infoTECH Feature

February 26, 2018

How to Avoid Costly IT Project Hiccups

By Special Guest
Colin Earl, CEO of Agiloft

Today’s IT department plays an outsize role in driving business value. As the primary executors of digital strategy, IT is expected to deliver on applications that enhance the customer experience drive employee efficiency, automate operations and manage risk. All of this on top of everyday functions. The challenge for CIOs is the application development and maintenance lifecycle has not kept up with these new demands on IT. Attempts to deploy software projects often result in a swift depletion of the set budget, missed deadlines and failure to accomplish business objectives. 

A coalition of members of the CIO Forum define project success as those that “go live within the projected budget and timeframe, meet the stated business objectives, and continue to function throughout their planned lifespans without major hiccups or incurring significant, unplanned costs.” According to the Standish Group Chaos Report,  only 29 percent of IT project implementations are successful while 19 percent are considered utter failures

So, how do CIOs ensure project deployments are a success and drive business initiatives forward?

Avoid Custom Coding

The single biggest roadblock to successfully deploying enterprise software is custom coding. Not only is writing thousands of lines of code time consuming, it opens the door to human error and introduces a significant level of risk and uncertainty. It is widely understood errors in the program – bugs –soak up time and effort to remove during development. Not as widely understood is the scale of the support issue. Over the lifespan of a large project, the typical ratio of costs for ongoing bug fixes and minor enhancements compared to initial development is four to one.

The solution is low-code and no-code platforms that eliminate the uncertainty associated with custom code. Companies experiencing rapid growth typically scale their operations by deploying new software on top of existing code-based systems, which can take months or longer, to implement. Low-code and no-code platforms, it no longer makes sense to go this time and resource-intensive route.  These platforms allow IT teams to quickly implement projects enabling organizations to reap the benefits almost immediately, while saving the IT department’s most valuable resource, time.  All without having write a single line of code.

A dramatic example of the power of no-code platforms comes from ENKI. When the provider of managed cloud computing services discovered that its NetSuite (News - Alert) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was sluggish to respond to inputs, slowing customer response times, it spent six months and 50,000 lines of custom code customizing NetSuite. yet were still far from finished.  After switching to a no-code platform, they were able to replicate all the customizations within ten days, and the project went live two weeks later.

As ENKI’s experience shows, even under the best of circumstances, custom code often leads to over-spending, missing deadlines or failure to even deploy the project.  

Vet Software Vendors for Scalability and Integration    

In a laudable effort to not reinvent the wheel, most IT projects are built on third-party software. Rather than choose the most expedient application that addresses the issue at hand, IT teams would do well to carefully evaluate the framework being considered for integration and scalability:

  • Integration refers to how easily the application exchanges information with existing systems within the organization.  Is the application flexible enough to easily extend across the organization? How easy is it to apply the necessary business rules, workflows, access permissions, and data models? Can these processes be easily customized and changed as business needs evolve?
  • Scalability: refers to how well the application handles growth. How many concurrent users and what size of database will the application handle without noticeably slowing down? As ENKI discovered, poor system performance often translates to unacceptable customer experience.  

Integration, adaptability and scalability are more advantages low-code and no-code platforms offer over traditional code-based systems. 

Ultimately, in a fast-moving business world that is increasingly driven by digital innovation, the transition from code-heavy systems is inevitable. Those organizations that invest in low-code and no-code solutions first will benefit from the ability to reap the competitive benefits of deploying digital technologies without financially-draining hiccups. 

Edited by Mandi Nowitz

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