Are you one of those mangers who thinks Information Technology is too complicated for you? Or one of those who would turn your eyes the moment you see or hear the words “IT” or “Computers”? “Oh, this is for the techies to read, not for me” – is that your immediate reaction?
Then this topic is for you. It is important for all top professionals from industry including CEOs, entrepreneurs, business heads and functional heads apart from IT professionals. I need to state this upfront lest you think that this is a 'tecnology' topic. In fact, what is discussed here is more relevant for the non IT folks than the IT folks.
Businesses incur heavy losses on account of failed technology implementations. Statistics place implementation failures to anything between 60% and 80%.
More than technology, it is people who are responsible for IT’s success or failure. It is high time managers, cutting across all functions and all levels, owned up the responsibility. There is a serious need for this awareness (or shall we say awakening?) among managers to control the loss in time, money and effort due to failure of major technology projects in businesses, not to mention the loss of productivity due to stress and strain in the lives of managers.
There are several causes identified for failure, including top management involvement, improper selection, improper definition of requirements, training, etc. I believe that it is people, cutting across all departments and levels – from CEO to clerical, who make the greatest difference. People's attitudes can make a difference between success and failure.
During implementations, there is enormous stress, strain, and even politics. I feel that this is not warranted - somewhere we are erring and like kids playing games against each other. I feel something amiss.
I have a hunch that the 'something' which is missing is real simple and petty. I believe that there are some very simple facts managers need to know that can change this scenario and save businesses from huge loss of money and productivity. We need to approach this problem as adults by taking a holistic view.
I somehow feel that there will be an “aha” moment when we can hit upon that something and say “This is it. This is the ingredient missing which, if present, can be the real panacea to all problems". I feel so close yet so far to the solution. Even if some realizations are there, there has to be a mass movement to make that utopian situation a reality.That utopian situation where all parties involved (the technology group, the functional group and the top management) work together as a real strong team to make technological change a success!
During my years of working with people, I realized that it is not a problem only with the developing countries where automation has set in late. The problem is the same even in the the developed world. It appeared to be common to all humans across the world. I soon realized that it is a problem of human psyche and mindset. I believe it has to do with the psychology of change and the psychology of evolution from the industrial mindset to information age psyche. There is also a strange fear or “I-do-not-know-enough” complex in the minds of managers.
This topic needs a debate. Unfortunately not many forums discuss this. Most seminars and conferences are too happy showcasing successes (to the extent of window dressing) but nobody wants to discuss causes of failure. Today there is a Great Digital Divide in businesses - a divide between IT and Management. Several CIOs have acknowledged this privately with me. But not many want to discuss. It is time that we acknowledge this and openly discuss it rather than push it under the carpet.
In some of my articles which I have shared in this topic, I have tried to identify the mindset and psychological issues which can be eye openers for managers to realize why there is an awe for this technology. I have also identified some misconceptions about this technology which wrongly raise our expectations sky high and then lead to confusion, disillusionment and frustration. I seek feedback and contribution from all to enrich this site and collectively reach the utopian and “aha” moment. Participation is required from all managers of all functions and all levels.
Through this topic, it is proposed to dig deeper into the people and psychological aspect of IT and work towards narrowing the Great Digital Divide.
As CEOs and Senior Managers, would you like to blame it on the IT folks and wash your hands off, or would you like to contribute actively and effectively to make IT a success? After all, whatever be your field of operation, your own success depends on how you can effectively use cutting edge technology to your advantage.