Cost reduction and project management in digital projects. Why is it not done? Why do we fail?


Project management and the discipline of cost reduction have been around since before the Internet, but when it comes to digital and technology, it is rarely or inappropriately discussed. Why is this? The first big reason is the lack of information on digital mechanics, the second is the great cultural distance (at all scales) between business operators (executives, managers) and technology operators (technicians, suppliers). Finally, there is a lack of professionals who bridge the gap and take responsibility.


It may seem trivial and absurd, but after various discussions with entrepreneurs and executives with whom I happened to deal with this issue, it is easy to see a kind of "invisible barrier" separating the digital e companies.
It is difficult to communicate with each other and we are often led to think and see the digital and technology (IT) sphere as a separate sector, when it is empirically proven that the digital transformation impacts multiple levels and spheres of the organization. We need only think of how these areas of the company have evolved over the last 15/20 years as a result of this transformation process:

  • Strategy and management consulting
  • Communication & branding
  • Marketing & Sales
  • IT, Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Research and Development


According to a 2009 International Data Corporation (IDC) report on improving IT project results, the 25% of Technology projects totally fails. Based on the same report, up to 50% of projects require rework of the designed technology architecture and from 20% to 25% provide no return on investment (ROI).1


Project management or project management is described as one of the main causes of the failure of these technology projects, precisely when this management is relegated exclusively to the IT department of the company.



This general disinterest leads to a distance between the parties, even within the same organization, which in turn leads to dramatic consequences.
When everything works, everything is fine. However, there are cases (even egregious) very noisy. I want to mention three of them in particular (references of each one to deepen at the end of the article)2which impact three very different types of companies: state-owned, corporate and startup: case - €60 million investment for a portal that never really got off the ground was the Digital project of our nation. A portal that was supposed to promote Italian tourism in the world. An investment of over 60 million euros over the years for a web project that was never really born. Image Life in a Byte



Hertz and Accenture case - $ 32 million lawsuit over digital project that never worked

A $32 million lawsuit that Hertz (client) filed against its digital vendor (Accenture) accusing it of delivering a "non-responsive, non-functional, unfinished" product. Techspot image



Startup Case - Known projects never got off the ground with investments of up to $ billion

Cbinsights, in its research "biggest startup failures", which it still updates today, describes the biggest startup failures in the world (with investments of up to a billion dollars per startup). Image GetAutopsy, a community of digital entrepreneurs who share know-how on failures and successes




Some time ago I published this in-depth article in which I promoted the birth of a professional figure: that of the digital/web architect. Disregarding the specific name (it can be called in any other way, such as Innovation manager for example) this figure would perform the role of director, within the corporate organizational chart, between horizontal needs (or business) and vertical (or technology) in the Processes and projects involving digital transformation.

At the level corporate you hear this requirementBecause we are increasingly in the whirlwind of digital transformation (and therefore with increasingly liquid business sectors and less precisely "compartmentalized") it is difficult to find professionals who can translate this transformation into action and act as a link.

Returning to the title of the article, the type of professional contribution within a company (or startup) of this type of figure is obvious and can be helpful in answering these kinds of questions in a concrete way:

  • Is the technology we are adopting really the right one?
  • Is the communication adopted and the costs derived correct?
  • Is the multi-channel digital marketing investment we are making efficient?
  • Is the internal and external team following the project the best?
  • Are we reading the project analytics and KPIs correctly?
  • How is our industry evolving because of digital?


The digital/web architect, because of his hybrid preparation is the perfect figure both in startup environments (where they can effectively express the multifaceted preparation also in a more operational way) and SMEs/Corporates (where they can positively influence from a management/operational point of view the choices on the specific project and play the role of connection between the various business sectors)

If you liked this article, then you'll appreciate Quodigi's support: we provide consulting and advisory services on web strategy and digital transformation. We have developed IO, the web intelligence platform designed for business decision makers. Learn more about what we do to support your company in its digital growth!


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Simone Mastrogiacomo
Simone Mastrogiacomo
Digital native and startupper by nature. After creating my first website well before I came of age, I participated in 50+ digital projects in various industries and scales. I contributed to the achievement of results in terms of audience reached and turnover before during and after my studies at the Polytechnic of Milan, where I graduated in Architecture with the thesis "Digital Architect - Professional perspectives between architecture and web at the time of dematerialization". At the age of 29, together with other young entrepreneurs, I founded Quodigi, a digital consulting company whose goal is to contribute to the development and innovation of the Italian entrepreneurial fabric through the integration of skills.
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