Digital transformation can be an immense undertaking for businesses. Unfortunately, many initiatives fail: Forbes reports that 84% don’t generate any real business value.
Digital transformation may be undertaken for various reasons, including upgrading systems or adopting new technology; adapting processes to an emerging organizational structure; or adapting processes for greater efficiencies. Before embarking on such an endeavor, companies should establish clear goals before beginning this process.
Lack of expertise
Digital transformation is a complex endeavor that requires experience to complete successfully. Additionally, it’s vitally important to measure progress regularly so as to identify any issues before they escalate further.
One common reason for digital transformation failure is a lack of expertise. Too many organizations don’t have employees with the skills and knowledge needed for successful transformation projects, leading to delays in the introduction of new systems and processes.
Lack of expertise can create misalignment between project scope and business objectives. Without clearly outlining which metrics define success, companies often release new technology without properly outlining success metrics; this leads to lengthy and more expensive projects than expected. Before investing in digital transformation software solutions, it is vitally important that you clearly outline its scope so as to avoid spending unnecessary funds on unnecessary features or making costly errors that halt implementation efforts altogether.
Lack of planning
Digital transformation requires significant investments of time, money, and resources; therefore, businesses must carefully plan their initiatives before beginning them to prevent delays that could negatively affect operations and customer service. Failing to plan in this way could result in project hiccups which negatively affect company operations and customer experience.
Failing to plan can also result in the misdirection of digital transformation initiatives and their lack of clear metrics for measuring success, often leading to overly expansive projects which cost far too much and fail to generate returns on investment.
Revlon’s ERP system issues caused it to file its annual financial report late, while Hershey’s SAP implementation resulted in supply chain problems and lost retail sales during 2018. Both examples highlight companies that failed to plan their digital transformation initiatives adequately; failing to take into account impacts on existing processes, budgets and key factors as well as lacking an executive vision or adequate expertise for digital transformation initiatives.
Lack of resources
Digital transformation is a long-term journey, so it is vital that sufficient resources be put in place to support it – this includes funding and business acumen – as well as making sure all teams participate in its implementation.
As part of your digital transformation effort, it’s also crucial that you clearly establish its goals and how they fit within your company’s strategic vision. Too often companies implement technology without setting clear goals or metrics for measuring its success – leading to potential failure.
Digital transformation projects frequently fail due to lack of resources. Many organizations struggle to hire talent suitable for managing digital transformation initiatives; IT staffers may face particular difficulty as digital transformation projects often necessitate learning new sets of skills.
Not only must organizations find talented workers for digital transformation projects, they must also provide appropriate training and support through platforms like Whatfix that provide in-app training for employees or end users.
Lack of communication
No matter whether it is to transform your business or implement new software, it is imperative that the leadership team supports and understands the benefits of any project undertaken. Without their backing and understanding of benefits, any endeavor will struggle to gain momentum and secure resources. Furthermore, business needs should be clearly communicated to tech teams so there are no miscommunications or confusion during implementation.
Experts agree that leaders need to get involved and help make some tough decisions, while being aware of any risks or challenges related to digital transformation projects.
Investment in digital transformation initiatives is critical to business leaders looking to remain competitive, yet their failure can have serious repercussions for both themselves and their teams. By understanding the leading causes of digital transformation failure, business leaders can take measures to prevent costly errors while making sure their efforts succeed.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.