IT project failure rife, survey finds

Nearly half of IT projects never make it to full implementation, because of shifting requirements and a failure to deliver, a survey sponsored by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) has found.

Out of almost 400 IT professional respondents, 43.3 per cent said their organisation had recently cancelled IT projects. The top two reasons cited were that business needs had changed (29.9 per cent) and the project did not deliver as promised (23.4 per cent).

A smaller proportion said IT projects failed before implementation because they were no longer a priority (14.4 per cent), had gone over budget (13.2 per cent) or did not support the business strategy (6.6 per cent).

"It is important to take the pulse of experts because, at a typical enterprise, 20 per cent of technology investments are not fully realised," said Lynn Lawton, ISACA international president.

Results also showed that security, at 45.7 per cent, is the most important IT-related issue respondents' organisations will address during 2008. Other IT-related issues included risk (15.3 per cent), compliance (15.1 per cent), governance (14.8 per cent) and assurance/audit (9.1 per cent).

Marios Damianides, past international president of ISACA, said many underperforming IT-related projects continue longer than they should because management do not constantly assess them to ensure they generate appropriate value and benefits.

"It is a good management practice and a sign of appropriate governance to evaluate and take action on underperforming IT projects as they progress, rather than suffer the consequences further down the road," he added.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.