Information Technology System That Couldn't Deliver (HBR Case Study and Commentary)
Diana Sullivan, CEO of Lenox Insurance, thought she had done her job when, after three years of hard work, she had delivered Lifexpress on time and on budget. A sophisticated computer-aided system, it enabled Lenox's 10,000-plus agents to do everything from establish a prospect's financial profile, to select the most appropriate products from the company's myriad policies, to generate all the paperwork needed to close a sale. But now Sullivan's boss, CFO Clay Fontana, seemed to be holding her accountable not only for the creation and implementation of the system but for realizing its business goals as well. And Lenox's CEO, James Bennett, appeared to concur. In this hypothetical case study, Sullivan and the other top executives at Lenox must decide who should be responsible for realizing the business goals of information technology projects. Should Sullivan have gone about the project in another way? Should Fontana and Bennett be playing more active roles? In 97308 and 97308Z, commentators James K. Sims, Thornton May, Richard Nolan, Robert A. Distefano, and John King offer advice on this fictional case study. THIS CASE STUDY INCLUDES BOTH THE CASE AND THE COMMENTARY. FOR TEACHING PURPOSES, THE REPRINT IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN TWO OTHER VERSIONS: CASE STUDY ONLY, REPRINT 97308X, AND COMMENTARY ONLY, REPRINT 97308Z.