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Why your digital transformation initiatives aren’t delivering

Your digital transformation programmes are probably not delivering the results you hoped for. That’s just a simple statistical truth – research has indicated that 84% of companies fail at digital transformation.

But what’s more important than how many are failing is why they are failing and what they can do about it.

Digital transformation programmes tend to fail because they are complex in nature and attempt to tackle multi-layered problems that are constantly shifting.

That means that a business changing the way it works through a digital initiative needs to be able to ‘see the whole’ and have continuous ‘situational awareness’ of its operations in order to get a real sense of whether its initiative is likely to succeed and deliver the desired outcome.

Also, during the transformation programme, the impact of any changes must be well understood and managed actively if the existing business is to continue to run normally.

Till now businesses have embarked on a digital change programme by creating a ‘Programme Management Office’ – essentially a team of people implementing change using several different and stand-alone tools. However, these tools individually provide no real visibility of whether the initiative is working, the extent to which it’s working and will deliver the desired outcome, or whether it could be made more effective by changing course.

The good news is that this problem is solvable through emerging technology that lays the groundwork for digital transformation success by addressing the five layers of complexity businesses must navigate.

Five issues to tackle to succeed

The five main issues businesses must tackle when implementing a digital transformation programme include:

  • Representing, prioritising and monitoring underlying business scenarios
  • Adapting to moving strategic and operational targets
  • Measuring business outcomes or customer satisfaction
  • Situational awareness of the whole transformation programme at all times
  • Sharing timely information with all stakeholders

While these are five separate challenges, they are all connected and need to be tackled in a coordinated way. One way to do this is through a business model representation in software referred to as a “business landscape”. Toolsets using this functionality are being deployed to guide the transformation journey. By mapping the entirety of their operations to effectively create a “digital twin” business leaders can monitor how a digital transformation programme is not just changing the specific area of the business they are focused on, but every aspect of the company – as well as the way it is affecting other organisations they work for and with.

In practice, this means business intelligence, business modelling, operational analytics and information management systems are incorporated into the same platform. By pulling in everything from market data and financial data to operational data quality, SLAs and third party data, these systems allow business leaders to take decisions and act immediately where necessary.

This might be seen as the ‘holy grail’ but it’s simply the key to success. It’s only through understanding and evidencing the value of digital transformation programmes that a successful plan can be plotted and its desired outcomes can be delivered.

Doing so creates a better way of working – and until such an approach becomes mainstream, the vast majority of digital transformation programmes will continue to fail.

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