How to Avoid Digital Transformation Failure

by | Feb 12, 2022 | Change enablement, Digital transformation

This is article one of a 2-part series about digital transformation. In the first article we look into the common reasons of digital transformation projects failure.

In lieu of the changes COVID-19 created economically, companies have to reconsider their approach to organisation and leadership. How does a company adapt to marketplace changes and at the same time, consider a radical shift in the workplace? Technology is the frontier of enterprise today, therefore, business leaders need to look towards improving functionality through digital transformation. Finding solutions is possible but you need to know what to change. Your company could make or break if a strategy isn’t in place. 

More than 70% of Digital Transformation Projects Fail

Change is not easy. However, in order to survive, you need to adapt to ever-fluctuating conditions. Society restructured unexpectedly due to the pandemic, beckoning business leaders to take quick action. Most companies are rebranding through adoption of digital technologies in order to meet demands from consumers and to scale their infrastructure within market volatility. However, before such a move is discussed, leaders need a new change management plan. If your company does not take a look at current infrastructure to see which services should be optimized, it will likely fail.

Most companies would not suffer if they took the time and energy to fully apprehend what digital transformation means internally and externally. The lack of knowledge leads to haphazards. Preparation needs to be prioritized.

If there is no clear communication between you and your teams, it will go nowhere. Given the fact everyone must be aware of the procedures affecting new working conditions, careful strategic planning is a must. Precisely, it is the nature of how we work together that is contingent upon success or failure once a plan is clear.

Being Human, a tool often overlooked

Time is something we won’t get back. Outlining and restructuring company initiatives keeping in mind goals, new skills, and the aspiration to succeed, will require that you devote enough oversight to the process itself. However daunting, most companies fail since they jump before knowing what to expect. Perhaps other initiatives are given precedence, neglecting the importance of truly understanding digital transformation before the shift begins. It isn’t the technology per se which causes many SMEs to fail, it’s being human. Most of the time, we are resistant to change. Even if operations are functional, this resistance will keep you from trying new things which could bring better results. 

Moving Workloads, Failing to Test Thoroughly

Whether we wanted to or not, some faced having to work from home or out of the office due to the pandemic. Something enjoyed and disliked, remote work is not for everyone. This relocation affects former logistics, adapting new ways of working, a huge shift for business leaders. The move from office to remote is a big step where some companies suffer. Asynchronous work is quite different, everyone works when they want at different times. Determined deadlines and rigid structuring is not as productive as once thought. However, just because you are using new technological tools or location, it doesn’t ensure compatibility. 

Perhaps, collaborative efforts amongst teams become disrupted due to time zone differences or people truly performed better in the office. The pandemic allowed us time to reassess work habits, adjusting where needed. A massive makeover in workplace infrastructure means business leaders should prepare and thoroughly examine changes in policy beforehand. They need to be tested as well. Onboarding to this new way of working is either hit or miss. A clear thought-out strategy is needed in order to curve the learning process and accommodate performance expectations, creating successful employee adoption.

Customer Support or Customer Breakdown

Aside from a host of internal procedural components, companies need to look out for their consumers too. Their needs and behaviors are in line with changes in technology simultaneously. For example, failure to migrate to other modes of communication either through mobile or website developments could hurt your services. In order to mitigate these concerns, changes need to be user friendly retaining customer longevity and expectation. Digital transformation is technical and human effort together. The changes in adapting to external and internal variables is crucial for successful implementation.

Companies today face a pivotal point and whether or not a move to the cloud is considered, consequences are inevitable. Even though risks can be minimized through careful strategic planning, conviction in digital transformation will be the catalyst. In order to avoid failure as a business leader, you need a clear purpose for how you see your company in the future. 

Solutions to mitigate common pitfalls

Here is a brief overview of actions how to mitigate common pitfalls:

  1. Focus on the human factor, understanding each role everyone plays shaping your company’s future.
  2. Develop a proof of concept in order to assess your ideas’ success and method
  3. Communicate effectively within digital circles or ambassadors to promote smooth user adoption

In the next article, we will take a look at actions to help you minimize foreseeable risks.

About the author:  Priya E. Abraham

Priya E. Abraham is the founder of Cyberconnecting and author of ‘Your Cyberpower. How to Safeguard Your Remote Business’. She is a digital transformation strategist, privacy advisor, and mentor. Priya brings 20+ years of experience in global business across industries, working with established enterprises and start-ups. In addition to holding a PhD in Business Anthropology and an MBA, she is an accredited Data Protection Officer. Priya has lived and worked in Europe, Russia, the U.S. and MENA. Her experience in all things remote is brought to life in her products and services.

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