Modern technology projects are vast in scope. Digital transformation initiatives often span functional boundaries. Many of them pull in data from external sources, such as third-party suppliers and collaborators. The system’s user base could extend outside your company to include vendors, customers, and business partners. And the wide variety of workflows and processes affected by even a relatively small software implementation means there are a lot of moving parts to manage and a lot of areas where something could go wrong.
Maybe you encountered unexpected risks in previous technology projects that were never quite understood. You might not know where to watch for signs of trouble in an upcoming initiative.
To help develop better risk assessments and improve your mitigation strategies, we’ve put together some technology project risks that could delay your progress and derail your outcomes if you don’t stay ahead of them.
The new technology doesn’t work as expected.
It’s a primary fear, but what does it really mean? Sometimes it boils down to incorrect assumptions, such as when users think the software will automatically run analytics on incoming data sets but in reality they must trigger each round of analysis manually. On the other hand, it could mean that analytics run as expected but the system returns incorrect data or the results are empty. Malfunctions often spring from improper programming that slipped through a lackluster quality control process or sloppy beta testing.
The training didn’t give users the skills and knowledge they need.
Numerous factors can impede the usefulness and relevance of the educational sessions and materials users receive as part of a system upgrade or implementation. Perhaps the curriculum didn’t include the latest features. Or the training covered basic functionalities and missed the advanced workflows your teams require. If the training program doesn’t give end users the right skills and knowledge, they can’t utilize the system as fully or productively as expected. You risk delivering a technology project that ultimately underperforms or potentially fails to achieve the necessary outcomes.
Integrations are faulty.
The majority of platforms rely on integrations with other solutions in the organization’s technology stack, as well as connections to outside systems. You may need to pull in customer order data from an external marketplace, for example, push out invoicing through a vendor-accessible portal, share files with collaborators, or process updates from internal departments. Just one glitch in these connections can bring workflows to a halt. Misconfigured connections and credential errors are just two reasons your technology project’s integrations might diminish the final results.
Bandwidth is insufficient.
Estimating bandwidth needs can be tricky. Vendor-provided specifications for connectivity requirements are typically bare minimums that are too modest to support real-world use. Without enough resources to move data into, out of, and through the new technology platform, functionality and the user experience could be so poor that it’s nearly unusable. In most cases, it’s merely a persistent inconvenience that saps productivity. However, you’re still likely to face a large swath of end users that grumble about the issues and executives that are unimpressed with the project’s performance.
Security is inadequate.
With massive volumes of potentially sensitive information flowing through corporate systems today, security is a paramount concern. You may be handling customers’ transaction data, employees’ personal information within their personnel records, competitive data, and internal business and operational information. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to assess cyber risks and develop defensive measures to protect against them. Breaches and unauthorized disclosure represent serious risks, so be sure to involve people with the right expertise to ensure you have an effective security strategy for any new technology implementation.