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Article

Your Digital Transformation Has a 70 Percent Chance of Failing. To Beat the Odds, Try These Three Things

by Staff Writer

Digital transformation is touted as a leading force driving IT and business decisions. Despite the hype, it’s not delivering on the promise. In spite of surging investments, fewer than one-third of digital transformations succeed at improving a company’s performance, according to McKinsey & Company.  

Yet the effective employment of digital strategies drives key benefits and across business lines, from improved productivity that fuels innovation to better business insights  – but only if you approach digital transformation the right way.

It’s not the underlying technology that accounts for the poor performance of so many digital transformation projects. Rather, a lack of organizational readiness is a frequent culprit, including underestimating or not understanding the work and resources required, and factors such as poor data governance and executive cohesion.

Here are three key ways to beat the odds and achieve digital transformation success.

1. Understand How Work Works Across Your Organization

A digital transformation takes into account the tools and technologies an organization uses or needs to adopt in order to execute business strategy. These may include tools to enable the better utilization of data through real-time visibility into information, workflow automation, and collaboration between teams and strategic partners. But it’s hard to make sure that you’re employing the right tools and platforms without first understanding how work works, across your entire organization.

Taking a pulse check of existing workflows, pain points, and tools is an important precursor to identifying solutions that will best meet employees’ objectives, solve their key work challenges and suit their technical comfort level and capabilities. In other words, taking the time to understand how work already works will help you find tools people want to use, thereby driving better adoption right across your organization.

2. Enable Access to the Right Information at the Right Time

While digital transformation can improve the flow of information across an organization and enable business units to leverage data for better results, a successful transformation also relies on the effective dissemination of information pertaining to the digital transformation.

This starts with effective communication of the change story, strategy, and tactics. One analysis by McKinsey & Company found that organizations that effectively communicated change-related information nearly doubled the success rate of digital transformation projects.

How and when information is shared is also key to success. When organizations make information accessible via self-serve technologies that can be used by both employees and business partners, digital transformation success is twice as likely, finds McKinsey.

3. Provide Visibility and Transparency for Executives

When companies undertake a major organizational change, leadership buy-in is essential at every stage. The methods of achieving such support for digital transformation are no different from any other initiative.  From the earliest stages of planning through to the execution of specific digital initiatives, executives require visibility and transparency across all related programs and initiatives. This enables them to see the progress being made as well as the business results achieved through steps taken toward digital transformation.

Insight into progress and initiatives deepens leadership understanding of the challenges being faced and milestones achieved, and allows executives to ensure that digital strategies remain aligned with overall business objectives.

Many businesses have learned the hard way that digital transformation isn’t easy. But instead of looking at poor performance from past initiatives as a reason to take a step backwards, business leaders should instead consider how they can better position future projects for success.

Learn how the Smartsheet work execution platform helps businesses and organizations move ideas to impact — fast.