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Cook decided to write about what he calls the “software money pit” because he didn’t see a good guide for the average executive who was suddenly called upon to manage a large technology product. “I found good and detailed project-management advice with complicated, deep discussions of the technology,” he says. “There was nothing in the middle that explained it in a conversational manner.”
Cook defines the “software money pit” as an outgrowth of large software implementations, many of which never meet their objectives. Even worse, they often end up costing far more than anticipated and are abandoned altogether. “I’ve seen costs double in some situations,” he says.
Companies need to prioritize their projects and pursue only those with the highest potential for return on investment. “First,” says Cook, “nip the losers in the bud.” Certain projects, based on a wrong technology or devised for the wrong reasons, should never be undertaken.
Second, “step into the future with your business process.” Determine precisely what results you want to achieve in your supply chain with the new technology. Third, understand your options, which are varied and include cloud-based applications.
Finally, “manage ruthlessly,” Cook says. Take care to manage anything that threatens to interrupt the project. And make sure that you have the right project team in place.
The best-laid plans can go awry when there’s a disconnect between the line of business and the I.T. department. Often corporate politics get in the way, Cook says. His suggestion: “Put yourself in the middle of that conversation.” Determine a project's true ROI and act accordingly. All initiatives should be tied back to the company’s basic strategy. Such a focus will allow companies to “make better decisions overall,” he says.
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