Given his substantial background working for both large and small enterprise software vendors, Mike has valuable insights into practical aspects of IT failure. I caught up with Mike at a conference in Boston.
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On the cultural roots of IT failure:
Many project failures are related to [poor] communication and mismatches between desire and reality. Cultural resistance to change can turn into resistance to adopt the software product being implemented.
On extreme failure:
I looked at one project, after the fact, where business people entered data in the software, but then spent another hour and half re-entering [the same] data into green ledger books. Often, we ignore the business process changes that come along with any new software project.
On the devil's triangle relationship between software vendor, customer, and system integrator:
Sometimes [software vendors] fool themselves into thinking that their only obligation is to provide a great software product. [In the past,] IT often misunderstood the business requirements; I like to think that's better now. System integrators have an obligation both to the software vendor and also to ensuring the customer's success.
These three pieces working together can [make a project successful], but if any one falls short there's a greater chance [of failure].