December 13th, 2014 by

5 Explanations On Why So Many IT Projects Fall Through

No business environment is without errors, irrespective of the company’s field or size. However, when the IT department implements a major project that fails to produce the expected results and bring the company the much touted benefits, executive and stakeholder patience is exhausted fairly quickly. A number of explanations for the lack of success of an IT project can be found, ranging from lack of preparation or planning as well as exceeding the resources (financial or otherwise) that the company can afford to allocate. Let’s examine five of the most frequently encountered grounds for failure.

1. Integrating technology that’s cool, but ultimately unnecessary

With the advent of numerous technologies that appear to simplify our lives and the business environment, it’s relatively easy to go overboard. In other words, you could be persuaded by the shiny new features and complex algorithms, and fail to see the fact that a certain project just doesn’t have a place within your company.

When you decide whether or not a certain technology should be implemented, don’t get sidetracked. Always ask yourself why it would be useful and how it could benefit your business, in a strictly objective manner.

2. Commencing the project before the planning phase is finalized

Your IT department may pressure you into accepting their project and starting the implementation ASAP, either because they fail to see the whole picture or because they’re ‘drunk’ on past successes. They tend to work under the assumption that virtually every issue that arises can be solved by throwing more technology at it. Unfortunately, this category of practices is not only ineffective financially, but stands to have potentially disastrous consequences for your operations.

When you don’t draw a strict set of rules and guidelines and plan for every foreseeable outcome, you’re bound to run into problems in the implementation phase. It’s like going fishing without knowing where the lake is.

3. Failing to establish limitations

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Without a doubt, all IT projects are liable to a number of changes and additions that would improve its functionality to various extents. However, continuing to perform alterations and adding features without any restrictions, rather than focusing on the core concept inevitably leads to missed deadlines and growing expenditures. Furthermore, those features might not even be useful in the greater order of things.

4. Refusing to pull the plug on a doomed project

Similarly to a poker player who continues to increase his bids in an attempt to recuperate his losses, some managers continue to fund IT projects that are evidently doomed. In other words, because they have already invested significant company resources, pulling the plug seems like a mistake. However, it’s always better to monitor the project in various stages and evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility than to persist in error despite the evidently negative outcome. Set milestones and goals for each of them, and you’ll be able to achieve a clear picture of how well the project is doing.

5. Calculating the ROIs wrongly and overestimating the lifespan of the solution

All IT projects should be evaluated based on their ROI, and this is particularly true when the anticipated expenditure is limited whereas the benefits are presumed to be spectacular. What may initially appear as low cost or even free could come with unexpected piling costs later on that render the whole affair counterproductive.

Finally, don’t forget to plan the strategy for the final days of the IT solution you intend to implement. As the project progresses, you will be faced with numerous requests for additions, tweaking, updates and maintenance expenses. There is a threshold after which it would be better to implement a new solution rather than pour vast amounts of resources into up-keeping the current one. To avoid failure, it will also be best to go for IT consulting services so that you will not waste time and money on IT solutions that will not work for your business.

December 13th, 2014 by

Top 7 Web Design Elements That Inspire Trust For Your Business

Irrespective of whether they’re trying to make an online purchase or are simply browsing the web, people have become leery about their online activity. From identity theft to credit card fraud, the truth is that the internet is perceived by some as a worrisome place. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean it is impossible to gain your visitors’ trust. In fact, here are some web design elements that can help you inspire trust and boost conversions on your website.

1. Payment logos

The worst nightmare of online buyers is falling victim to identity theft or credit card fraud. To reassure your visitors that you’re a trusty seller, you could add payment logos that they recognize. For example, you could include a PayPal logo right next to the purchase button and the checkout page itself, if you accept payments via this method. Furthermore, having your business accredited by the Better Business Bureau and including a BBB logo could further add to your credibility.

2. A well-built About Us page

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Many websites rarely pay much attention to one of the most critical pages, the About Us section. What they don’t realize is that this is the most accessed page by first-time visitors and therefore, it should be utilized to build rapport with potential buyers. Avoid being the faceless entity everyone shuns away from and add a personal touch that makes you and your business appear approachable.

3. Pictures of you and your staff

People in general have come to dislike doing business with anyone who remotely resembles the stereotype of the anonymous corporate. The personal touch mentioned above could be something as simple as uploading pictures featuring you and your staff. Showing your face actually serves a double purpose: not only are visitors more inclined to trust what you have to say, but it also builds recognition for your business and/or yourself.

4. Testimonials

The simplest way to build trust in your company and product is to display testimonials of customers who are willing to provide documented quote endorsing your business. Testimonials have the role of showing your visitors how other people managed to solve a problem using your products or services. If they can identify with one of your customers, then that usually leads to a sale.

5. Useful content

Some people are browsing the internet trying to figure out a nice idea for a present. Offering them useful content – such as guides or tips – instantly builds trust with users who come looking for information. Useful content represents a statement that you’re not just trying to make a quick sale, but that you are interested in creating a mutually fruitful relationship with your visitors.

6. Badges

When you stand by the quality of your products or services, offer extended warranty or you have a money-back guaranteed policy, don’t hesitate to implement a badge to promote this aspect of your business. The ideal place for any of the aforementioned badges is somewhere near the call-to-action button. Ideally, you should consider making the badge gold, although any colour contrasting with the rest of the tones used in the website is usually a good option. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid using red for badges, as this colour is a visual cue for stop.

7. Social media direct links

When first time visitors check out your website to find you have over 10,000 people following you on Twitter or Facebook, they will immediately perceive you as an authority. After all, 10,000 followers don’t just materialize out of thin air! Having social media direct links builds trust, because it suggest that your business has been there for a while, has useful information and that it won’t disappear overnight!

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