Are your IT projects ‘drivers’ or ‘supporters’?

By David Bicknell

An article by Art Langer in the Wall St Journal argues that IT projects are either ‘drivers’ or ‘supporters’.

Drivers are those projects and activities that affect the relationship with an organisation’s clients i.e. projects that drive revenue directly or indirectly. Supporters, on the other hand, are those everyday activities that are more operational in nature.

Langer cites the work that Dana Deasy has done firstly at Siemens  and more recently at BP.

He writes: “We all know that executives are more interested in implementing technologies to drive the business, than they are in using cutting-edge technology for its own sake. For Deasy, the biggest challenge was mostly building internal consensus about  how the technology would help  customers–and how Siemens could be more competitive in the marketplace.

“Deasy also had to show his executives that the evaluation of investments in these projects would be different than evaluations of other kinds of IT work. With e-business, the market reaction to different product and service offerings can be less certain.

“So Deasy established the concept of “revalidation.” Approved technology projects were reviewed every 90 days to determine whether they were indeed providing the planned outcomes, whether new outcomes needed to be established, or whether the technology was no longer useful.

“Siemens was moving from a traditional process of analyse-develop-deliver to a new process of sensing what a customer might want, and then responding to it more dynamically.”

Langer concludes by saying that, “The idea that all IT projects must succeed is outdated and unrealistic in true “driver” initiatives. CIOs must learn from Deasy’s lesson: If you are engaging in true “driver” initiatives, you cannot evaluate them on the “supporter” method of simple success rates.”

Interesting piece – worth a read.

How to Develop and Evaluate Strategic IT Projects

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