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.'

Rob Preston, VP & Editor in Chief, InformationWeek

June 21, 2011

1 Min Read

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:

About the Author(s)

Rob Preston

VP & Editor in Chief, InformationWeek

Rob Preston currently serves as VP and editor in chief of InformationWeek, where he oversees the editorial content and direction of its various website, digital magazine, Webcast, live and virtual event, and other products. Rob has 25 years of experience in high-tech publishing and media, during which time he has been a senior-level editor at CommunicationsWeek, CommunicationsWeek International, InternetWeek, and Network Computing. Rob has a B.A. in journalism from St. Bonaventure University and an M.A. in economics from Binghamton University.

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