ICTs and Australia: A Cautionary Tale

According to recent article in the Brisbane Times, numerous Australian ICT investments and programs have “fail[ed] to meet their objectives, run significantly late or cost far more than planned.” The article, which cites a report developed by Australian NGO Standards Australia, reveals that between 65 and 85 per cent of projects fail in some capacity, with the average cost of overrun between 50 and 100 per cent. This is compounded by a further 30 per cent of projects that are outright canceled after proper investments have been made.

For a nation of the economic size and level of development as Australia, this is a troubling news. While the infrastructure investments and IT programs in Australia are likely more complicated than programs that would be instituted in a developing nation, the relationship between investment and waste is deeply concerning  for such a developed nation. One would imagine that with the numerous benefits that come from operating in a developed nation, contractors and government program leaders would be able to properly manage ICT investments and programs.

In their report, Standards Australia revealed numerous guidelines to leaders in ICT investment on how to combat investment issues. Perhaps nations looking to improve their ICT use can look at Australia as a cautionary tale. The Standards Australia guidelines make a note of encouraging project leaders to take personal responsibility for project success, in addition to several other reforms aimed at combatting waste. Hopefully, by using Australia as an example, developing nations can adopt the crux of the Standards Australia guidelines in order to avoid many of the same issues that have plagued Australian ICT investment.

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