Finance News: Advice line - Pesh Framjee on finance and governance

Q. We are about to implement a major new ICT system and I am concerned at the reports of implementation failures - what do we need to think about?

A. First, make sure you have defined the business case properly. Requests for project spending approvals from the board should include a summary of the business case and cost benefit analysis incorporating a risk review, sensitivities, assumptions and judgements.

A standard project management methodology should be used - this should provide for planning requirements, documentation, quality assurance, knowledge sharing, baselined project plans, information flows and milestones. Project roles, responsibilities and reporting relationships need to be allocated and communicated, with an emphasis on business department ownership and full involvement.

Given the vast sums of money organisations pour into software, it is no surprise that they are looking for proven solutions that render measurable benefits. Many stumble in their efforts, but those that succeed are the ones that view ICT in a pragmatic light. They see it as a solution to a business problem, understanding that the right software application can yield tremendous gains in productivity and competitive advantage.

By setting incremental goals and implementing the application in phases, leading organisations avoid the pitfalls associated with large-scale projects.

At these organisations, a central project manager oversees a cross-functional team of technology staff, and they divide implementation into measurable chunks. Every step of the way, they communicate progress to senior management and end users to ensure continued support.

- See features, from page 26

Pesh Framjee is head of the non profit unit at Deloitte and special adviser to the CFDG. No liability arises to the author, his firm or Third Sector. Send your questions to pesh.framjee@haynet.com.

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