Why most of the Digital Transformation Projects are failing?

February 5th, 2016

Most of the digital transformation projects fail as they are complex and involves large scale changes. Typically, transformation projects start with a software upgrade or a technology add-on, rather than holistic and  platform approach so the entire workforce, partners and eco-system can adapt to the overall transformation. As per research sources, most of the business executives have a digital strategy but don’t have skills and capabilities to execute on the strategy. According to Genpact research study, two thirds of digital transformation projects fail. A piecemeal strategy of bolting on digital platform or tool is not enough.

In my opinion, some of the key factors that are influencing success or failure of the digital transformation projects are

Large scale changeAccording to studies, most of the digital transformation projects involve large scale changes that are distributed and involves large and disparate application mix. It also requires changes beyond technology and involves retooling of people skills and process and more importantly enterprises need to embrace digital culture supporting rapid innovation. The way organizations have been planning and managing large scale change won’t work anymore, it needs iterative, agile, outcome based and customer experience oriented approach.

Organization wide alignment (BizDevOps)Organizations are primarily failing to embed strategic business objectives throughout the organization by linking the business outcomes all the way to the capabilities of the digital applications in simple and consistent manner.

Digitizing core legacy applicationsAny attempts of digital transformation without involving legacy systems will only yield partial results as most of the core business capabilities are often locked in the legacy systems. However, traditional methods of modernizing legacy applications through refactoring or replacing can be costly and often does not yield required ROI. These lift and shift methods can also disrupt productivity so enterprises need to have the ability to control when and how these applications will be transformed.

Pace of changeDigital enterprises work in a connected world that is dynamic in nature and hence their applications go through constant updates, upgrades and migrations. The pace of change in the digital world is also rapid which means that traditional manual approaches to large-scale and instant change management just don’t work anymore and requires an agile and automated cross-functional collaboration to manage things.

Risk Exposure:  Digital enterprises faces increased risk due to exposure from applications and services becoming distributed everywhere especially outside the premises. Hence they need a constant and real time governance across the entire application footprint to mitigate risks.

Data Explosion: With businesses switching digital, entities both, corporate and individuals, are generating large pools of information from the operations and business activities. This epic rise of data is becoming both a threat and opportunity and forcing enterprises to adopt new technologies that can handle large volumes of data to provide actionable insights for better enterprise decision making.

I am sure some enterprises have succeeded with their transformation projects. We would love to hear any successful or not so successful  digital transformation and enterprise modernization project stories. We will also share some critical components and aspects of successful digital transformation in subsequent posts.

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