Speaker Author Trainer Professor

The Next Wave of Technologies

Opportunities in Chaos

“Simon’s framework is clear and his examples are compelling. This book a manifesto for success.”

–Michael Krigsman, ZDNet Blogger on IT Project Failures

About the Book ℹ️

Publication date: February 23, 2010. (Note that I originally self-published the first version of this book in February of 2009. I subsequently sold the rights to a proper publisher and penned the revised edition.)

Publisher: Cengage

A Fortune 500 manufacturing company spends millions attempting to implement a new enterprise resource planning system. Across the globe, a marketing firm with only 150 employees builds a proprietary customer relationship management application and fails miserably in deploying it.

These two very different companies did two very different things, but their outcomes were virtually identical. Both organizations failed to activate and use their systems as initially conceived by senior management. In the process, each organization struggled to recover.

And these two organizations are hardly alone. On the contrary, many studies have confirmed that more than three in five new system implementations fail. Many miss their deadlines. Others exceed their initial budgets, often by ghastly amounts. Even systems deployed on time and under budget often fail to produce their expected results. Many experience major problems almost immediately.

While the statistics are grim, there is at least some good news:

Organizations can avoid these failures.

Organizations often lack the necessary framework to minimize the chance of system failure before, during, and after system implementations. Why New Systems Fail provides such a framework with specific tools, tips, and insight from the perspective of a seasoned, independent consultant with more than a decade of related experience.

That’s me.

The book examines in great detail the root causes of IT project failures. It includes a panoply of case studies, examples, and lessons from actual system implementations.

Afraid of IT Jargon?

Don’t be. The book’s style is informative, straightforward, and very readable. More than a theoretical or technical text, Why New Systems Fail offers pragmatic advice for organizations both deploying new systems and maintaining existing ones.

Interesting Tidbits about the Book

After nearly a decade of working on large-scale IT projects, I had reached a professional crossroads. I had kept repeating the same exercise: organizational politics, thorny data issues, technophobes, toxic cultures, and questionable practices by software vendors and consultancies. The end result: expensive and frustrating system failures.

If I didn’t write this book, I would have needed to see a shrink.


I wrote about what I knew. It’s pretty common for a non-fiction writer to do this. I had seen so many IT projects blow up, why not write a jargon-free book about them? So I did.

wnsfPublished in February of 2009, the book didn’t do particularly well until mid-July of that year. A Slashdot review catapulted it to number 91 on Amazon. I nearly broke my finger hitting the F5 key on my browser, watching that number break the top 100 books. As Bill Murray said in Groundhog Day, “That was a pretty good day.” (Back then, I wasn’t a Mac guy.)

The original subtitle was “Theory and Practice Collide.” In hindsight, this was great imagery, but not too SEO-friendly. The original cover is on the right.


What’s the book about in 82 seconds? Watch below to find out.



“Projects are multi-dimensional. They’re technical, political, financial, personal, emotional, logistical and more. Great project leaders anticipate these dimensions before the project begins. Read Phil’s book to recognize the pitfalls and minimize the impact of them on your organization and your career. You can’t work the plan until you’ve really planned the work.”

–Brian Sommer, founder of TechVentive and Vital Analysis.

“A good read and as insightful as any I have read about enterprise software project management and the obstacles to success.”

–David F. Carr, independent journalist and former writer for Baseline Magazine

“This book offers practical advice on why IT projects run late, over-budget, or do not achieve planned results. The framework is clear and the examples compelling, making this book a manifesto for success.”

–Michael Krigsman, ZDNet Blogger on IT Project Failures

“Simon’s book should be required reading for all CIOs, IT project managers, and involved business managers prior to starting any such enterprise project. It’s clear that Simon knows exactly what he’s talking about and knows where all the bodies are buried.”

–Bruce Webster, Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates

The Next Wave of Technologies: Opportunities in Chaos

“Anyone in technology today should get and read this book.”

—David Siegel, author of Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web


Ex chaos facultas.

—Latin, ‘From chaos comes opportunity.’

Publication date: January 22, 2010
Publisher: Wiley

At a high level, my second book delves into Enterprise 2.0 and all of its components. It aims to help people and organizations understand new technologies and their potential impact–and ultimately take advantage of them.

The Next Wave of Technologies endeavors to prevent organizations from making the same IT management mistakes they’ve made over the last 25 years. The book provides a practical focus. Each chapter addresses questions such as:

  • How to determine if an organization is ready for a specific technology
  • How to get ready for it
  • How to measure success
  • How to identify key risks and red flags

Topics include cloud computing, SaaS, business intelligence, open source software, enterprise search and retrieval, service-oriented architecture, master data management, and others.

Aside from the ten chapters that I wrote, the book features contributions from a number of prominent industry thought leaders.

Interesting Tidbits about the Book

After Why New Systems Fail, the writing bug hit me–hard. What’s more, traditional publishers were very interested in what I had to write and say. I had a number of offers for this book.

Initially, the title and subtitle were reversed. Also, the book was published two weeks after the second edition of Why New Systems Fail hit the shelves, leaving many people to ask me if I was some type of writing cyborg.

What’s the book about in 76 seconds? Watch below to find out.

“The convergence of inexpensive hardware and bandwidth, the acceptance of open source solutions, and global software delivery have unleashed a torrent of innovations which are changing basic assumptions we make about enterprise technology. The Next Wave of Technologies provides a superbly curated survey of the most important areas of progressive IT thinking. It’s a valuable resource for both business and technology executives alike.”

—John L. Funge, Founder Pickle.com (acquired by Scripps Networks), Founder Clara Vista (acquired by CMGI)

“Do you ever wish you had a singular guidebook to make sense of the endless claims about the “latest and greatest” technologies constantly bombarding us? In The Next Wave of Technologies Phil Simon has crafted a valuable compendium of sage technology advice from experts in a diverse array of fields: SOA, MDM, agile, SaaS, mobile computing, social media, cloud computing, open source, and others. With concise chapters that are easy to digest, this great book is essential for helping IT and business leaders make sense of the latest advances in technologies. It’ll help you chart a course for the future. Don’t leave home without it! ”

—Martin Moseley, CTO, Initiate Systems

“An especially readable examination of how emerging technologies can and will enable success in the Information Age. Simon delivers on his promise of providing practical guidance for business and IT management. Written for executives and managers by a team of hands-on subject matter experts, the book shows how to use–and optimize–emerging technologies with outstanding governance, project management, enterprise architecture, systems development, and leadership.”

–Leon A. Kappelman, Ph.D., Professor of IS & Director Emeritus of the IS Research Center, College of Business, University of North Texas

“Phil Simon and his team of experts have codified their collective insights, which serve as an invaluable guide for both business and technology professionals. Simon not only develops a holistic understanding of emerging technologies, but also navigates the new trails they are blazing ahead of us. The Next Wave of Technologies is required reading if you wish to avoid common mistakes and realize the full potential of new technologies—especially before your competitors do.”

—Jim Harris, Independent consultant, speaker, writer, and Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality

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