The four case studies in this chapter illustrate the extent to which IT and IT consulting have evolved over the last 10 years.
In the mid-1990s, it was the private sector that set the pace. A large-scale IT project might have required hundreds of consultants working with a much smaller team from the client side. Typically, it would have involved the implementation of new software that had to be tailored to meet the specific business needs and had to run on new hardware.
Today's IT challenges - and the pioneers responding to them - are vastly different. Three of the four organizations featured in this chapter are from the public sector; all are setting trends in the way in which they are using established technology for new ends. The scale and complexity of the projects are, if anything, greater. The technology used in London's congestion charging scheme involves cameras and software capable of ‘reading' car registration plates. Drivers can pay their charge either via a network of electronic point-of-sale terminals in stores in and around London, via the Internet or via SMS text messaging. For the UK's Home Office, trying to bring together information on persistent offenders from a variety of independent agencies, complexity lay in the differences between the various organizations with different business processes, even between the ways in which those agencies counted offences. The problem the All England Lawn Tennis Club faced was almost the opposite: not so much getting information in from a wide array of stakeholders, but getting the information required to keep Wimbledon, one of the world's premier sporting occasions, out for spectators, players, television viewers, the press and officials. Every day of the two-week competition 120,000 statistics had to be captured and disseminated. Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Trust depended on supplies of nearly 250,000 stock and a further 48,000 non-stock items. The trust relied upon a largely paper-based system in which each department had its own catalogue, orders took too long to fulfil, could not be tracked, and had to checked and corrected at many stages in the process. In this environment, there appear to be five hallmarks of success.