According to the report companies fear the collapse of their IT systems more than terrorism, natural disasters, financial risk or regulatory constraints, yet the majority do not manage IT risk effectively.
The problem seems to be that IT systems (read ERP and other integrated apps) are getting more complex, and complexity increases the risk of IT failure. However, managers still view IT risk in terms of security.
Other findings include:
- Poor project management is the most common source of IT project failure - a particular concern in Europe.
- Scope creep is a problem – which would be avoided by better project management.
- Senior business management does not understand IT issues adequately.
- IT risk will increase in the next three years.
Isn’t this an area where the GRC (governance, risk, compliance) people should be looking?
It hasn’t snowed in Johannesburg since 1981, but last night a cold front came through and for a short time we had snow. It wasn’t much and by this morning all the snow had melted.
In this world where material belongings are the indicators of happiness and success, it’s worth taking note of what is really important in our lives – Hold Lightly What You Value Greatly.
In Friday’s Business Report (SA daily business paper) there is an article entitled “West blind to what makes the Brics tick“. It reports on a study by Data Monitor commissioned by British Telecom which says that business executives in the “north” developed countries have a very poor awareness about emerging markets, specifically the Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
So a western report confirms what some of us have believed for a while, that the US and Europe really have very little idea how to operate a business outside of their cultural experience. The problem is, as one part of the study mentioned “that more than seven out of 10 western directors believed organisations in the developed world were better equipped technologically to work internationally than those in Brics”; that smacks of ‘enterprise imperialism’ to me.
Certainly in the software industry, there tends to be a belief that software that works a certain way in the US or Europe should do so easily in Africa as well. Then they get surprise when implementation projects fail or take longer to go-live than projected.
It would be nice if some companies in the ‘north’ learn some lessons from this study. It will be nicer if our own local software companies take encouragement from the report and recognise they are placed in a position to take advantage of the West’s ignorance.
If like me part of your early IT career was with relational database management systems (DBMS), you might like to re-live old times by reading the following blog about the relevance of relational DBMS.
One thing it does mention is the demise of “the view that everything will be stored in a centralized database that somehow magically replicates itself all over the world” which was the message that Oracle’s Larry Ellison used to propose.
I recently emailed a former mentor of mine who is a senior marketing person in the UK for a US software vendor; I sent him the URL for the James Utzschneider blog on how to talk with marketers and referenced Dennis’ blog as well.
In his email reply he mentioned that he doesn’t have much time for reading blogs, and backed that up by saying that he was at a conference in Geneva which had a session on Web 2.0, and when the audience was asked who read blogs, only one person put their hand up. Tom Davenport has also said he doesn’t read blogs; although he does write one!
Therefore, I wonder, are we contributors to the blogosphere taking ourselves too seriously? There has been a lot of coverage recently about the Davenport-McAfee debate on Web 2.0, and from what I’ve read the consensus is that it is still in the very early stages of adoption.
Is my former mentor’s comment an indication that Europeans haven’t got onto the blog ‘band wagon’ yet, or that people in senior positions in large organisations just don’t have time for anything except the things Covey puts into Quadrant 1 – “important and urgent”? If that is the case, are the people who read blogs in less senior/influential positions, or in smaller organisations where email volumes, meetings and conference calls are not a consuming problem?
I started my IT career, too many years ago, as a techie, but spent over six years in IT marketing in the mid 1990s-early 2000s. Those years at DEC, Compaq and JD Edwards were wonderful, but during that time I discovered how disconnected marketing could be from other business functions, particularly sales and finance. So it was with great enjoyment that I read James Utzschneider’s blog.
I would describe it as “how to deal with marketing people, for finance people”, and should be prescribed reading. It covers some important topics:
- how finance should talk with marketing,
- that simple metrics can be used for marketing activities, without being too threatening to marketing people,
- the reality of balancing measurement of marketing with execution.
It’s the kind of subject matter that could be turned into a book.
Firstly, for non-South African readers, that first word is pronounced like ‘bry flace’, it’s Afrikaans and literally means cooked meat, but is generally shortened to ‘braai’ and means a barbecue.
The title line became famous in SA in the late 1970s as a TV ad for a car company (guess which!). The ad’s message wanted to capture the things that South Africans love about their country. The reason why I remembered it was because this weekend I realised why I still live here. Despite all the bad news that gets reported from here, there are many wonderful things that you won’t find in any other country, and because I live in Johannesburg I believe this is the best place in the world to live.
It started on Saturday watching my son’s school play rugby against their great rivals. Not only was the atmosphere wonderful but the weather was fabulous. There we were in the middle of winter, sunny with clear blue skies, a comfortable temperature of around 19 degrees C (66 deg F), enjoying watching the game and enjoying the war cries from each school. It occurred to me that we were having a better winter’s day than some Europeans were having summer.
The next day, Sunday, we had a braai at home, a nice way of celebrating Father’s Day, and I received a great present from my family – a DVD of my favourite classic rock band - Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
I feel, therefore, as a result of this weekend, that I have a lot to be grateful for, and I thank God Almighty for his blessings on my life.
When I was the marketing manager at JD Edwards South Africa in 2001, I got indications from the local market that the company was missing out on a market segment that wanted a decent integrated system but did not have the cash or the IT sophistication to buy and implement such as complex system as JDE’s OneWorld.
I never had the courage or corporate contacts in those days to push my idea, and had completely forgotten about it until recently when I found a mindmap I did on it. With the benefit of six years hindsight I can see now that I was proposing an SMB version when that market segment wasn’t even a glimmer in the minds of ERP executives.
A great thing nowadays about the blogosphere, is that I can publish my ideas. By the way, I named the project ‘Crescendo’ because I thought it was something that could grow and get bigger.
Without advertising they are getting great coverage from the blogosphere – I am probably the last one to mention it.
I loved reading the blogs from US-based bloggers who were upset that the app was targetted only for the UK market. Now they know what it like for the rest of us when US companies can only produce software that’s tailored for the US market.
Dennis – I’m sure you will be making FAC more EU-centric, but don’t forget that in SA we also use VAT, and base our financial and tax structures on the UK.