Sometimes, a simple health check of your operations can save unnecessary development time. Here's how.

What Software Audits Provide

Are you looking for a way to improve the use of software within your organization? Or are you worried about the risks and uncertainties involved with investing in a custom software project? Many C-Level executives in Fortune 500 companies as well as emerging startups are dealing with these issues and more. And an IT audit may be the most effective way to prevent budget overruns and lackluster end products.

Many software projects suffer from budget overruns and delayed timelines that end up drastically impacting the value of the software. Over 65% of projects exceed budgets. More than 30% miss their deadlines. And a surprising 17% of companies receive less value from their software than originally predicted.

Some projects veer off course so badly that they can threaten the very existence of the company. One large retailer began a $1.4 billion effort to modernize its IT systems, only to see the project abandoned within a few years. As the company fell behind its competitors, it launched a $600 million project to update its supply chain management software. When that effort also went off rails, the retailer had to file for bankruptcy.

In order to avoid and minimize the potential risks and obstacles associated with software projects, IT audits must be a core aspect of the process. Prior to any development, coding, or design, IT audits can safeguard software projects from preexisting issues in the business as well as common pitfalls.

Uncovering Hidden Pitfalls

Many software projects fail because of issues related to poor planning, unclear requirements, project complexity, and poor organizational environment. Seemingly boilerplate aspects of a project are essential to executing an impactful software implementation. Even the largest corporations can fall victim to poor planning.

SAP was slapped with a lawsuit by the California State Controller over a payroll software implementation. The office stated that the project cost taxpayers a vast sum of money without providing any sign working correctly. Some of the issues that led to the failure could have been easily avoided with a thorough IT audit and organizational assessment.

Planning and coordination is critical to a project’s success because poor planning leads to unclear milestones, over-ambitious objectives, and insufficient resources. Understanding the pain points of an existing system and becoming knowledgeable of the way users currently interact with software, is crucial to building something that workers will use to drive efficiency.

IT teams need to have project objectives agreed upon by all stakeholders in order to ensure proper delegation of responsibilities. Following this systematic approach insulates your project from changes in senior management, stakeholder politics and an unstable organizational environment. Even the BBC has suffered from failed software projects. During a project involved with the Digital Media Initiative, a British broadcast engineering project from 2008, the BBC announced a major failure: “DMI did not work and we must ensure that there can be no repeat of a failure of this scale”.

Organizations must put in place the right controls and measures to ensure delivery of major infrastructure projects. IT audits do this job quite effectively by providing timely reports on risk identification, assessment, and mitigation.

Transforms Operations

Many businesses are locked into legacy systems and applications and their system upgrades become a nightmare for project managers. IT audits help in delivering such projects by conducting thorough feasibility study, systems analysis, and post implementation review. IT professionals know that 80 percent of the costs and time spent on a software system, over its life cycle, occur after implementation.

Audit reviews result in significant cost savings by checking the system adequacy for the maintenance phase. The rapid pace of technology change makes an IT audit a critical component for risk management and corporate oversight. Small measures of prevention have the ability to identify and alleviate potentially devastating software stumbles. By utilizing audit reports, businesses can receive valuable insight that helps identify solutions to address current and future technology challenges.

IT audits by an independent and impartial firm are a cost effective solution for successfully delivering software projects. Make sure to inquire about audit frameworks, tools, and methodology employed by an audit firm in order to truly identify potential obstacles.