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Well-known expert on why IT projects fail, CEO of Asuret, a Brookline, MA consultancy that uses specialized tools to measure and detect potential vulnerabilities in projects, programs, and initiatives. Also a popular and prolific blogger, writing the IT Project Failures blog for ZDNet.

One response to “CIO backgrounder: Understanding packaged solutions”

  1. Jeff

    There are several very real problem with the packaged solutions.
    1. Change management. The ‘packaged’ solution does things one way. If the client’s way of doing it is different, the costs benefits of going with the package are reduced, eliminated or overshadowed by the costs of changing the business process and getting the employees to adopt the packaged method. Packaged solutions most typically skip or skimp on training and change management activities. Thus the customer is left holding the bag. I heard this comment once: Project Evolve was really Project De-volve.
    2. The packaged solutions seldom address unique aspects of a busness. That unique order type, or method for transfer pricing. There are gaps in all process areas.
    3. The buyers are seldom savvy. They have happy ears when they hear a solution will make the work go away and thus eliminate cost. Risk reduction is thrown there for good measure, but they really don’t do the research to understand what the project risks are. Transparency is thrown in for good measure too, since the customer is told and believes that the packaged solution will deliver ‘best’ practices (and who defines ‘best’ anyway?), but does anyone ever do the due diligence to determine exactly what the solution does and what the outcome will be? No. Because the savvy buyer does not believe the hype, and the non-savvy buyer doesn’t know enough to ask.

    Sure, if you’re a $50M company making simple widgets and selling them in one country, a packaged solution will work. But if you’re a high tech company dealing with typical (e.g. complex) revenue recognition requirements (standard for high tech), and multiple GAAP legislations, then you’re not going to get what you need.