ZIFFPAGE TITLESuccessful Projects Never End

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2005-05-23 Print this article Print

What's the trend this year among big-ticket deployments? Enhancements to existing systems.

Successful Projects Never End Other information-technology leaders anticipate recouping value in 2005 from major investments made in years past.

Morrison Homes, a builder of new single-family homes, began using SAP's enterprise resource planning software at its head office in Atlanta in July 2002. Seven of its 11 divisions run the software, and the company expects to complete the SAP rollout by the end of 2005.

Once the software is fully deployed, Bob Witte, chief information officer at Morrison Homes, expects the business to explore ways to tap into SAP's centralized data repository to potentially provide home buyers with Web access to live floor plans, availability and even prices. But for now, Witte is focused on getting SAP out to the four remaining divisions. "Everything else is moot until we're done with this," he says.

At Foley & Lardner, a law firm based in Milwaukee, a rollout of Internet Protocol telephone systems from Cisco Systems to all of its 2,600 employees at 18 offices is reaching its conclusion, 4 1/2 years after CIO Doug Caddell kicked off the project. "Back then, especially, it was a bit of a leap of faith," he says. "But it was an educated leap of faith."

Spending in 2005 on voice-over-Internet Protocol networks will average $5 million among Baseline readers who view it as critical to their companies. But in 2000, few considered Internet telephony ready for enterprisewide deployment.

Caddell decided to push ahead—even though he realized it would mean dealing with some irritating growing pains—because the firm wanted to standardize on a single phone system to replace nine different older ones. The technology has matured in the interim, he says, with Cisco mostly resolving echoes and other nettlesome glitches. The go-slow approach to the rollout, he notes, helped address technical issues as they came up at each office.

"You need to take some risks," Caddell says, "but you don't want to be risky."


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