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3 Signs Your Digital Transformation Project is Set Up for Failure

Updated: Mar 27, 2022

According to a study from the global consulting management firm BCG, less than one in three digital transformations succeed in achieving their goals. While organisations may want to adopt new technologies and drive transformational changes in the way they operate to create safer working environments, reduce carbon emissions, and improve efficiencies, executing a digital strategy can be quite challenging.

"Furthermore, many internal stakeholders don't really have a clear understanding of what it means for a business to "go online" - resulting in the term becoming useless in many organisations."

Here are the biggest signs that your digital transformation project is set up for failure.

1. Your task team isn't promoting a culture of change across the entire organisation

Successful digital transformations depend largely on the engagement and buy-in of every function of every department of an organisation. Therefore, your team won't likely be successful if your company just designates a special team in charge of innovation and digitalisation, and then tells the rest of the company not to bother with innovating and digitalising because that's "what the innovation team does."

"That's why your company should deploy digital transformation teams that are tasked with creating a culture of change across the enterprise - like promoting agility, the adoption of new ideas, and embracing disruptive business practices and technologies at every level."

2. Your team focuses on implementing new technologies rather than re-imagining the way your company does business

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that innovation or digital transformation is about being at the cutting edge of the latest and greatest technologies. However, the focus of most successful innovation teams really begins and ends with the companies' customers, not it's technology.

"For example, focusing on implementing new technology is a lot like implementing a solution without having a clear problem in mind. It just doesn't work."

There are always three things at the core of every successful digitalisation initiative:

• People

• Processes

• Technology

Your team should identify opportunities to elevate people and processes in your organisation to the next level so that you can figure out how to deliver additional value to your customers by leveraging new technology, which will fuel digital initiatives with a greater sense of purpose that directly aligns with your company's priorities.

3. Your team is trying to transform the entire company all at once instead of in steps

Finally, most firms that are considering innovation or digitalisation are typically part of large organisations with lots of moving parts - countless functions, multiple teams, and numerous stakeholders. Many of these businesses are seeking major changes across the entire organisation "overnight" by using a top-down (mandated) approach that puts the innovation team's transformation efforts at significant risk or failure.

"In other words, they try to move too fast too soon without the full support of the entire organisation - instead of promoting a culture of innovation from the bottom up that's more organic and inclusive."

Since change is hard, digital transformation teams can experience a lot of resistance from executives, mid-level managers, and front-line supervisors in many organisations. Therefore, by breaking down innovation and digital transformation initiatives into smaller bite-sized pieces, teams can actually see far more success.

In short, innovations and digital transformations are about more than implementing the latest and greatest technologies. Instead, they are really about re-inventing the way your company does business by finding new ways to create value for customers. Basically, they are a way to keep your business relevant and competitive in the face of fierce competition and disruptions.

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