12 reasons why digital transformation fails in the enterprise

CIO | Mar 22, 2018

Lack of CEO sponsorship, talent deficiency, resistance to change — if you’ve encountered any of the following issues, you may want to rethink your digital transformation before it grinds to a standstill.

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Digital transformation is crucial to business success, but leveraging the latest technology can’t happen overnight. According to a poll of U.S based senior executives from Wipro Digital, 50 percent polled said they don’t believe their company is successfully executing on at least half of their digital strategies. And one in five say digital transformation is a waste of time for their business.
But digital transformation doesn’t have to be a waste of time or resources. Here are twelve reasons why digital strategies fail in the enterprise.
Lack of consensus on what digital transformation means
The survey found that 35 percent of executives say they lack a clear transformation strategy. It’s hard to work towards a common goal if everyone isn’t on the same page. You need all executives and stakeholders aligned under a specific vision and strategy for a successful digital transformation.
Lack of CEO sponsorship
Digital transformation can only succeed if everyone backs the initiative – including the CEO. It’s up to the CEO to rally everyone under the new strategy and to maintain the company’s focus.
Lack of focus
And speaking of focus, it’s impossible to succeed at digital transformation without it. Streamline the strategy to create a focus – avoid getting sidetracked or expanding the initiative until it’s too big to see through.
Resistance to change
It’s hard to create change if people aren’t ready for it – in a 2017 survey from Harvey Nash/KPMG 43 percent of CIOs cited “resistance to change” as the biggest roadblock to digital transformation. Again, this is where the CEO comes in – they are responsible for encouraging workers to embrace change.
Trouble with ‘what and how’
Plenty of business leaders know what needs to change in their company, but they’re lost on how to see the process through. Not understanding the “how” of your digital strategy can create confusion, waste efforts and result in a lack of foresight for the future.
Lack of pace
Only four percent of those surveyed by Wipro Digital said they realized half of their digital investment in under one year. Most CIOs only realized half of their investment in two or three years. Things change fast, so your strategy needs to be as flexible and agile as the industry.
Talent deficit
Digital strategies require tech skills, and there’s a shortage of IT skills in the industry. You’ll need to plan for what to do if you can’t land the engineers, data scientists and artificial intelligence pros with the right skills.
Back-end focus can crimp customer innovation
Even if you do land the right talent, if your business only focuses on the back-end infrastructure, you’ll risk missing out on customer-driven innovation.
Integration woes
Businesses tend to implement software and tools individually, rather than as a suite or platform. The best digital strategies aim to offer personalized and innovative services in one user-friendly package.
The digital moat
There’s a tendency to push digital strategies outside of the mainstream corporate goals to allow for more speed and freedom. But if you don’t integrate your digital strategy into everyday business goals, it’s ultimately a wasted investment in the end.
Strapped for cash
The best digital strategies are focused and efficient. They address issues quickly and easily, without cutting into other budgets or draining company resources.
Lack of continuity
CIO turnover can be a big hit to any digital strategy – it’s difficult if one CIO starts an initiative, only to leave halfway through. Digital transformation requires consistency and strong top-down leadership.
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