A minefield called

digital transformation

Whether you embrace digital, or just accept its inevitability, your
transformation will be neither quiet nor cheap.

Here are the 12 reasons why a lot of digital transformations go wrong.


Cross-functional empathy

Often change does not directly benefit everyone. People who don’t see instant change and improvement can often be very reluctant and reject transformation if they’re not seeing the positive effects immediately. They don’t understand that one step back for them is two, three, or four steps forward for the business.

Imposed vs heart-felt alignment

Taking a dominant approach and imposing changes can cause resistance and an unwillingness to adopt these changes, ultimately leading to failure. On the flip side, a heart-felt approach can lack the drive and determination to complete a transformation project and focus on ‘people pleasing’ rather than fixing the problem.

Bias vs fact: collective clarity

Following a bias will very likely lead to transformation in the wrong area and be a waste of resources as it’s not focusing on the actual problem. Following a fully fact-driven transformation will see resistance from those who aren’t on the beneficial end and see them not buy into your transformation project.

Digital skills gap & culture

People problems arise when they feel threatened by digital transformation and lack of skills that are needed for the new way of doing things. Additionally, a lack of understanding of the transformation culture and how it can help them will also create resistance to change.


Big bang vs Agile transformation

A big bang approach of jumping from state A to state B, requires a large overhaul and is not as simple as instantly transforming into the state you wish to be in. However, an agile approach of small steps at a time won't always work as ‘one foot can’t always go in front of the other’.

Competing priorities

Competing priorities and valuing different aspects of the business to transform can cause friction and ultimately failure. Having competing priorities and views can be harmful to a process that requires unity and collaboration.

Top-down vs bottom-up

Top-down can dictate changes that aren’t best representing the issues faced on the ‘work floor’ and lead you in the wrong direction. However, bottom-up can put too much reliance on bias and siloed issues rather than addressing the bigger issues your business may be facing.

Getting worse before getting better

Transformation often gets worse before getting better, and many organisations will simply just abandon the project when they don’t see instant results, which leads to wasted time and resources, and can set the business back digitally by a substantial amount of time.


Product-led vs process-led selection

A product-led approach may not be fit for purpose and is forcing an incorrect transformation. Meanwhile, a process-led approach may not have the right product or technological solution that works for the processes your organisation is looking to change.

Over-automation & under-automation

Too much automation in a transformation sacrifices flexibility in the process or organisation making it very rigid. Too little creates a lack of efficiency within the process and still results in clunky and manual approaches.

Unmeasured fitness-for-purpose

Choosing a brand or product solely on reputation and bias can harm a transformation project. Many companies will choose a product that has not been measured for the task it’s needed for and ultimately hinders their digital transformation.

Fancy-ware vs BAU-ware

If the technology supports BAU then it’s likely outdated and not making an impact or moving your business and processes forward. Any technological solutions that are too fancy can be overcomplicated, high maintenance and likely not the best solution for the issues you face in your business.

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