Top 5 reasons why digital transformation projects fail
May 2019: According to Gartner research, 82 percent of CEOs have a digital transformation programme or initiative in place, up from 62 per cent last year. With failure rates estimated between 60 and 80 percent, and no signs of improving, here are the 5 most common causes of failure and how to avoid them:
- Lack of vision – technology evolves fast, when embarking upon digital transformation it is crucial to look beyond the technologies currently available and investigate, as well as invest in, new and emergent technologies
- Lack of focus – the idea of delivering grand ‘legacy’ projects is appealing, especially to governments, but often large-scale projects (think, HS2, CrossRail, etc.) are costly and, when they finally come to fruition, are over-budget and outdated. Break big projects down into smaller steps allowing you to not only spot the issues as you go along but also fix them in line with the changing needs of the business and/or the market
- Lack of a clear purpose – it is important to first understand the exact needs of the business and only when it is clear, define s.m.a.r.t. objectives (sustainable, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely)
- Lack of control – when it comes to digital transformation, problems are not always visible to the executive board and projects continue even when they are failing; wasting time, money and energy. By setting clear milestones in advance, and apply rigorous monitoring and analysis, you can establish a new direction and new objectives to accommodate the new needs of the business
- Lack of flexibility – often contracts with government departments and many large organisations are tied to pre-agreed deliverables with little flexibility to adapt to the changing environment over the sometimes-lengthy time of the project. Consider more flexible contracts with periodic reviews of activity
These five points should provide a good head start to achieve successful digital transformation.