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Digital transformation

Taking a look at why digital transformations fail

Digital Transformation, in simple terms, is defined as the use of digital technologies to revamp your business processes (or create new ones) in order to improve the way you operate and to provide more value to your customers.  But in reality, it is a whole lot more than that.  It is also a mindset change, one that requires you to be open to continuous exploration and experimentation in order to find new and innovative ways to solve business problems.  

It comes with some big promises, improved company performance being the most coveted one, but it also requires a lot of careful consideration and a bucket load of blood, sweat and maybe even some tears.

Many who have embarked on this journey will tell you that it’s a lot harder than it sounds, and according to a survey done by McKinsey & Company in 2018, only about 30% of digital transformation initiatives are successful.

So why do so many digital transformations fail?

  • Looking at it as a project, i.e. a temporary endeavour with a defined beginning & end
    Digital Transformation is not this silver bullet that you assign a pot of money to, assemble a temporary team for and only focus on once.  The key is in the name itself:  it is a transformation, a journey, a slow evolution into a whole new way of thinking and operating.  It requires recruiting new skills and creating new permanent positions within your organisation to help manage the change and drive the ongoing evolution of your business.
  • Focusing on the technology and losing sight of the people and processes
    Rule number one:  Put your people first.  Then comes processes, then comes technology.  If you don’t know your employees well enough to know what motivates and demotivates them, your digital transformation goals will be doomed from the start. 
  • Lack of commitment to see it through
    Understanding, and even agreeing to, the need for digital transformation is very different from buying into it and pledging your full support.  You don’t just need senior execs and managers to agree with you, you need them to fully commit by taking ownership of their piece of the transformation puzzle. They need to be the active drivers and promoters of change, not the people sitting on the sideline waiting to see if it fails or succeeds.
  • Trying to tackle everything at once
    Digital technologies evolve at a rapid pace. What’s in today may be out tomorrow, with new options entering the market year after year.  An interactive, agile approach where you start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and work your way up from there is the only chance you will have at digital transformation success.  Trying to anticipate all the work (and technologies) needed up-front and then drawing up a 3-5 year plan to execute will ensure that you end up missing opportunities to benefit from new ideas and options along the way.

  • Never stopping to assess, adjust & improve
    Continuous self-assessment is a crucial component of digital transformation success.  Without it, how will you know what’s working and what’s not? The biggest mistake you can make is to simply forge ahead under the guise of progress. By taking the time to reflect you’re still able to make adjustments and refinements to ensure that you’re still moving steadily towards your transformation goals.

Embarking on your own digital transformation journey?  Analyze can help shape your transformation strategy by first getting a solid understanding of your current people and processes, identifying problem areas and gaps, and then coming up with a phased delivery plan to ensure ongoing and incremental results. Give us a call on 021 447 5696 or get in touch by using the contact form on our contact page or visit our LinkedIn page to get a better understanding of how we can help your company to achieve your transformation goals.

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