Client-server users are spending four times as much on implementation consultancy than on the actual software licence, according to a report from researcher Forrester on the true cost of procuring packaged client-server applications.
The findings are based on interviews with 40 senior IT executives in Fortune 1000 companies in the US. Over half the respondents claimed to have spent more than $5 million (#3 million) implementing a single application, with a further 26% saying their investment had exceeded $10 million. The conflict between project objectives and the business goals of implementation consultants is largely to blame for ineffective projects and frustration among users, says the report.
Forrester advises companies investing in such software to understand their requirements, what they want to achieve and how long it should take.
They should also ensure they are in control of the project, rather than the consultant.
Bobby Cameron, a senior analyst at Forrester Research and author of the report, said: "Users think that choosing the application is the hard work - whereas in fact it's only the beginning." He urged users to monitor how well their company manages its consultancy partners.
Forrester urged companies to set explicit project metrics and deadlines, based on unambiguous, primary data. They should also set a time limit on the scale and scope of any project re-engineering work. Its report suggests that when it comes to obtaining support and help for a project, consultants should be used for their technical and business expertise, while producers of packaged solutions should be approached for their product knowledge and technical support.
Finally, Forrester advises companies to obtain corporate-wide commitment to the project to ensure active support at the top.
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