Fellow ZDNet blogger and top CRM analyst, Paul Greenberg, and I led a discussion among enterprise technology consumers, vendors, analysts, and consultants on issues that interfere with achieving successful IT. Modeled on the town hall format popularized during the last presidential election, inclement winter weather forced us to cancel the in-person meeting and conduct the discussion via conference call.
- Related: IT failures town hall: Jan 7
The participants were a sophisticated group whose comments and insight were obviously forged in the fires of experience. As the cliché suggests, although failed IT projects are torturous, those who survive do emerge stronger.
The role of culture and collaboration in driving failure emerged as a central theme. Often referred to as lack of alignment between business and IT, the practical meaning reflects both groups' inability to work cohesively with each other.
IT frequently asserts its own perspective when selecting and implementing projects, while business groups often don't recognize the constraints and limitations under which IT must operate. Although project management is an easy target when assigning blame, focusing on symptoms rather than underlying cause doesn't improve success rates.Given Paul's background, the discussion naturally settled on issues drawn from customer relationship management. CRM brings together core business functions -- how a company interacts with customers -- with technology intended to streamline and improve those relationships. Since these goals are business-oriented, CRM offers excellent examples of non-technical failures connected with technology implementation projects. For example, one participant noted corporate managers sometimes deploy CRM hoping to control end-users, who in turn reject the system in a predictable failure.
This webcast offers an insightful, CRM-accented glimpse inside the world of IT failures. Listen closely and you won't be disappointed. Since this first town hall was a success, we'll be doing it again. Watch the blog for news and updates.
[Photo of Paul Greenberg by Michael Krigsman.]