Planning a legacy replacement? Don't forget this advice from two CIOs who are now in the process.* Gain true executive commitment. "And I mean the words 'true' and 'commitment,'" says Chris Steward, CIO of Arbella Insurance Group, Quincy, Mass. Massive replacement projects are lengthy and costly, and there will be bumps in the road, he says. "You'll need business executive backing to get over those bumps."
* Enlist a good project manager. Bill Jenkins, CIO and vice president of information systems at Penn National Insurance Group, says he uses two project managers: one external and one internal. The external manager makes sure the project meets its specifications and time schedule, while the internal manager makes sure the right people are on the team, reports on progress and navigates the political waters.
* Deliver meaningful functionality in "chunks." Make each chunk build incrementally toward the overall end solution, says Arbella's Steward. "It's probably slightly more costly to do it this way, but it builds confidence and lowers overall risk."
* Don't farm out management of any major piece of the project. "This is your company's future," says Steward. "People who have the best interests of your company at heart need to manage it."
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