(2004), "Public sector takes lead on IT projects", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2004.07953daf.002
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Public sector takes lead on IT projects
Contrary to popular opinion, according to a recent study by Benchmark Research on behalf of services firm, Steria, the private sector has much to learn from public sector in relation to IT project management.
Although the popular image is of public sector IT projects being of poor quality and prone to failure, this is an unjust picture.
The study claims that project failures in the public sector are much more likely to come to light, compared with those in the private sector, because of their accountability obligations.
Also, the public sector does not shout about or celebrate successful projects. That the public sector is a lot better than it thinks it is is borne out by the research.
Steria is to publish a set of best practice guidelines that will transcend both sectors, to maximise the likelihood of successful implementations.
For example, when it comes to measuring project success some 53 per cent of public organisations implement formal measurement systems, compared with just 32 per cent in the private sector. Public sector organisations are used to having to measure, and to justify. They understand the concept of value-for-money and continually improve their ability to measure it. They also benchmark with one another.
They also understand the concept of total cost of ownership (TCO) in relation to IT projects – often citing long-term savings as a motivator and criterion for decision-making, rather than lowest cost purchase or development. 60 per cent of public sector organisations cite TCO as important, compared with 40 per cent of private sector businesses.
Nor do they neglect customer satisfaction. 58 per cent of public sector organisations take this into consideration, compared with 51 per cent in the private sector.
So stand up the public sector – take a bow!