Technology Success And Failures In Ict Information Technology Essay

ICT has evolved over the old ages. Today ICT has become an built-in portion of concern and can be applied in each and every industry. However, in malice of its turning importance, it continues to be the industry with the highest figure of failed undertakings as compared to other countries of concern. This paper discusses the chief factors that lead to project success or failure. It starts with a treatment on the types of undertakings comprised in ICT, followed by the current position of failed, successful or challenged IT undertakings. It involves 2 instance surveies demoing a successful and a failed IT undertaking. The First instance survey involves the usage of the PMBOK model. As it is a broad construct it can cover all the different subjects of undertaking direction affecting changing accent on certain facets. Subsequently the paper discusses a instance survey of a failed ERP execution. It involves a Soft Drink Bottler that failed to see the importance of forces and undertaking procedures and norms by cutting corners with a position to cut downing costs and disbursals. It concludes with some generalised factors that should be kept in head if non to guarantee, but at least do the undertaking direction procedure a smooth one.


IT ( Information Technology ) invention has reached new degrees today. There are 10s of 1000s of IT undertakings under manner and completed out of which some have been successful and some have non. However, a enigma still remains as to how to find a undertaking ‘s success. A undertaking which may be considered a success for a peculiar group of people may besides be considered a failure for another group of people. For illustration, in an administration after the debut of a new package into the company, employees utilizing that new package may be considered a success for the direction of the administration, nevertheless since that package is non been used for its intended usage, but some other usage, it can be called a undertaking failure for the employees of the administration. This summarises the Actor Network Theory whereby different histrions come and travel to and from a web holding their ain set of premises and positions of the undertaking.

A survey in USA showed that 31 per centum of IT undertakings are cancelled before completion and more than half of the undertaking ‘s costs end up at an norm of 189 per centum of its estimation ( Standish Group, 1995 ) . In malice of this high failure rate, there has still been no clear cosmopolitan definition for IT undertaking failure ( Hillam and Edwards, 2001 cited in Standing, Guilfoyle, Lin and Love, 2006 ) .

An ICT ( Information and Communications Technology ) undertaking chiefly relates to the development and installing of a new package merchandise, nevertheless there are besides some ‘hybrids ‘ that involve multiple sub undertakings that are managed separately. IT undertakings are basically of 7 types ( Dekker, 2007 ) .

Customer Specific New Development Project – Software that has been created based on client demands.

Software Product New Development Project – A package that can be used by more than 1 client, besides known as off the shelf package.

Software Version Enhancement Project – Involves developing an updated version of an bing package

ICT Service Development Project – A contract based service such as care, support, help desk, etc.

Package Software Configuration Project – This involves a user shaped restricted package bundle.

Data Conversion Project – It involves the migration of informations from one system onto a newer one.

It has been noticed that an ICT undertaking failure, need non ever originate due to proficient mistakes. In most instances, technically sound and successfully implemented systems may confront opposition which may ensue in its failure. This opposition may come from users or corporate direction. This may originate due to assorted political, societal and cultural issues, within the administration ( Yeo, 2001 ) . Harmonizing to Lyytinen and Hirschheim ( 1987 ) survey of system failure still lack a batch of conceptual lucidity sing the different impressions to feel failure.

There are assorted theoretical accounts on success and failure that help find a undertaking ‘s result such as the Lyytinen and Hirschheim ‘s four impressions of IS Failure, The Technology Acceptance Model, DeLone and Mclean ‘s theoretical account of Information Systems Success, The Project Management Triangle, etc. However most of these theoretical accounts are theoretical and therefore do n’t keep that good in a existent clip environment. For illustration the Project Management Triangle has been scrapped out in the latest edition of PMBOK ( Project Management Body of Knowledge ) as it ignored critical factors vital to a undertaking such as hazard direction, employee motive and effectual communicating ( Snyder, 2009 ) .

IT has gained importance today due to its boundless applications. IT non merely streamlines procedures, but besides provides connectivity which enhances the competency and effectivity of the work force. IT besides helps the growing of concern by supplying entree to new markets and new spouses ( Al Neimat, 2005 ) . In malice of its importance, research shows company have assorted troubles in IT undertakings till today. This research can be understood farther with the Chaos Report of 2009 Published by Standish Group.

Project Outcomes based on Standish Group ‘s 2009 Chaos study

The Standish Group Chaos study published every twelvemonth gives a elaborate penetration on the rate of success and failure for ICT undertakings. This study categorises undertakings into 3 different phases viz. Successful, Challenged and Failed. ( Standish, 2009 )

A elaborate description can be seen sing the different undertakings falling into each class. ‘Successful ‘ undertakings are those which have been completed on clip and within the budget, along with all the proposed maps and specifications. ‘Challenged ‘ are those which have been completed, including some budget overproductions, and offering less than the proposed functionality. ‘Failed ‘ on the other manus are those undertakings that have been cancelled or abandoned in due class of the SDLC ( Software Development Life Cycle ) .

It is indispensable to foreground that though the rate of success has been increasing and rate of failure, diminishing over the old ages, it is still a affair of concern for companies implementing such undertakings.

Although the providers, clients, stakeholders, etc can supply a beginning for failure, it is chiefly because of defects in the undertaking direction procedure itself and debut of IT in organizational civilizations that cause a undertaking to neglect ( Tilmann and Weinberger, 2004 cited in Al Neimat, 2005 ) .

Since the paper looks at Private undertakings in item, Factors such as authorities engagement and intervention will non be covered in this paper. It besides concentrates on ERP ( Enterprise Resource Planning ) systems which fundamentally are predefined systems that are modified harmonizing to client demands to ease informations migration and convergence of other bing systems to hold a common model to work upon.

Models and Models

There are assorted theoretical accounts that have been developed and evolved over the old ages to find a undertaking ‘s success or failure. Rather, these theoretical accounts are used as a kind of checklist to do certain the needed aims are achieved so as to guarantee undertaking success.

PMBOK Framework

One of the basically used models to guarantee undertaking success is the PMBOK ( Project Management Body of Knowledge ) model produced by PMI ( Project Management Institute ) in 1987 which has undergone many alterations, latest being in 2000. It is a set of criterions that describe the cognition within the field of undertaking direction that is used by most practicians and faculty members who apply and advance it ( PMI, 2000 cited in Carton, Adam and Sammon, 2007 ) . It identifies nine cognition countries that should be looked into and concentrated upon to guarantee that the undertaking satisfies the demands, is successfully wholly within the timeframe, makes optimal usage of resources and avoids unneeded hazards ( Carton, Adam and Sammon, 2007 ) .

The undermentioned figure represents the nine countries that should be concentrated upon to accomplish undertaking success along with a short description for each, adapted from PMI ( 2000 ) .

Nine cognition countries ( PMI, 2000 cited in Carton, Adam and Sammons, 2007 )

This construct can be better understood with a instance survey. We look at an Irish subordinate of a UK Multinational, Pharma Inc, demoing a successful ERP execution on a SAP ( System Application Programming ) platform taking topographic point between early 2003 up to late 2004. This undertaking has considerable value, chiefly because, after traveling unrecorded, it was considered a success by all participants runing from the parent company to the administration implementing the system.

This subordinate is termed as the ‘primary site ‘ where set of active ingredients are manufactured, which are used in ‘secondary sites ‘ that do the tabletting and packaging of drugs. The ERP system was already in usage at some of the secondary sites ; hence the administration had an added advantage of experience over ERP systems during its execution at the primary site. Following are the results based on the PMBOK model.

Undertaking Integration Management/ Project Quality Management

The chief purpose of the undertaking was process conformity and was besides seen as a cost turning away investing ( Carton, Adam and Sammon, 2007 ) . Some of the chief strengths that helped to incorporate and guarantee quality of the assorted elements of the undertaking were Customer reactivity, Innovation, considerable sum of R & A ; D and extremely efficient and flexible operation/quality.

Undertaking Communications Management

There was effectual communicating between the squad members and other involved stakeholders at every phase of the undertaking procedure. Initially out of 24 members, merely 2 members had experience of ERP execution ; nevertheless the administration consequently provided preparation in such a manner that prior to the system traveling unrecorded, all the squad members were good cognizant of the alterations they would undergo through the debut of this new system. Since people are frequently loath to discourse critical information with another section, the administration had a figure of advisers who held a figure of meetings to acquire all the necessary information sing the position of the work done in each section, associating to the undertaking. An extra squad member was besides hired from a PR ( Public Relations ) company, who held infinite meetings between squad members and employees to assist them understand the exact alteration in their several occupations, after the new system went unrecorded.

Management of Project Scope

It involves the assorted countries that the undertaking will be used in. It was indispensable to cognize precisely, what was the work to be done in item in order to avoid unneeded complications in future. At Pharma Inc. the range was really wide as it included finance, technology, executing, quality, gross revenues, distribution repositing, procurance, production planning, etc. All these faculties were incorporated into the planetary procedure theoretical account which defined the exact range for the undertaking. The planetary procedure theoretical account was prepared jointly by members of the local staff, the nucleus squad and a SAP expert.

Today range direction has become an indispensable portion of undertaking direction chiefly because past research has shown that about 60-99 % of defects in package production originate out of defective shaping of demands. ( Insight, 2002 cited in Dekkers, 2007 )

Undertaking Time Management/ Project Cost Management

Execution of an ERP depends on the size and range of the undertaking and can take old ages. At Pharma Inc. the execution procedure spread over 5 old ages. This was rather long, as by the clip the last stage was complete, the procedure had to be restarted due to updates in engineering as compared to the older versions used in the initial stages of the undertaking. Due to this chief ground, administrations today are following a “ Plain Vanilla ” or Zero alteration attack during execution ( Bingi et al. , 1999 cited in Carton, Adam and Sammon, 2007 ) . In malice of these challenges, Pharma Inc. managed to alter the clip allotments between assorted procedures so as to finish the undertaking before clip and travel unrecorded without any complications.

The administration minimised preparation cost by extensively developing or ‘super-training ‘ a set of people from the informations care squad, which in bend trained remainder of the employees working on the undertaking. It was made mandatary for all the staff to be provided with developing irrespective of their displacement form. One of the major plus points was that preparation was provided by internal resources. Excess accent included puting up of a impermanent dedicated infinite such as a corner of a auto park ( deemed to be a ‘training Centre ‘ ) to supply preparation to employees.

Project Human Resource Management

The Project squad consisted of a high profile site director and watercourse leads or squad members with an mean experience of 10-15 old ages in the concern. All squad members were full clip. Some of them varied depending on handiness for the whole undertaking and some for parts of the undertakings. More than 100 employees of staff were introduced into the squad at certain phases for specialized undertakings like preparation, desktop deployment and informations exchange. The site director was involved into monitoring of the squad ‘s spirit officially and informally at all times. There was besides allowance of yearss off in instances where the feverish work agenda could hold had a negative impact on the undertaking. Even at critical minutes employees and squad members were recognised for their attempts which boosted the morale of the whole undertaking squad.

These effectual homo resource direction accomplishments helped convey about a sense of ownership, and dedication amongst the squad members which increased their productiveness to a great extent.

Undertaking Risk management/ Project Procurement Management

Implementing an ERP includes alteration, which invites a big figure of hazards which in bend mean more clip and money ingestion. Hiring advisers does non ever warrant undertaking success, likewise developing staff on ERP execution can besides be a waste as such employees may vacate on history of high demand for their accomplishments in the market. Pharma Inc. , did non affect any advisers in the local operation side. In order to maintain costs low, the SAP advisers were hired on a contract footing. In this instance, there was no 1 else to fault and every person was every bit responsible, which farther kept the squad together and helped them work even more expeditiously

This goes to demo that the PMBOK administration constructions helped keep focal point in footings of way, cut down the possibility of holds and reworks. It besides supported timely determination doing therefore avoiding assorted hazards. It helped proper choice of squad members and a high profile undertaking director even at the local degree ( Carton, Adam and Sammon, 2007 ) . A major factor of success was the ability to separate between the local accomplishments required ; whether application focused or concern focused.

Though this undertaking was a success there were still few appropriate practises difficult to happen, viz. standardizing of concern procedures and remaining on agenda and attending to local specificities. One of the major factors for this undertaking ‘s success was that it was involved in the pharmaceutical industry where procedures are regulated and certain norms and processs are standardised with respects to quality, safety, traceability and transactional unity. This gave fewer opportunities for mistake associating to merchandises, which help the staff dressed ore more on the ERP execution as compared to their normal modus operandi of work done. This goes to demo that project direction schemes and models, such as PMBOK do assist to an extent if planned and implemented in the right manner.

Execution of systems without any model or theoretical account may ensue in undertaking failure. This can basically go on because there is no model to steer or direct the undertakings activities and resources to guarantee optimal use and best quality practises.

ERP Project failure

Switching from undertaking success we now look at some of the failures that can be caused due to negligence, deficiency of cognition, or inefficient planning. Such failures need non be proficient. In fact, maximal failures in IT undertakings occur on history of direction issues than proficient defects. Technology may increase the complexness ; nevertheless troubles arise more due to the people, instead than the engineering been implemented ( Tilmann and Weinberger, 2004 cited in Al Neimat, 2005 ) .

A authoritative illustration for direction inefficiency been the root cause for undertaking failure is the ‘Bottler ‘s Experience ‘ ( Barker and Frolic, 2003 ) which tried to implement an ERP system to derive competitory advantage by salvaging resources and reacting to the dynamic concern environments. Though the ERP system was wholly implemented, it lost important forces and system functionality in the deal. This was because it cut corners and relied to a great extent on its ain employees who were themselves inexperient. It chiefly focused on cost decrease, ensuing in overlooking many of the undertaking program ‘s recommendations due to which, it suffered to a great extent in the signifier of loss of critical forces and struggles between bing employees.

Bottler was chiefly a maker of soft drink bottles who had been in the market for over 50 old ages and was one of the largest bottlers in the soft drink industry. To maintain up with the company growing, new computing machine systems were introduced without guaranting compatibility with other procedures. As a consequence, the engineering used, started giving manner due to mutual exclusiveness between them and frequent mistakes and misreckonings. Thus the ERP execution aim was besides to cut down redundancy in informations entry and other inefficiencies. Successful execution of the ERP system would besides assist run into the demands of single sections, facilitate integrated communicating and give an border over its competition.

The solution offered by the ERP seller was resistless. It included a fiscal faculty to track net income and prognosis gross revenues, aboard a paysheet and human resources faculty. It besides included automatic updating of the income statement with respects to production programming, cost of goods and stock list.

However, the undertaking came to be a failure due to assorted direction and proficient ( caused by direction ) grounds.

Inexperienced Personnel

As the company was one of the taking names in its industry it had hired a set of capable advisers, who helped them in rating and recommendation to implement ERP systems into their concern. However on beginning of the undertaking the company did non take any advice from these advisers. The undertaking squad consisted of technically sound but inexperient staff, who was burdened with extra work.

Work Pressure

Time devouring and extremely proficient work was assigned to employees without any ERP expertness or preparation. The employees were expected to finish their regular full clip work and besides work on the undertaking, which seemed unrealistic. Besides, the adviser ‘s petitions for portion clip staff to help the bing employees complete their responsibilities whilst working on the undertaking, had been ignored. Due to this extra work load, the employees had to undergo a great sum of emphasis and wellness issues.


One of the most of import factors for success of a undertaking is motive which helps maintain the squad inclined towards the undertaking. There was no signifier of motive by agencies of inducements or acknowledgment, to the employees on accomplishing mileposts or even upon completion of the undertaking.

Top Level Secrecy

Most of the clip the higher direction held back information sing the operation of the system, and by the clip they started advertising these issues, the undertaking was already confronting tonss of obstructions in its way. This led to a major issue of opposition to alter. The experient employees of the house started opposing the execution on the footing of being kept in the dark sing the undertaking ‘s position and did n’t desire to accommodate to the alteration that it would convey approximately.

Lack of Communication

There was besides deficiency of communicating between the top degree direction and their subsidiaries sing the degree of alteration their occupations will undergo, which lead to surrenders by assorted employees under the fright of non been trained and therefore non been able to accommodate and execute on the new system. There were assorted communicating dislocations at different degrees. Peoples working in one stage did non cognize what was go oning at the same clip in another stage. The degree of hinderance was so high, that it led to the expiration of the IT section caput on history of a verbal miscommunication with another section caput. This resulted in terrible alterations in the work force which reduced compatibility between employees as they took clip to accommodate to the new workgroup in their milieus.

From this survey some of the major Factors that can assist accomplish undertaking success can be identified as follows.

Employee Involvement

The most of import factor for a successful ERP execution is the full committedness, dedication and devotedness of the staff. The employees should believe in the success and benefits achieved from the undertaking. Employees should hold an chance to make up one’s mind their degree of engagement into the undertaking. This will non merely do the employee happy but besides better his/her productiveness.

It is besides indispensable to engage the right staff for the occupation. Today, more than technically sound, experient forces help profit a undertaking much more. Besides such employees can supply valuable inputs which may hold been overlooked in the initial phases of undertaking planning.

Recognition and Retention

Motivation is an of import factor that can drive an employee towards executing efficaciously and expeditiously. Incentives in the signifier of money demand non be the lone ground for a faithful employee. Factors such as corporate civilization, holding a sense of belongingness to the company besides help maintain an employee happy. In this instance, Bottler had non adopted any such motive techniques ; on the contrary some members of direction gave a position to their several squad, of the ERP execution being a complete waste of clip and attempt. Such remarks will non merely deter an employee but besides make him/her loose trust in their several superior taking to distrust in the administration.

Effective Communication

Lack of communicating is a common factor in the cause for many undertaking failures. There should be appropriate communicating between the different section caputs and their several subsidiaries. Team members should be good informed as to the current position of the undertaking every bit good as the position of other parallel procedure running aboard.

Other than the above identified factors, undertaking failures can besides lift from the undermentioned grounds. ( McManus and Harper, 2008 )

Business Procedure Changes

Faulty designation of demands

Badly defined undertaking aims and ends

Inappropriate hazard direction

Lack of cognition, accomplishments and preparation

Incorrect pick of package

Technical barriers


Through the above mentioned instance surveies ; and sing that over 50 % of all ERP executions end in failure, some of the most of import necessities identified can be first-class planning, good communicating, employee engagement and acknowledgment. It is to be noted nevertheless that following these practises wo n’t surely warrant undertaking success but will at least show advancement in the right way. Unless there is dedication and committedness on portion on the employees, the whole Undertaking will ensue in underutilization or merely be a waste of clip and resources, be it fiscal or physical. Involving advisers is besides an of import facet while sing undertaking success, chiefly because advisers have the accomplishment and experience. However over dependance on them is besides non appreciated as it will ensue in a successful execution but an overall failure. Thus the undertaking will non be utilized for its intended usage, on history of deficiency of cognition of squad members and employees.

It is besides indispensable to foreground that the factors for failure mentioned, need non be the lone factors and can change depending on undertaking assortment. The factors discussed supply a foundation or protocol which should be kept in head so as to avoid them from originating in the undertaking life rhythm.

Administrations should value the employees who have been trained and have grown with the system. The cognition and accomplishment they possess are deserving much more than the money invested in the undertaking ( Barker and Frolic, 2003 ) .

Avoiding the changeless alteration of aims is indispensable, as presents most undertakings adopt a nothing alteration attack to smoothen the undertaking procedure. It is besides indispensable to hold effectual communicating within all facets and sections of the undertaking as deficiency of cognition or miscommunication leads to incorrect premises and unneeded differences.

To sum it up a successful execution means affecting, oversing, acknowledging, and retaining those who have worked or will work closely with the system ( Barker and Frolic, 2003 ) .