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Top Two Reasons IT Projects Fail: Communication Skills and Business Understanding, Finds TEKsystems

Oct 5, 2010 | HANOVER, MD | For media inquiries, please contact us at

HANOVER, MD – October 05, 2010 – While the proper technical skills are still critical in getting a job done, a recent survey by TEKsystems found that it is no longer enough to drive successful outcomes. IT leaders identify lack of soft skills (44%) and business knowledge (42%) as the top sources of problems within IT projects.

TEKsystems, the nation’s leading technology staffing and services company, partners with the Inavero Institute to conduct its quarterly IT and Talent Survey. This quarter’s survey reflects the perspectives of over 1,000 CIOs and IT decision makers in the U.S. and Canada.

As many IT projects touch multiple parts of an organization’s business, effective communication on an IT project stems from one’s ability to fit into a company’s culture and speak the language of the business. Interestingly, IT leaders say that the ability to fit into the culture gains importance as IT professionals climb the corporate ladder. Nearly 90% of IT leaders say that cultural fit is very important for the success of management and senior level employees, while approximately 40% say that it’s very important for junior or entry level IT professionals.

“Clearly a strong cultural fit is required for IT leaders to influence the organization and be a part of the decision-making process,” says TEKsystems Market Research Manager, Tania Lavin. “It’s important to consider cultural fit – even early in an employee’s career. The more aligned the employee is, the more likely the employer is to prevent the cost of attrition; a cost estimated at 250% of the employee’s salary.”

TEKsystems’ survey results reveal that 50% of IT leaders believe that their IT department’s culture differs from the organization’s overarching culture, a dynamic that requires IT leaders to liaise between both worlds. Significantly, it was also found that 77% of IT leaders feel that they fit into their IT department’s culture, while a larger 85% believe that they fit into their company’s culture. “When push comes to shove, IT professionals are selected as leaders because of their ability to communicate with the internal customers, not just their technical prowess,” says Lavin.

Four tips for IT leaders looking to ensure IT project success:

  • Know thyself. Understand your culture and stay attuned to internal/external trends impacting your business.
  • Ensure your vendors understand your business and culture, as they are often involved in project execution.
  • Screen new hires for a cultural fit and business acumen. It’s critical to have a solid foundation in these attributes considering the high cost of attrition.
  • Have formal onboarding and development programs to facilitate continual integration with the culture and the business.

About TEKsystems

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, an Allegis Group company, we understand people. Every year we deploy more than 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals–while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.