During the implementation process, the flaws in the previous two steps clearly manifest themselves. Time and cost overruns are frequent. Few, if any, projects deliver on time precisely what they set out to deliver. Frequently, companies lose control of the implementation process from the beginning by relying far too much on the implementation partners. Another common complaint from users is the insufficiency of training. Frequently, due to budget overruns towards the end of the process, training is cut short. All this minimizes the benefits of the new system. By the time the systems implementation process is underway, most people have lost sight of whatever strategic objectives existed in the first place. Goal posts are changed mid-way through the process by this inability to see the final outcomes clearly. A ‘big bang’ approach to change is another key mistake, where enough pilots and testing are not undertaken. This was a common problem earlier, but is still encountered sometimes where companies take on too much change without enough testing. Similarly, not enough understanding and usage of change management principles is also a major mistake. Despite all the focus on change management over the past decade, critical steps are often missed in the change management process. Stakeholders are not adequately covered, top management is not fully involved in the process, and incentives are not properly aligned for all the stakeholders. Because of insistence on flashy features during the systems selection process, and due to inadequate training, companies frequently end up using only a very small percentage of all the functionality that is paid for. It is also common to pay significant sums for customizing the systems with functionality that is later found to be redundant or unusable. Despite the fact that one of the main reasons for IT systems upgrade or deployment is the lack of data accuracy and completeness, frequently it is discovered after the completion of the project that the original problem remains. There are many reasons for this – mainly encountered in the first two steps. After the initial systems deployment, further upgrades are frequently left up to the mercy of the vendor. A streamlined process is rarely deployed to assess each upgrade for its suitability to the business strategy. Because of the lack of skills and a rigorous process in the first three steps, it is rarely possible to isolate root causes or most of the problems encountered during the journey. The systems companies and the implementers are rarely held accountable for their respective roles in accentuating the chaos. Inadequate feedback results in problems manifesting themselves over and over until a sufficient body of disgruntled customers builds up, who gradually air the problem in vague terms. Lacking in timely and accurate feedback, improvement is only gradual and sporadic. This is where the benefits from the previous three steps are expected to manifest themselves and make it all worthwhile to have made the effort. We frequently find that because of all the other critical errors made during the previous three steps, companies sub-optimize the usability of the system quite dramatically and fail to gain the expected jump in productivity or competitive advantage or enhanced effectiveness in their supply chains. I make no apologies for taking the time and making the effort to clearly articulate the problems with the information technologies systems that fail in supporting the business networks. No business network can truly be great (in both its effectiveness and efficiency) unless it is underpinned by a robust and functional information technology system. So what does a functional information technology system look like? What would support a business network of the future? This is the key question we address.. Let us see how the business networks have evolved in the past few decades, and how the functional information technology systems have evolved in line with the evolution of the business networks. To help boost your business' profile on the internet, why not list in a business directory today?