According to IAG Consulting, only 32% of all IT projects are completed successfully. This means that 2/3 of all technology projects fail!! Here are a few reasons why system implementations can get derailed by unforeseen schedule and cost issues.

1. It’s not just about the system.
All too often, organizations implement a new software system and fail to include the processes and people in their planning. Having a fundamental understanding of the current processes in place and how each will align to new system functionality, as well as identifying and profiling end users, will help account for everything and everyone that will be impacted.

2. Not having clear requirements and expectations of what the system will deliver.
If you do not clearly define what you want from a system up-front, how can you ensure that you are getting what you need in the end? Clear, precise metrics are the measurements of success in any implementation.

3. Automating inefficient or ineffective processes.
When processes are convoluted and inefficient today (especially if performed manually), they likely won’t function any better when automated. Prior to a new system implementation, this is an ideal time to reexamine and streamline workflows.

4. Aggressive, unrealistic implementation timelines.
Attempting to replace a decades-old system in a matter of weeks is unrealistic and will likely lead to disappointing results. You must allocate ample time to analyze, design, plan, test and execute, as well as account for the “unknowns” that may be unearthed during the process.

5. Allocating resources to the project solely based on their availability.
Capacity does not always equal quality. The role of a skilled and experienced business analyst is critical in a new system implementation. The BA works with the organization to clearly understand the problems, issues, opportunities, and goals specific to the project. Once those are identified, the BA helps establish metrics by which the project can be considered a success. Project Management, together with the business analyst, can then work to deliver on the objectives and expectations for the implementation.

6. Lack of user adoption.
An implementation will not be successful if end users don’t embrace the new system. Training and tools are key to user adoption, as is establishing a champions network from within the user community that will advocate for the project and user adoption before, during, and after the implementation.

Theory, practice, pragmatism, and common sense all influence the outcome of a system implementation. The points outlined above should provide food for thought for anyone taking on the challenge to guide a systems implementation to a successful conclusion.