Since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic last year, companies of all shapes and sizes have embarked on digital transformation journeys to meet shifting consumer demands and new digital expectations.
However, while a few firms have been able to win big from their new digital initiatives, most have been left frustrated and disappointed with their results. The problems lead many C-suite execs to abandon their digital transformation efforts altogether. A staggering 78% of enterprises fail to scale and sustain their digital transformation initiatives as they struggle to derive value from their new business models.
What is digital transformation?
To put it simply, digital transformation is the process of integrating digital technology into an organization to establish new business processes or improve existing ones.
Successful strategies should profoundly alter how a business runs or provides value to its customers, thanks to opening new digital channels of communications and customer engagement and using technological resources to help improve internal business processes.
According to Statista, direct investments into digital transformation projects are expected to reach a total of 7.8 trillion U.S. dollars between 2020-2024. Yet, when you consider that almost 80% of these projects are likely to fail, that’s a lot of wasted investments that could be put to better use.
With that said, let’s take a look at three reasons why enterprise digital transformations are failing.
Lack of strategic outlook concerning goals, objectives, and digital capabilities
“Begin with the end in mind.” – Steven Covey.
Believe it or not, even the biggest companies in the world make the mistake of embarking on digital transformation journeys without any accurate understanding of where the journey will take them.
Unfortunately, this lack of strategic outlook and planning causes many new digital changes to be sporadic and chaotic rather than well-thought-out and carefully optimized to deliver the most value to the business and the consumer.
Before starting your digital transformation process, it is essential to know and understand the business objectives, the implementation process, and the strategies required to achieve your goals. You must also understand where and how business or customer value will be improved or maintained when replacing traditional models with digital ones.
Replacing your models creates an environment where you can fine-tune your strategy as you move forward and react and adapt to challenges to meet your objectives and digital goals. Failing to do this will almost always lead to delays, inefficiencies, and ultimately, exhaustion of resources.
Not prioritizing organizational culture
Another common reason digital transformation projects fail is a lack of ownership of the new strategies from employees and management. In many cases, there is often a disconnect between employees and internal teams and the responsibility/accountability of the success of these projects.
After all, digital transformation is about more than just technology. For companies to extract maximum value from their new initiatives, they must have a workforce in place that is dedicated to supporting them and willing to make changes to the way they carry out their roles.
However, this isn’t to say that enterprises must fire and eliminate employees who cannot adopt these technologies or do not have the adequate skill set right away. For starters, it is unfeasible to recruit new staff whenever your company goes through organizational changes. Secondly, you will find much more benefit in training your existing staff and making the most out of your current human resources.
Employees should also see the benefits of digital transformation and how it will benefit them, the firm, or the customers. Any organizational change requires transparency, especially when it comes to the adoption of new technologies and culture. Making employees feel more involved encourages them to provide feedback that will aid in the organization’s transformation.
Not understanding customer needs
Carrying on from the first point without a clear vision, digitizing your products, services, and business processes do not provide any inherent value. This is why it is essential to focus on what your digital transformation journey is trying to achieve and who will benefit from it.
Unfortunately, many enterprises go through significant technology changes to scale or develop new capabilities, which result in them spreading themselves too thin. This causes them to utilize vast amounts of resources towards IT implementations, up to a point where their time, capital, and human resources become exhausted.
The truth is that there is no actual use in digitizing your operations just for the sake of it. Instead, you should start with your customers and try to figure out what digital strategies you can put in place to better serve their needs and improve the level of value you generate for them.
This could be as simple as opening up new digital engagement channels, such as social media, a website, a podcast, or a live webchat. Or it could be something more sophisticated such as developing a new digital product or service.
Ask your customers what future changes they want from the service or product offered by your company and try to gauge which features of your product or service are not worth retaining and which ones could be improved with digital technology.
At its heart, digital transformation is all about finding new ways to serve your customers better. These days customer expectations are shifting faster than ever before, which is why enterprises must utilize the resources and digital technologies available to them to meet these new demands.
With that said, companies must ensure they avoid making these three common mistakes if they have any chance of their digital transformation success.
Image Credit: Provided by the author; Thank you!