Is Big finally Bad?

A quote I saw recently from an SAP press release at
“Today, large enterprises are skeptical of IT projects that involve foundational investments that aren't tied to delivering fast value to users,” said Jeff Woods, managing vice president, ERP and SCM, Gartner. “Big projects that only promise a foundation for future value delivery are too risky, too costly, and the benefits are difficult to justify to business leaders. Enterprises want integrated IT solutions that require only investment that is tied to immediate business value–but without losing the cost, information integrity and process integrity benefits that a strategic suite provides.”
Then SAP “says”
–> Developed in alignment with customers and partners, the new SAP Business Suite introduces industry-rich value scenarios — end-to-end business processes that focus on industry-specific outcomes that span organizational boundaries and application silos. Value scenarios can be implemented in a step-wise fashion and deployed as customers need them.

This sounds good. In-house development projects by non-software companies probably reached their peak in the late 80's, including use of the first generation of CASE tools, but a lot of these projects (especially the big, bad late ones) got swept away when the big ERP, CRM and other 3 letter acronym systems came along; business execs got tired of waiting and went out and bought their new systems. However, these packages got their own bad reputation for taking their own big, long projects to implement; the vendors have been working on fixing that for a long time, so it’s good to see some results.

I like to think that the idea of the big software project is dead, the one that takes months or years to deliver “the system”, which means it is out-of-date before it is even used. On the other hand, constantly delivering little bits of software isn't the answer either. Projects have to deliver results often enough to be effective, but not so often that frequent implementations disrupt the

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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