Digital Transformation

5 Reasons Digital Transformation Efforts Fail

Written by Emily Pipkin

It could be said that Covid-19 has brought the future to our plates. When you consider that it has caused a workplace revolution, with every business forced to scrutinize the practicability and productivity of agile, hybrid workforces.

It has driven the innovation of how we work, with the development and investment into collaborative tools that have facilitated our remote, distributed teams to communicate effectively and share information.

Whilst lockdown has brought a great deal of change in the workplace - and in some case for the better – there is no guarantee that this change will result in better digital transformation success for businesses.

According to McKinsey, '70% of digital transformation efforts fail'. We’ve outlined the top 5 common pitfalls we see and how you avoid them.

1. No Strategic Vision

Surprisingly it is not uncommon for businesses to begin on their digital transformation journey without a proper understanding of where it will lead them. The implemented changes can be often sporadic and disorderly as well as missing a strategic outlook leading to undesired integration challenges. Organisations often fall short when anlalysing how business or customer value will be improved or maintained when they replace legacy models with digital ones. Instead of growth, they run the risk of losing their existing market.

To overcome this, businesses should focus on designing and testing business and customer values prior to implementing them. The successful implementation of change is out of the question without the understanding of organisational context. Customer representatives – actual customers or ‘sponsors’ close to customers should established as part of a transformation to validate its outcomes.

2. Lack of synergy and the rise of silos

Usually due to extremely ambitious deadlines, businesses find themselves committing to moving quicker than they can achieve. Change takes effort and focus and there is still a business to run whilst transforming. This combined with teams that aren’t fully informed on the challenges the whole business is facing leads to a lack of unity from the outset on the factors influencing the transformation. With no consensus, internal silos are created; people return to the comfort of their team and focus on themselves and their existing structure and processes.

Silos play a harmful role in collaborative organisations, generating an environment where sharing and agility is difficult to achieve. It is commonly across the borders of such internal silos that customer focus and value is lost in an organisation. It’s vital that all teams within your organisation share a common understanding and purpose at the beginning of your digital transformation journey.

3. Lack of involvement at both executive and board levels

Ensuring that you and senior leaders have your priorities aligned is essential. Just because you agree to transform the business, doesn’t always mean that you’ll both be on the same page when it comes to budget, KPIs, ROI, desired outcomes and expectations. Stakeholders have their own agendas, so involving them at the earliest opportunity can help avoid a lot of unnecessary headache down the line when you’re forced to reshape the transformation mid-project to satisfy their diverse needs. Be prepared to paint a broader picture of what the new business will look like and to address disconnects and competing priorities.

4. No clear transformation roadmap with clear milestones

One of the biggest failures is skipping the planning stage and jumping straight to rebuilding the business. It’s impossible to do the work right without clear and properly defined criteria and milestones, which can lead to the loss of control over the process and deliverables on all levels. That is why it is vital to have a digital transformation roadmap. Set milestones and understand small tasks required to be done to reach the goal. Keep the stakeholders and employees of the enterprise motivated by highlighting the intermediate results and quick wins. Also, invest in the education of your teams about the changes that are coming with the digital transformation.

The key here is in the design of the road-map to provide these staged developments and focused achievements which together comprise -up to a transformational journey. Often, this not achieved from parallel workstreams but through the interaction of strategic thinking, behavioural changes, new work practices and the adoption of new technology and the data streams they enable.

5. Lack of resources and expertise

Digital Transformation has little chance of succeeding if it is not carried out by a dedicated team. Engaging with an MSP to provide the expertise and resources is favoured as a catalyst for change driven from the IT data workstreams, however within your organisation the process needs to be managed by a dedicated team with the appropriate knowledge and decision-making authority.

A trusted technology partner will conduct an enterprise architecture overview followed by a comprehensive analysis to identify areas of improvement. This extensive and unbiased investigation of the issues within the business grants ability to acquire the current state to then vision and develop the desired state. Without this stage, it is unwise to begin the solution design and implementation.

As we’ve pointed, transforming whilst continuing to deliver the ‘day job’ is a huge ask of an organization and over-ambitious transformations can quickly lead to overwhelm and interpreted as failure. Key to our suggestion of a road-map is a series of tactical but inter-related ‘wins’ comprising of measured but profound changes across the workstreams behaviours, processes or technology that provide achievements and their resulting momentum to continue along the road-map.

Ready to take the next step?

To achieve success, those responsible for managing the digital transformation need to have a mindset where innovation and transformation are continuous. Digital transformation requires a well-planned strategy and businesses need to embrace that successful transformation is a step-by-step and ongoing process. It essential to understand that adopting change takes time and a compelling road-map that encourages progress through integrated behavioural, procedural and technology change, even with the required expertise and resources at hand.

If you’re looking for this trusted partner to advise and design on your digital transformation journey, SysGroup is here to help. Our technology-agnostic approach puts your data and systems in their ideal environment for security, compliance and performance.

We listen to our customers, and help them solve problems and transform with IT - taking their workloads to virtual and cloud hosted environments.

Our team of experienced infrastructure architects and IT consultants have helped businesses of all sizes in just about every sector improve their business continuity and stability through cloud hosting, managed IT services and IT security tools.

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