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Resolve to under-promise and over-deliver in 2008

I get sort of stubborn about using my mobile gadget to bridge my person and business life. It’s pretty simple: I forget things.

This has caused all sorts of heartache for me in the past, especially when it comes to synchronizing my various smart phones with both my work and personal computers. Just yesterday, I realized on the train to New York City for a meeting that I had NO idea where said meeting was to take place. My software ate my homework, mom. Today, I’m still fighting with the application that caused the problem. But I will insist on using my iPhone.

So, I took a sort of sick pleasure from the findings of a survey released last week by Tata Consultancy Services, the big systems integration and consulting company based in India. At the highest level, its research shows that one-third of all IT projects fail to meet their original expectations. Sadder yet, 43 percent of the IT organizations surveyed say the business and board side of their business expects failure as the norm.

The most common misalignments are related to botched timing (cited by 62 percent of the respondents), budget (49 percent) and unanticipated maintenance costs (47 percent).

Mike McCabe, director of communications for the North American division of Tata, said the survey touched about 800 IT managers in companies with more than 250 employees. Tata actually conducted the survey to get a sense of how it performs relative to the industry norm. Since the integrator didn’t survey its customers with the same questions, it’s hard to draw any kind of concrete comparisons. However, McCabe says Tata delivers on time 87 percent of the time, which puts it in a relatively good position with respect to where most IT projects usually underperform expectations.

What does it mean for your own business as a solution provider?

It’s pretty simple: it’s so much easier to manage customer service when the customer knows what to expect. When you’re setting goals, honesty is the best policy and it may be better to walk away from an opportunity than to go into a situation knowing that you can’t deliver.

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