CIBER (NYSE: CBR), a system integrator, completed an SAP implementation on-time and within budget. This amazing accomplishment must be extraordinary news because the company released a press release specifically to alert the media.
I interpret the press release as an indictment of CIBER and the entire implementation consulting industry. This business is so failure-centric that success seems an aberration worthy of media attention.
THE PROJECT FAILURES ANALYSIS
The solution to late and over-budget projects is harshly aligning consulting compensation and incentives directly with the interests of the customer. I recommend that enterprise software customers create vendor penalties that kick in when projects are not completed on-time or within budget.
Consulting companies may claim that's not fair because so many variables lie on the customer and software vendor sides. My response: deal with it by planning more carefully. If you can't plan a project successfully then get out of the business.
At the same time, IT services customers must learn to be responsible and intelligent consumers. Get multiple bids and don't rely only on low cost as your selection criteria; as a wise man once said, "buy cheap, get cheap." Most important to ensuring IT project success is binding services vendors into the agreed-upon schedule and budget; that's called skin in the game.
For more information on fake promises of trust and consulting compensation, see: Consulting’s dirty little secret.
These are complicated issues, so please leave comments with your views on managing vendor / client technology services relationships.