Underpromise and overdeliver.
“First of all, don’t tell anybody that it’s going to be a quick win,” advises Royal Caribbean Cruises CIO Tom Murphy. “This is all about managing expectations; don’t presell it. The best wins are the ones that surprise people.”
Make sure the solution meets your needs.
Watch for the bait and switch, warns Quaker Chemical CIO Irving Tyler: If you’re not careful, you may find out halfway in that there’s some other investment required “to make it really work.” Think of the end result (scale, functionality) you want and make the vendor quote on that, he says. “Otherwise you get stuck in this sort of incremental world.”
Also, watch out for management and integration gotchas. “Can you manage it yourself on an ongoing basis, or are you connecting yourself to a lifelong partner?” asks Tyler.
Get the right people and skills involved up front.
Make sure you have people who know enough to ask the right questions up front, says Cascade Designs CIO Ken Meidell, whose company deployed a Web services integration project with outside consultants. “We learned a little more than we thought we would along the way, and that could have been a bad thing,” says Meidell, whose internal development team realized halfway through the project that it would have to learn C#, a language it had not previously supported.
Watch the money.
Xilinx CIO Sheri Anderson implemented a voice-over-IP system for the company’s worldwide offices that cost less than $200,000, saved the company $10,000 a month in telecom costs and yielded major productivity benefits. But the project required putting a server in each office, which went on Anderson’s IT budget, while the cost savings accrued to the individual offices, which had been paying the telephone charges directly. “It’s one of those odd wins for IT, a common gotcha,” says Anderson. “But it’s the right thing to do for the company.”