I was fortunate to work in the United Kingdom when over twelve billion pounds were being invested in the National Programme for IT, an ambitious project to improve the national health service. For many, it was a dream come true, since there were investments being made in technology, infrastructure, training, and staffing. It was also a blessing to be involved in some aspects of this grand modernisation effort. Sizeable and expensive items were acquired, complex solutions were envisaged, and older legacy systems were replaced. The dream of doing more, with the huge influx of money, people and resources seemed so close.
Unfortunately, there were problems, issues, scandals, uproar, and eventually a change of government and direction. That project, meant to improve health care delivery and health outcomes, was declared a failure, and was terminated. Many elements, in my humble opinion (since I was involved), worked very well and remain. Despite the significant sums involved, expectations were not realised. With a large investment, one would expect large improvements.
Compared to Saint Lucia, where we are not usually known for such sizable investment in infrastructure, expectations still feature highly in our assessment of progress. If somehow, using smaller funds, you are able to do more than was initially expected, then would it not be reasonable to expect greater success with larger funds? Would you agree that more should be expected as output, if there is a greater level of input? Especially since larger investments can afford some significant benefits, such as:
* Economies of scale, where your money stretches further;
* Synergies, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
You may recognise that some changes should be implemented swiftly because the longer they take, the more effort is expended to keep them running before being finished. This raises an important question. When is it right to apply change in a small, piecemeal fashion instead of massive, big-bang changes? The inevitable comparison will be made between the outputs one expects from these two types of activities. When you think about the changes that you would like to see, it might be useful to ask yourself a relevant question. What more do you want? Doing that should help identify the level of expectation that you should expect.
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About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.