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Enterprise Software Failures Stem From Ignorance, Incompetence

A veteran of Big Software implementations writes: These large implementations 'are hard work, but they are not rocket science.'
In a few recent columns, InformationWeek's Secret CIO as well as two lawyers involved in enterprise application engagements (read their columns here and here) shared their views and stirred debate on the worst and best practices of managing these complex software projects. Their perspectives prompted one former CIO and Big Software veteran to weigh in with his own advice.

Pete Janak, former CIO of TRW and Delphi and now principal of PHJ Associates, says these large implementations "are hard work, but they are not rocket science. The software works and has been successfully implemented hundreds, perhaps thousands of times." So why do so many of these projects fail? "Ignorant and/or incompetent management," he says.

At both TRW and Delphi, he says he led global implementations of SAP software with "hard cutovers and never endangered the business." What follows are Janak's seven keys to success, which he says amount to common sense and discipline: