1. Why do so many in-house applications never get finished?
2. Discuss pros and of using automated testing tools. Provide some examples of automated testing tools.
"1. Why do so many in-house applications never get finished? "
An article "Why Do Large IT Projects Fail?" by Alan C. Earnshaw found at  addresses this question.
Here are excerpts from this article.
"Why do big companies still fail in their use of information technology?"
- Poor Definition of Project Scope.
Solution: Create a detailed project specification, and insist that the managers of all the groups or departments that will use the project review the plan and sign off on it before you begin work.
- Lack of Input from End Users
Solution: Involve a good mix of the intended end users (for example, users with basic computer skills as well as users with advanced computer skills) in every facet of the plan, including developing the specifications, reviewing prototypes, and testing the software before roll out.
- Lack of Upper Management Commitment
Solution: Make sure your project has a "champion" in upper management ranks. This champion is one who sees the need for the project, has at least a minimal understanding of the technology involved in the project, and is convinced of the value of the project to the organization. (Helpful hint: If you cannot find anyone in upper management who is willing to champion the project, you may want to take a closer look at it and see if it really will bring significant benefits to your organization.)
- Technical Decisions Made by the Wrong People
Solution: Take the time to educate upper management about new technologies, especially when asked to implement one or more of them. Evaluate the technology and report ...