Lessons for leaders in IT change study

A Chartered Management Institute analysis of successful IT-led change projects in the public and private sectors has produced five key recommendations for creating strategic value from such schemes.

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A Chartered Management Institute analysis of successful IT-led change projects in the public and private sectors has produced five key recommendations for creating strategic value from such schemes.

The analysis of successful projects follows research from Standish Group and Gartner suggesting that 74% of IT projects failed in 2005 - the same proportion as in 1980.

The study, Business Leadership of Technological Change, draws on the experience of chief executives and chief information officers in organisations ranging from Tesco and NHS Logistics to AstraZeneca and deaf people’s charity RNID. It offers pointers chief executives, CIOs and other senior business leaders.

Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “There are too many examples where large amounts of money have been written off with little achieved. Often it is due to the ambivalence of senior executives who leave their CIOs and IT managers to explore the options and take the appropriate action.

“The risk inherent in this approach is of a leadership vacuum. Chief executives who fail to provide strategic direction or show personal interest are unlikely to create the drive and inspiration in others that is required change to succeed."

The report recommends that business and IT leaders carrying out IT-led change projects think about how to create long-term transformational value rather than just implement one-off IT projects. They should manage risk with confidence, it adds.

Building capability for ongoing change, so IT shapes new business models, is also important, the report says. Senior managers should also establish a climate of open communication, so employees understand what is expected of them and stakeholders know what to expect.

The study recommends that IT and business leaders pay attention to their personal IT capability and learn about new IT issues so IT change can be driven from the top-down.

The research carried out in association with the British Computer Society and Change Leadership Network also involved the systematic review of literature covering more than 1,000 IT projects.

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