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Why do most IT projects fail?

By STEFAN JACOBS, head of Applications Practice at Wipro Africa Modern Application Services

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The majority of IT projects fail. According to research published by The Standish Group, of more than 50,000 IT projects between 1992 and 2004, only 29 percent were deemed successful. This problem has not lessened – consultancies such as Forrester and McKinsey regularly note a 70% failure rate among transformation projects. So even though technology procurement and delivery is changing, why hasn’t the failure rate lessened?

It’s all about complexity. Complex projects generally have a poor success rate. ICT projects are almost always complex because they typically are a System of Systems: a combination of many different parts, the sum of which is invariably larger. A system of systems can describe any transformational environment:  solutions require integration and collaboration between many technology components, business processes, and workforces.

No wonder CIOs have a headache and easily one of the hardest jobs in the business world today. Compounding matters are the loud voices in the rest of the enterprise, demanding services that match their expectations. Organisations have seen, heard and tasted the potential of digital technology, and they look toward the CIO to deliver at very short timelines. It’s no longer 3 years – it’s 3 months! They like the sound of micro-services, proofs of concepts and scalable deployments. Such terms even make digital sound easy. These are steep expectations to overcome in the face of complexity.

Complexity doesn’t go away, but its risks can be mitigated through good design, automation, and experience. This is primarily why the choice of Systems Integrator (SI) has become an overruling factor for successful ICT projects in the medium and large enterprise worlds. Small businesses can usually find all they need in standard services, but the more complex an organisation, the more it needs customisation and integration of its systems. Complexity begets complexity.

Normally one would look to vendors for guidance and clarity. Yet the vendor market also has a complexity issue. The nature of modern services means that there are many combinations to create a solution. It’s not a new situation and has defined the space of SI’s  for many years. Yet the rise of choice and variability among vendor products has increased this tenfold.

Hence the importance of partnerships and alliances between vendors and systems integrators. The more familiar an SI is with vendor solutions, including those still be tested by R&D, the better they can simplify things. If the SI can draw from a deep and wide pool of experience, usually gained from staging multiple technology projects across the world, that is also an important factor. The right SI must be able to communicate with every part of the client organisation, from the highest levels down to the coalface. Finally, the SI often invests in the training and costly certification of skills – it should be able to tend to those with an international mindset, yet strive to localise those skills within its customer companies and customers.

Such criteria have long counted towards identifying a good SI and solution provider. But they are more important than ever before. Projects today are driven by customer/user experiences. They often involve platform strategies and are orientated towards services and components. And they are unique: the beauty of digital is that every organisation can have its own journey. But how to do that without reinventing the wheel depends on the right solutions partner.

In an integrated world, the successful SIs are close to vendors, customers and trends. These require more than big marketing claims. They require depth and experience beyond being a solutions middleman. The CIO who chases that requirement when selecting transformation partners can avoid the 70 percent of ICT project failures.

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Projection tech transforms retail

By TIMOTHY WILSON, visual imaging business account manager at Epson South Africa

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Display designs, such as those found in retail stores, are no longer confined to static visuals on pull-up banners, 2D print and posters. The increasingly popular use of projection technology has ushered in new and exciting ways to create immersive displays using rich media and high-quality visual content to go beyond the four walls of traditional marketing.

In the past, projectors were lamp-based and prone to failure when used in a harsh environment, such as a retail store. Today, newly introduced laser projection technology has unlocked a range of capabilities.

Transforming the way brands engage with audiences

Creative techniques such as projection mapping, which can be described as the projection of video, animation and other colourful displays onto 3D surfaces, have completely transformed the way brands engage with audiences and can live in retail spaces, concert halls and even sports stadiums.

Projection mapping offers venues wide-spread creativity in using lighting in small or large environments, as was the case with Epson’s showstopping kinetic portal, which implemented projection mapping on a 360 degree vortex at the largest AV and systems integration show in the world – Integrated Systems Europe 2019. Driven by a new, affordable generation of projectors, mapping not only covers flat walls and traditional projections screens but also irregular shapes, objects, and even entire building façades.

When projecting on a larger scale, such as at events and music concerts, the process of visually combining several projectors to display one single seamless image might sound simple enough in principle but can prove to be a challenging task in reality. To overcome this challenge, experiential marketers are adopting the use of image edge blending, which refers to the process of stacking multiple projectors to create a single overlapped projection that appears continuous and clear.

It’s due to these advancements that displays in retail and events no longer pivot just on aesthetic appeal but can now deliver immersive consumer experiences that drive engagement and increase foot traffic. This is starting to drastically change the way that retailers, events and even restaurants host, engage, entertain and communicate with their audiences.

Projection is driving growth in experiential marketing

Consumer interest in the transition towards projection has seen this technology take centre stage at leading retailers such as Mall of Africa, events by brands such as ABSA and restaurants like Saint, transforming their environments into immersive spaces through projection that displays captivating imagery and video.

Saint restaurant in Sandton has pushed the boundaries of branding and displays, transforming all surfaces into a visual delight. Patrons entering the restaurant are greeted by a visual experience within a dome, featuring a series of moving, constantly changing artworks – such as a starry night sky or a replica of the Sistine Chapel – projected onto walls and the ceiling.

In fact, EventTrack research, which showcases the current state of marketing around the globe, highlights the continuous growth of event and experiential marketing. It notes that high-quality projection technology, more specifically its ability to emit stunning visual experiences, has grown in popularity to become the go-to tool for event organisers and retailers looking to captivate and engage with consumers.

The future of projection technology

Projection technology has proven to be an outstanding, much more cost-effective and reliable form of marketing collateral – setting an entirely new standard for high-resolution projection.

Sandton City recently embraced this market-leading technology with the installation of a virtual aquarium in its Centre Court. This installation centred on creating a 3D mapping concept that enabled shoppers to select an undersea creature from a touchpad to swim across digitised hoarding.

With capabilities to meet the demands of large-scale projection and the ability to effectively transform the way brands remain visible at shopping malls, restaurants and retail spaces – the unprecedented imaging power of projection technology has set a considerably high bar when it comes to retail and event displays. 

Epson, which is not only pioneering imaging technology and innovative projection solutions, is also the market leader when it comes to high lumen laser projection, having recently announced its 30,000 lumens laser projector (EB-L30000U) which will officially launch in 2020. This high-end installation laser projector, complete with 4K enhancement, is aimed at rental and staging companies, hospitality markets and visitor attractions, which is yet another progressive step towards transforming the way marketers engage with their consumers in the 21st century. 

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GoFundMe hits R9bn in donations for people and causes

The world’s largest social fundraising platform has announced that Its community has made more than 120-million donations

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GoFundMe this week released its annual Year in Giving report, revealing that its community has donated more than 120-million times, raising over $9-billion for people, causes, and organisations since the company’s founding in 2010.

In a letter to the GoFundMe community, CEO Rob Solomon emphasised how GoFundMe witnesses not only the good in people worldwide, but their generosity and their action every day.

“As we enter a new decade, GoFundMe is committed to spreading compassion and empathy through our platform,” said Solomon in the letter. “Together, we can bring more good into the world and unlock the power of global giving.”

The GoFundMe giving community continues to grow with both repeat donors and new donors. In fact, nearly 60% of donors were new this year. After someone makes a donation, they continue to engage with the community and give to multiple causes. In fact, one passionate individual donated 293 times to 234 different fundraisers in this past year alone. Donations are made every second, ranging from $5 to $50,000. This year, more than 40% of donations were under $50.

GoFundMe continues to be a mirror of current events across the globe. This year, young changemakers started the Fridays for Futuremovement to fight climate change, which led to a 60% increase in fundraiser descriptions mentioning ‘climate change’. Additionally, the community rallied together to support one another during natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires, where thousands of fundraisers were started to help those in need.

The report includes a snapshot of giving trends from the year based on global GoFundMe data. It also includes company milestones from 2019, such as launching the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, GoFundMe.org, and introducing GoFundMe Charity, which provides enterprise software with no subscription fees or contracts to charities of every size.

Highlights from GoFundMe’s 2019 Year in Giving report include:

  • Global giving trends and data
  • Top 10 most generous countries
  • Top 10 most generous U.S. states and cities
  • Biggest moments in 2019

To view the entire report, visit: www.gofundme.com/2019

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