Why do Digital Transformation projects fail | Stories

Why are so many organisations failing with Digital Transformation

According to Forbes, a staggering 70% of digital transformation projects are failing. There are two fundamental factors that determine whether an organisations is going to be successful in their quest for digital transformation, their ability to define a clear vision and establish the necessary buy-in for transformation, and their ability to drive and execute on this vision.

Establishing A Clear Vision

As with most trends different people have different definitions of what Digital Transformation means for them. Surprisingly, many companies actively engaged in Digital Transformation initiatives don’t have a coherent definition for it – they can describe the outcomes they are hoping to achieve and the activities they are involved in but articulating a clear and unambiguous vision for what Digital Transformation is across the organisation has not been established. Why is this important? Well, digital transformation as we will see has the potential to positively or negatively impact the entire organisation depending on how well it is executed so a clearly published and well understood definition for it can be extremely useful in helping everyone in the company get behind it.

One definition of Digital Transformation provided by Gartner is this: “Digital Business Transformation is the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to define a robust new digital business model.” Whilst this may be accurate it’s not particularly helpful in clarifying things.

At HighPoint we prefer to define digital transformation simply as the process through which an organisation creates agility within their business or, in other words how they become an “Agile Enterprise”

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Based on our experience of many digital transformation programmes we have developed an Enterprise Agility Assessment. Through a short set of questions that you answer, the assessment will plot your organisations across the four key axis of digital maturity and provide key indicators of your strengths and weaknesses in terms of your ability to define a clear digital strategy and your ability to execute this.

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So what is an Agile Enterprise? – an Agile Enterprise is one that has enabled and empowered its people to collaborate seamlessly with talent both internally and externally, to continuously innovate and bring new products and services to market quickly both in response to and to drive changes in customer preferences.

From this we can extract four key characteristics that are present in an Agile Enterprise:-

  • Collaborates Seamlessly
  • Continuously Innovates
  • Executes rapid go to market
  • Drives customer preferences

Establishing A Clear Vision

Why has this become so important all of a sudden and what is driving this urgency around digital transformation? To answer that question we need to consider a fundamental change that to a large extent has already taken place in the nature of the relationship many of you have with your customers.

Traditionally customers would interact with your people in order to do business with you which allowed you to gain immediate feedback on the experience the customer was receiving and critically, it allowed you the opportunity to react quickly to put things right if the customer was dissatisfied about any aspect of the engagement. In today’s environment, your customers are 80% more likely to interact with your business digitally, be that your Apps or your e-Commerce platforms. This provides great opportunities to cost-effectively scale your business however it comes at the expense of visibility into the customer experience and more importantly, the ability to control the customer experience and ensure a high degree of customer satisfaction. Don’t be fooled – customer experience is still paramount in the digital world but when the customer interaction is done largely through a technical interface, how do you know that the experience your customers are receiving is a good one?

And that is only one side of the coin. Customers are much more demanding in the digital world and expect their experience to be constantly enriched with new features and personalised offers that differentiate your brand. Customer loyalty is only as good as the last experience and this, coupled with the increasingly lower technology barriers to entry into your markets and the freedom and speed with which new entrants can bring alternatives within the reach of your customer base mean that the risk of disruption is very real regardless of your industry.

The Ability To Digitally Transform

Whilst IT will play a key part in creating the environment for each of the Agile Enterprise characteristics defined above, it will be clear to anyone reading this and thinking about their own business that these characteristics represent as much a cultural shift in the organisation as a technical one – therefore any successful digital transformation initiative must also address the transformation of the organisation as well as the transformation of the technology environment.

Your success in becoming an Agile Enterprise is dependent on your ability to create and execute a holistic transformation programme that encompasses people, processes and technology. Being able to establish buy-in for the vision and ensuring that everyone clearly understands the role that they play in the transformation. It is not just about improving how processes are executed today but reimagining what new processes can be utilised tomorrow and it is about creating an agile technology infrastructure that will enable this to happen.

Accelerating the adoption of new technologies that create agility is key. Application development needs to embrace the modern approach of microservices, API’s and containers, and infrastructure has to be centred around a secure software-defined environment. Both of these will require developing new skills and strong partnerships that enable you to quickly and smoothly transition.

Enterprise Agility Assessment

Based on our experience of many digital transformation programmes with large multi-national organisations we have developed an Enterprise Agility Assessment which maps out the key attributes that we have seen significantly contribute to digital success.

Through a short set of questions that you answer, the assessment will plot your organisations across the four key axis of digital maturity and provide key indicators of your strengths and weaknesses in terms of your ability to define a clear digital strategy and your ability to execute this.

We encourage you to spend the three minutes it normally takes to complete the assessment and we will provide you with a full breakdown of your results along with recommendations on how you leverage your strengths and address your weaknesses on your way to becoming an Agile Enterprise.

You can find out more about our Enterprise Agility Assessment here.

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