In 2002-03, central government spent [pound]2.3 billion on information technology (IT) systems, representing 16 per cent of all procurement expenditure. The history of failure of major IT-enabled projects has been characterised by overspends, delays, poor performance and abandonment of projects at major cost. This report examines the progress made by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) over recent years to help government departments and agencies improve the procurement of IT systems and minimise the risk of future IT failure. Findings include that there have been some positive actions taken by departments and suppliers in response to OGC initiatives, as well as elements of good practice emerging from the case study projects featured. However, these developments are still at an early stage, and the momentum needs to be maintained to ensure full benefits are realised. Further work needs to be done into why one project succeeds where another fails, sometimes within the same department. The report identifies three essential requirements that need to be in place for projects to be successful: rigorous challenge and scrutiny at each key stage in their lifecycle; highly skilled and capable project managers; and effective engagement with suppliers.
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