18-Month Rollouts: Nothing To Brag About - InformationWeek

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2/17/2012
12:15 PM
Greg MacSweeney
Greg MacSweeney
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18-Month Rollouts: Nothing To Brag About

With technology evolving so rapidly, entering into lengthy enterprise IT contracts seems foolish.

It is amazing how quickly technology moves. Today, cloud computing and mobile technology are changing the way enterprises and consumers live, work, and play.

But even with advances made each day, enterprise-level IT continues to move at the same old plodding pace. No doubt, the speed of technology innovation makes it difficult for CIOs to make long-term IT plans. And to be fair, how can a Wall Street IT organization even envision what it will be running 24 months from now?

At the Oracle Financial Services event in New York last week, Frank Brienzi, Oracle's senior VP and general manager for financial services, spoke of how the enterprise technology vendor recently inked a large deal with one of "largest insurers in the world." That, by itself, isn't surprising. Oracle has dozens of large deals with many mega-companies.

What was surprising was what Brienzi said next: The story with Oracle's new, large insurance client, he indicated, "will evolve over the next 18 months." Eighteen months? Is this something that a tech company should boast about--that it will take 18 months to implement a solution? Granted, signing a big contract with a big insurance carrier is something to be proud of; but to openly talk about an 18-month rollout seems ludicrous.

Long deployments are counterproductive, as customers and employees (not to mention boards) now measure enterprise IT with the same yardstick they use when buying a new smartphone: it must be fast, innovative and useful. Unfortunately, enterprise technology, and many enterprise software providers, don't think in these terms. Instead, many projects are slated for 12, or even 18, months, with only gradual increases in functionality.

Meanwhile, large IT organizations continue to build 24- and 36-month business-technology roadmaps. Part of this is due to institutional inertia: Firms have always had two- and three-year IT roadmaps, so why stop now? And most enterprise-class firms and vendors continue to move at what seems like a snail's pace when it comes to IT. To be fair, a company with 50,000 employees, tens of thousands of servers and multiple data centers can't plan month to month; IT organizations have to have some sort of plan in order to keep a company moving in the right direction.

Read the rest of this article on Wall Street & Technology.

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