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Reduce Your Risk of a Runaway “Black Swan” IT Project

Black Swan IT ProjectsLeaders of large-scale projects may already be familiar with the looming concept of a “Black Swan”, and the enormous risks it poses to a company’s vitality and existence. The Harvard Business Review wrote on the subject, defining it as a project that goes 200% or more over budget and 70% over time. There are a variety of reasons why a project, big or small, can mutate into a Black Swan, and conversely a variety of ways it can be prevented. One fairly unexplored way to fend off the Black Swan during an IT overhaul or update project is to create a strategy for getting your old equipment out of your offices without losing money, and oftentimes recouping money, in the process.

Origins and Definition of a Black Swan

The Black Swan term was coined in 2004 by a U. Mass professor named Nassim Nicholas Taleb. According to Taleb, it has three simple yet destructive qualities: it is hard to predict, highly consequential, and, almost paradoxically, retrospectively predictable.

More specifically, the term describes projects that have become so out-of-control that they threaten the very existence of the company. There have been many big name companies and entities that have experienced this phenomenon, including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Levi Strauss, and even the City of Boston.

In all, 1 out of every 6 large-scale projects are said to be Black Swans, causing cost overruns of 200% or more and taking 70% more time than originally planned. However, Black Swans can ravage even small IT projects that aren’t protected by proper budgeting, the right personnel, or a contingency plan.

Cash from Asset Recovery Can Aid Your IT Project

Hemorrhaging cash is one of the many reasons why IT projects go down, sometimes taking the entire company with them. All companies, large or small, are faced with a logistical and inventory problem when switching out old IT equipment with new equipment. Afterall, the goal from the beginning was simply to procure and install the new equipment and make sure everything was up-and-running with as smooth of a transition as possible.

Addressing old or excess IT inventory at the beginning of your project can be the difference between a huge success and a Black Swan. We know you’re excited to get your brand-new servers into the server room, but don’t let that excitement blind you from the fact that your old servers won’t evaporate from their respective positions seconds prior to rolling in the new hardware.

Include IT Asset Recovery in the Planning Stages

During the planning phase of your project, assign an employee to capture what IT gear you plan on getting rid of by writing down detailed and descriptive information. Some IT Remarketing companies will provide you with a template to record this information about your old equipment. Once captured, you can email the data to any company like IT Liquidators that offers free equipment valuation. If the company is in your area and sees value in the equipment, they will usually offer free pickup of your equipment and will put cash in your hand.

The process of liquidating your old IT equipment has four major benefits for your IT projects: 1. It allows you to increase your project’s budget or remain within the original budget; 2. It creates more space in your office; 3. It keeps your old assets out of waste facilities; and 4. It extends the useful life of the technology, thereby improving the environmental stewardship of your company.

Even if your project doesn’t have the potential of becoming a Black Swan, it is still statistically likely that it will go 45% over budget and 7% over time if it is a large IT project. By making the most of your old IT assets and planning ahead, your project can be a positive statistical anomaly that other companies will model their projects after.

IT Liquidators is an IT remarketing company that purchases your old or excess IT equipment. Click here to get a free valuation of your equipment. 

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