Internet projects fail due to poor planning

1 Mar 2010

Businesses and government bodies are missing out on significant savings by under-specifying websites and digital campaigns, according to the latest issue of the Irish Internet Association’s latest State of the Net quarterly bulletin.

At a time when there is huge interest in delivering services online and running campaigns, many internet projects fail to deliver on their objectives.

The reasons include an absence of detailed planning, under-specification and a lack of knowledge about the full range of technology solutions and services available.

The report revealed that Irish companies have a higher proporation of online sales than those in any other country, with firms in Ireland claiming e-commerce drives 26pc of total turnover compared with 15pc in the UK and 12pc in the UK.

One example of some of the problems businesses are facing due to lack of clarity around creating online presences includes on NGO that pays a developer €1,000 a month to make routine updates. Other examples include firms that have paid discounted prices to build websites but hadn’t factored in maintenance costs.

“Many internet projects don’t deliver value because there isn’t clarity about how they support specific business or organisational goals,” said, Aileen O’Toole, Managing Director of online consultancy AMAS, which publishes State of the Net.

 “Companies and government bodies often commission online projects without a strategic context and without pinning down requirements in the kind of detail required.” 

The latest edition of State of the Net examines how to avoid the traps and recommends the use of no-cost or low-cost software, investing in an upfront strategy or planning phase and avoiding lock-in arrangements with suppliers.

Other trends plotted in the current issue of State of the Net, which is published in association with the Irish Internet Association, include:

Digital advertising – digital is bucking the trend and is expected to overtake radio in Ireland in 2010 to become the third largest advertising category

Online TV –  “catch-up TV” is now part of the media landscape, with RTÉ reporting almost 400,000 users for its Player in January, almost four times the level in May 2009

Online shopping –  25-to-34 year olds are the most likely age group to buy online, with 43pc saying that they had bought goods or services online in the previous three months

Broadband – an international scorecard of Ireland’s broadband performance shows that Ireland is improving in take-up but has some distance to go in terms of speed and cost

Mobile Internet – 70pc of corporates provide mobile devices, increasingly smartphones, to their employees

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years