Gartner has just come up with a stunning conclusion following an investigation into the causes of failure for major IT projects. According to them, the No1 issue is an organisation's refusal to address complexity in the business process.
Whilst we welcome this conclusion we have to say that Gartner are a little behind the curve here. We have been saying the same thing for the last 5 years after the numerous occasions where we have been brought in to repair ERP & BPM projects that have seriously gone wrong.
The most common issue is that the ERP/BPM systems impose new automated processes which bear little relation to the way that the underlying organisation actually works. Typically the automated processes are silo-based when they should fall under the organisation's value chain.
Interestingly this is now being addressed from an entirely different direction. The new ISO:2015 regime is encouraging organisations to manage their complexity as the starting point for any management certification. ISO auditors will now be looking to see that an organisation understands its Value Chain and has aligned its operational processes beneath it. Let's hope this change of culture trickles down to major IT projects.
Gartner studied more than 50 projects that are on the public record as having experienced complete failure, have been seriously compromised or have overrun their IT budgets significantly. The analysis showed that the organisation’s refusal to address complexity in the business process is the main reason. Complex projects with unrealistic goals, unproven teams and almost no accountability at all levels of the management and governance structure, means no one is responsible for failure.