Unfortunately, we have all heard about IT projects that have lasted months or sometimes years more than originally projected – overrunning their budget by millions of dollars and delivering questionable results. Many such projects have ended up being canceled before they could be completed; having the CIO cut the company’s losses to begin again another day. What did they not know at the beginning that would have allowed them to better manage resources and expectations?

I am often asked "How can I predict a return on investment (ROI) for my CIO that will justify the cost of a data quality effort?" I find that data quality is easier to speak about to a CIO in terms of project risk and risk mitigation. Business intelligence, data warehousing, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning and enterprise application integration are all highly visible projects critical to the corporation’s success, the CEO’s success and, ultimately, the CIO’s success (and career). Thus, the wise CIO will insist that these strategic projects be implemented in a way that will identify potential risks and their impact at the start of the project so they can be monitored and managed. To that end, most CIOs rely on the project management office to implement a methodology that will not only track the status and changes to a project, but one that will identify potential risks and produce a risk mitigation strategy.

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