People not technology cause IT failures, ACS says

It is not technology failing business but information and communications technology (ICT) practitioners who fail to meet professional standards, according to Australian Computer Society (ACS) chief executive Dennis Furini.

Speaking at the annual conference of the IT service management forum recently, he said lack of adherence to standards meant a high proportion of projects continue to run late, go over budget, or fail to deliver promised functionality.

“Everyone talks about the need for technology investments to be driven by business needs, but our industry has a bad reputation for not delivering on its promises,” Furini said.

“An industry-wide commitment to professionalism is the only way to run the cowboys out of town. That means not only that individuals aspire to professional qualifications and knowledge, but business and industry must demand that level of professionalism from their ICT practitioners.”

He pointed to a study of 30,000 IT projects by the Standish Group, which showed 75 per cent of software development during the Internet era either failed, suffered from cost and time over-runs or didn’t meet customer expectations.

However, an IT manager, who requested anonymity, disagreed, claiming vendors are the real cowboys failing to meet professional standards.

“They sell products well below standard and pitch them as solutions, but in reality they are pitching problems,” he said.

When it comes to certification, the IT manager said, “Anyone can buy certification, like Cisco certification for example.”

Australia Post e-business technical development manager Luke Cuthbertson believes certification does not necessarily guarantee that, in practice, individuals can apply the theory.

“I am occasionally amazed by the lack of practical ability demonstrated by some highly-qualified, certified individuals,” he said.

According to a Gartner certification study more than 52 per cent of IT professionals surveyed seek out certification to improve salary prospects and find employment.