Why Do Digital Transformation Projects Fail
As we already know, digital transformation is based on adjusting the variables of processes, people, and technology. This, which at first may seem difficult to us, is much more complicated if we do not have a guiding principle to guide us. And it is that even having resources and time, projects fail. Of course, this does not happen only in the digital field, but it is transferable to any other company scenario. There are clear examples of large organizations that have invested significant budgets in a complete digital transformation without achieving it. This does not mean that the work has been in vain, but it does mean that in the short term, a multitude of resources and time have been wasted without achieving the expected results.
Common Failures In Digital Transformation Projects
- Eating the elephant in one bite: This classic mistake happens in those companies that have a will to change and have the resources to carry it out, but that nevertheless do not have a clear objective to achieve or adequate indicators to measure their results. A great example of this is the failure of General Electric with its digitization project using IoT technology. This project stands out for being one of the biggest failures of a large company in the United States. Despite investing hundreds of millions and employing thousands of professionals, the results were not at all satisfactory, attracting market pressure on them. The bottom line is: set achievable, measurable, and high-impact goals.
- Neither with you nor without you: Sometimes, the mistake is made of thinking that digital transformation is an entirely separate unit from the rest of the company and this, of course, generates severe structural problems and resistance to change. Any transformation is a path that everyone must know to reach the end. Either we involve those who “want to improve,” or we will have lukewarm support at best.
- It is not a country for older people: Sometimes, one of the leading causes for digital transformation projects to fail are department managers who do not see the global benefits that digitization has for their department.
The inability to see the global benefit and only look at your departmental results is a huge handicap, and it happens more often than we think. Digital transformation requires an understanding of the objectives, acceptance, and collaboration by the resources involved.
- I want to, and I don’t understand: On other occasions, the problem is the lack of understanding of the transversality of the transformation. Some managers want particular results with particular technologies. In reality, this would not be a transformation since it does not produce new changes in the department’s business model or the companies. The addition of technology or new processes supposes an optimization of what already exists but maintains doing things, and the fundamental transformation goes through a new vision.
- Going to the mountains in sandals: A classic, all digitization is a journey that we must take, which will not be easy. Therefore, we must prepare the necessary things: for the desert water and sunscreen, for the mountains good boots and warm material, for the jungle repellent insects. The same happens with Digital Transformation projects if you want to avoid failures. You have to surround yourself with experts in different areas, have a project office versed in cross-cutting solutions, have well-fed dashboards, etc.
Basics When Starting To Scan
In order not to lengthen the article, I would like to finish not talking about why the digital transformation fails but reviewing those things that will help us avoid those failures. A shortlist of basics that will accompany us on the journey to achieve the digitization of our organization:
- Predispose your organization to change.
- Create a roadmap and communicate it.
- The trip you are going to make is not set in stone. Prepare to do it by adapting to the possible necessary changes.
- Be clear about your travel companions. It would help if you never embarked on a company of this size alone, so building a team to match is essential.
- Measure, measure, measure, and you will conquer. You have to see how you progress, not only in “the project” but also in its impact on the organization.
- Understand the scope and impact of what you want to do. A long journey is made in short steps.
I want to share with you this link so that you can take a small look at companies that have failed in their Digital Transformation and some of their mistakes. The experience accumulated by others is information that can facilitate us to achieve success in the digitization of our organization.
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