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 Canadian government started in 1997 with plans for a modest project that would cost $119 million but would be offset by $117 million in licensing fees. But political controversy led to giving the contractors, EDS and SHL Systemhouse, more than 1,000 change orders in just two years. They pushed the cost to $688 million, and by 2001 maintenance alone was running $75 million a year. In 2002, an audit estimated that the program would cost more than $1 billion by 2004.
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.