You’re failing in your digital transformation, get back on track, NOW!

You’re failing in your digital transformation, get back on track, NOW !

When GE embarked on an ambitious attempt to digitally transform its product and service offerings, little did they know that few would recognize its transformation – ultimately resulting in failure. GE is not alone ; Lego has stopped funding its Digital Designer virtual construction program. Nike reduced the size of its digital unit by abandoning its Nike+ Fuelband activity tracker and other investments. Procter & Gambleaspired to become ” the most digital company on the planet “, but found it difficult to grow in a difficult economy.

What can we make of these cases of postponed or cancelled digital dreams ?

How did these smart, experienced companies make decisions that failed ? In fact, this is the most pressing question on my mind, why do 84 % of companies fail at digital transformation ?

Reasons for the descent

Unfortunately, the pressure on organizations to update their operations has led to companies rushing to integrate the latest technologies without fully understanding how they will improve their day-to-day operations. Digital transformation has peaked as the need of the moment, as not only large organizations, but smaller ones too, adopt technology at a rapid pace. But are companies considering the full scope of what’s needed to successfully transform a corporate organization ? Perhaps not.

A study by McKinsey & Company shows that major investments in the latest technologies can be perceived within the company as having a negative impact on the business. Some people even think that digital efforts are destroying the company’s existing products. Oops !

Of course, spending a lot of money on a major new initiative can turn an organization upside down. But implementing the latest technologies isn’t usually the point of failure – it’s slightly different from that.

Many digital transformations fail because people don’t understand why the organization needs to change in the first place. In recent years, this digital development has become synonymous with the adoption of the latest technologies. The term itself offers little information to CIOs and other decision-makers as they define an organization’s technology agenda. On the other hand, the same technologies come up again and again : artificial intelligence, cloud services, big data, analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Another reason why digital transformations fail is that the effort isn’t focused on the consumer, and the team doesn’t have a focal point to plan, monitor and measure them. But I understand that there is a deeper cause : complexity – an often overlooked killer when it comes to progress in digital transformation. Complexity is perhaps more of a root cause than any cultural and management challenges when it comes to the grand ambitions of digital transformation.

Organization leaders start investing in IT too late, because they want to adopt what their competitors are incorporating, without understanding whether that particular technology will contribute to the company’s productivity. Since they’re behind the curve, they’re expected to rush into the organization’s digital transformation. As a result, they want to eat the whole pizza in one bite.Instead of analyzing whether they have resources that can help them with the project, they rush into the project with incompetent resources, resulting in failure.

How do you get back on track ?

I believe this is the question all experts need to answer to help those drowning in the ocean of digital transformation. But there’s rarely an answer. Let me outline a few points that will be useful in making digital transformations easier and effortless for you and your business.

There are ways to make your IT initiatives a success without having to fail or failures. Remember, don’t rush these digital transformations – eat pizza one bite at a time !!! – Let them come into play one at a time, with appropriate training implemented for staff to understand how to adopt these reforms flawlessly.

For real success in your digital transformation project. Leaders need to plan which technologies they want to adopt and which will contribute to an organization’s success, then slowly build the transformation one at a time, then implement it into the organizational workflow. Once the project is up and running, all you have to do is monitor the project to see if it’s producing the expected result.

Don’t forget to put together a team with the skills needed to make your digital transformation a successful project. Don’t worry if you’re late getting started on your project. Never put all your eggs in one basket ! Instead, take one step at a time to fully understand the project, implement it accurately, see the progress, then take the next step towards the path of complete digital transformation.

Your IT initiatives need to be aligned with your business objectives – this may sound simple, but most companies don’t understand it (I’ll cover this topic in detail in future blog posts) – or as a leader, you need to understand what the business requirements are, and how to incorporate the best technology that can take the business to new heights. !

Looking to the future !

You will find it difficult to adopt a changeBut don’t forget that without this forward-thinking mindset, any organization will struggle to achieve real change. Perhaps a transformation based on new technologies is the answer. But maybe it isn’t. You may need to invest in data to better understand your customers’ needs. Or maybe your customer needs you to offer the product differently.

The fact is, digital transformations often fail because the scope of what it takes to deliver better customer experiences is usually much broader than adopting the latest technology – you need to look at all angles of the customer journey regarding your product/service. 

For many companies, the failure rates and daunting efforts associated with digital transformations can lead them to question whether it’s worth the effort.

The simple answer is : of course it is.