of this sounds familiar, then… do the math.