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Issue of August 2003 
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It's Risky Business

As a financial year draws to a close, IT managers are confronted with certain hypercritical questions for potential IT projects. Is the IT project viable? How will it help achieve business objectives? What are the potential risks and how can these be mitigated? What about project costing and allocation of funds? How does one calculate ROI?

Undertaking IT projects is a huge task and presents a lot of risks. It's like lugging a heavy backpack (your project) and tightrope-walking between two high rises, knowing there's no safety net below. The slightest slip-up could send you (and your project) crashing to the ground below.

Of course you won't let that happen—after all there's a lot at stake. With proper planning and design you can mitigate the risks right at the beginning, and ensure that the business will actually benefit from the IT project.

In our cover story on Enterprise-wide IT projects we discuss best practices to follow during the project lifecycle. We talked to experienced IT managers from prominent companies and also a few IT consultants.

What came up during these discussions held us in awe:

  • A particular company's project valued at several crore rupees failed due to insufficient planning.
  • Few CIOs adopt statistical analysis tools to analyze and mitigate risk for software project management.
  • Many CIOs are unsure about methods for calculating return on project investment.
  • Decision makers are not too cautious when drafting contracts.
  • Many desperate vendors deceitfully agree to SLAs, knowing in advance they will not be able to deliver the expected service levels.

Shocking, but these are real causes of failure. So what can you do to avoid all this? Make a (fresh) start right now by going through our cover story and learning from the best practices.

Elsewhere in this issue you can read our regular sections like Case Studies and In Person (interviews). This time we have a case study on how Escorts Limited's Agri Machinery Group upgraded its enterprise application tools. Read how Escorts AMG tackled challenges like inability to upgrade, lack of vendor support, and buggy software. It used tools from the Oracle 11i suite and now performs its critical operations with better productivity levels.

There's another case study on how L&T's Heavy Engineering Division implemented a Product Lifecycle Management tool to reduce the time to deliver finished goods from 16 months to 10 months. This helped it gain more business from demanding customers.

Beginning with this issue you'll notice a few changes in Network Magazine. We've revamped our news section to provide increased relevance to Indian enterprises. There are plans for new columns and new columnists too.

It's also our third anniversary here at Network Magazine. Over a short span of time we've evolved from a technology-centric magazine to become an IT Strategy publication. Over the past year we got closer to our target readership (IT Managers) through events like Infrastructure Strategies. Looking ahead we hope Network Magazine can be a forum for IT Heads to share their experiences, best practices, and words of advice.

But now, it's time to sip the bubbly. Cheers!

— Brian Pereira (Asst. Editor)

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