You’re Doing It Wrong: How to Avoid Digital Transformation Failure

digital transformation

Digital Transformation (DT) is probably an overused term at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to your business’s success going forward.

According to an interview in Forbes with Michael Gale, a recognized industry expert in integrated technology marketing, “Virtually every Forbes Global 2000 company is on some sort of digital transformation journey.” But while many have embarked on this journey, “Basically, one in eight got it right and then there were ranges of failure to really whereby more than 50 percent just didn’t go right at all.”

For many companies, engaging in a DT strategy is a scary, and according to Mr. Gale, a perilous proposition. Correcting existing product and strategy roadmaps, retiring and replacing legacy systems, working with third-party firms, or adopting a “no-risk/low-risk” mentality throughout the process, these and numerous other factors contribute to failed or incomplete transformation initiatives.

So what can you do to avoid a failed Digital Transformation strategy? Let’s take a look at a few of the most common mistakes and some suggestions for making sure you start your journey on the correct path.

1. Get granular with your transformation strategy.

What are some of the core tenets of DT? Well, flexibility and agility are two words that come up frequently. The truth is, your DT strategy shouldn’t get into the weeds of hyper-specific and detailed planning. Today, things change quickly, and your business shouldn’t be locked into a DT initiative that keeps you stuck in a single lane. Your DT strategy should set goals, have an agenda, but remain flexible and agile. Explore your options, outline contingencies, determine where you want your DT strategy to take you, and outline alternatives that may be viable if circumstances change.

2. Loosen your hold on the past.

Many businesses have millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars wrapped up in their existing technology stack. With so much invested, it can be difficult to get buy-in for a strategy that retires and replaces many of these systems. Oftentimes, companies will try to update, extend, and draw additional life out of these existing systems, but in many cases these strategies only introduce new problems and prolong the inevitable.

By embracing cloud-based solutions (or at least a hybrid of cloud-based and on-premises), companies are able to better manage their solutions and remain agile over time.

3. Identify the problems you don’t know you have.

DT strategies are all about fixing inefficiencies, streamlining processes, and making it easier to do better business. But in many cases, businesses are blind to the problems that are holding them back. Large, global enterprises must step back, find a way to evaluate themselves, and educate their internal constituents of the challenges that may seem isolated within a particular department, but actually have an effect on other parts of the business.

4. Alter culture and behavior to breed success.

In the Forbes interview, Mr. Gale discusses the importance of viewing DT as not just a technological shift, but a culture shift across the organization. Obviously, the world is changing quickly, and businesses must constantly evolve to remain relevant, but that process of evolution doesn’t begin and end with leveraging new technologies and resources as they disrupt the space. According to Mr. Gale:

I think a large part of that 84 percent [of businesses implementing Digital Transformation strategies] that fail is because they’re not prepared to change behavior. They think they can have strategy and technology and it just doesn’t get them there fast enough or in a good enough way.

5. Take a smarter approach to Digital Transformation.

Although many business have already begun their DT initiatives, the fact remains that it’s a long, arduous, and ongoing process. With the rapid pace of tech innovations and the evolution of today’s buyers, businesses must stay attuned to the market, their customers, and be willing to pivot on their strategies.

At FPX, we’ve seen how the market has shifted over the past 30 years and are continuously evolving to ensure we provide solutions that fit in the requirements of modern enterprises.

To learn more about our solutions, reach out to us by completing our online contact form.

Luke Roth

Luke Roth

As Director of Marketing at FPX, Luke works to raise the profile of CPQ in the B2B space and focuses on the impact CPQ has on all aspects of buying and selling.

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