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Winners and Losers With Difficult IT Projects

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Many business software projects lead to major disappointments. The new solution appears to be unworkable for your employees or provides no improvements and benefits. Annoying for you. Annoying also for the supplier of the business software who would prefer to write a success. But turnover isn't unimportant for them either.

When new business software needs to be introduced, the process often follows the same route. First of all, an inventory is made of what goes wrong in the old system and the new goal is considered. The software supplier is briefed and gets to work. Then, during the test phase, it appears that the employees are unable or unwilling to work with the new system. They have remained stuck in the old way of thinking and are trying to apply this to the new software. You currently have two choices. You can agree with the opinion of the software supplier, who goes for innovation and improvement. Or you can demand that the software be adjusted based on the wishes of the employees. Unfortunately, the second option is often chosen. Extremely negative for your project, but cashier for the supplier.

Vendor lock-in

The software supplier is sent back to the drawing board with the new requirements. He converts the business software in such a way that the most important users can keep their old way of working. Customization and that costs a considerable amount of money. The result is a system that you already had. The new technology is poured into the straitjacket of the old way of thinking. You don't get along with it and an additional problem arises: the vendor lock-in. The supplier is the only party that can and wants to manage this customization. Until you choose another solution, you have no choice but to stay with this supplier. This can cost you a lot of money.

Avoid high costs

You can prevent this situation. The problem can be found with your key users: the employees. They expect to be able to continue working in the same way as before. This is usually not the most logical method. Over the years they have created countless workarounds that they will not dispose of so quickly. The only way to ensure that employees don't massively reject a new system is through clarity at the start of the process. This is the time to get all noses in the same direction. The old methods no longer meet the new goal. In this phase, creating uncertainty about the purpose and expectations of your software project gives you only one certainty: that you're facing a 'difficult' project, with you, the organization, the employees and your wallet as losers.

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