Blueprints key to IT project success

Standardized implementation blueprints like those used by builders and architects would help IT shops to ensure projects meet business goals.

Delivering the keynote address at the BMC Software Forum in Melbourne today, Tom Bishop, the company's chief technology officer, said IT shops need to implement best practice IT models, deliver ROI and be geared to respond to rapid change.

Blueprints will achieve this, he said, along with business process improvements.

"We are the only industry that gets away with spending lots of money buying lots of equipment, then buying lots more tools and equipment to tell us what it is we bought; that is crazy," Bishop said.

"IT should evolve like other mature engineering disciplines, building specifications and blueprints for designing systems."

Bishop said about 15 percent of IT shops he is working with today have been tasked with finding new ways to create business opportunities. Using process frameworks like ITIL will enable such best practice blueprints, he said.

Taking a swipe at the author Nicholas Carr, Bishop labelled Carr's book, Does IT Matter? as plain crazy.

However, poorly managed IT has bought entire companies down, he said, citing as an example GAP Clothing in the US, a company that lost $US200 million in revenue reportedly due to a badly managed IT project.

"A couple of years ago GAP clothing in the US decided it would run a Thanksgiving promotion to allow parents to submit pictures of their children to the GAP Web site to be used in a marketing campaign," Bishop said.

"The first mistake they made was the Web campaign was launched on the Thanksgiving weekend, the busiest shopping weekend [of the year] and the company also decided it would run the support infrastructure for that campaign on systems used to run the online store. As millions of parents submitted pictures their Web infrastructure was completely swamped. Not only did it bring down the Web site but [Gap's] online store."