Large-scale information technology projects can balloon to inconceivable figures very quickly with endless revisions, change orders and delays pushing budgets into the stratosphere. Sometimes the cost of an IT project can be measured simply in dollars, but just as often these projects costly in other ways -- in reputation, for example. With government projects, it's easy to look at the budget and see how much it costs -- or at least how much it's supposed to cost. In the private sector, it's not
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The British supermarket chain decided in the early 2000s to install an automated fulfillment system in one of its distribution centers, based on barcode readers. The system was installed in 2003, only to be riddled with errors. By 2007, the entire project was scrapped, and Sainsbury's wrote off $150 million in IT costs -- more than $230 million.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.