Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 25 - Page 40

business ‘‘ TALKING //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Project success hinges on access to good project management tools and yet despite the recognition of this, half of respondents lacked complete confidence in their solutions – and 5% indicated they had no confidence whatsoever. Stakeholder support as a driver for success One of the key results of the survey was the impact that stakeholder support had on the success of projects. Although there is a link between stakeholder support and project success, it is difficult to say with certainty whether support falls away in response to difficulties with the project or difficulties enter into the project workflow as a consequence of waning support from stakeholders. A closer look at project implementation from start to finish may give us some insights into this question. As previously stated, optimism and stakeholder support is generally high at the beginning of projects, with 71% saying their projects were running better than expected at the development phase, but this rapidly drops to 22% when it comes to sourcing suppliers. At the same time, the number of respondents that reported ‘issues’ with their project jumped from 28% to 76%. Not surprisingly, these delays have a knock-on effect on the next phases of the project – covering implementation, monitoring, completion, trialling and evaluation – from which few projects ever fully recover. When projects get delayed, their business impact is significantly reduced. The survey found that 49% of projects had a significant impact on the business and 35% had an ‘incremental’ impact, but projects that ran without delay were more than twice as likely to have the strongest impact than those that suffered delays – 68% compared to 27%. And this was closely linked to stakeholder support over time. The figures revealed that 73% of respondents enjoyed full support for their project at the beginning, but it fell rapidly to 52% in the supplier sourcing phase and by the time it reached the implementation phase, had fallen to 48%. Overall, 40% of respondents complained that they lacked support, but splitting the figures geographically revealed that the UK 40 INTELLIGENTCIO “ RESPONDENTS WHO HAD ENJOYED PROJECT SUCCESS SAID THAT SHARED VISION, BUSINESS BUY-IN AND COMMUNICATIONS WERE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS IN ACHIEVING THEIR GOALS. suffered more (51%) compared to Germany (32%) and the US (37%). Interestingly, the UK also suffered higher rates of project delay (56%) than the average across the three countries (52%) and significantly higher than Germany (39%). Government and the healthcare sector were generally least confident that they had the best tools, at 35% and 43% respectively against a high of 59% in the telecoms and software sector and a score for all sectors of 50%. So why did stakeholder support decrease over time? Respondents pointed to lack of time (48%), other priorities (41%) and lack of shared vision (26%) as the most common reasons, suggesting the link between delays and stakeholders is very much one of stakeholders contributing to project delays. More than eight out of 10 businesses (81%) undertaking Digital Transformation projects have specialist software, with 63% using Microsoft Project and 24% using Smartsheet. But the percentage that used a single platform – recognised as a key indicator of success in managing complex projects and facilitating effective communications across multiple departments – was 39% compared to 35% that used a number of integrated solutions and 7% who used a specialist, standalone solution. The remaining 19% reported they had no specialist software to manage their project. Project success What made some projects more successful than others? In a word, cooperation, as respondents who had enjoyed project success said that shared vision, business buy-in and communications were the most important factors in achieving their goals. They enumerated five main barriers to transformation in business that have to be overcome to achieve success, with each roughly equal to the others (ranging from 37% to 40%): • Resources – Lack of investment in transformation initiatives • Talent – Lack of skills to do the job • Culture – Difficulty getting everyone to embrace change • Communications – Silo mentality blocking effective interaction • Leadership – Lack of vision to guide digital efforts In all of this, the role of technology in supporting communication and cooperation was key. Half of respondents (50%) were extremely confident that they had the best tools for the job, but this varied geographically, with Germany more confident (55%) than the US (50%) and the UK (46%). Those organisations that used a unified, single platform solution reported higher levels of success and satisfaction with their project outcomes than those that integrated a number of different software solutions to achieve their aims. Of those who used a single platform solution, 63% said their project was running better than expected in comparison to just 22% of those who were using integrated solutions. Overall, everyone agrees that collaboration is important to achieving optimal outcomes, but this survey has shown that this is often more difficult than it looks. Success depends on creating the right cultural conditions within your organisation to ensure consistent stakeholder support and cross-departmental communications, aided by the adoption of the right technology to facilitate joint planning, resourcing, implementation, completion and evaluation of critically important Digital Transformation projects. n