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Why companies fail at digital transformation

Over 70% of digital transformation initiatives go wrong. It is estimated that 100 billion dollars are wasted every year. These sobering figures from the Gartner Group illustrate the challenges facing companies. Why do so many companies fail at digital transformation? And what can be done to ensure success?

The main problems

Many companies start digital projects with great expectations, but often the hoped-for results fail to materialise. The reasons for this are varied and usually complex. Here are some of the most common reasons why digital initiatives fail:

1. no sustainable initiative
Many companies launch digital projects without a long-term vision. The initiatives are often not sustainable and fizzle out when the initial successes fail to materialise.

2. oversized projects
A common problem is the over-dimensioning of projects. Companies take on too much and lose focus, which leads to delays and inefficient use of resources.

3. too high costs
Digitalisation projects can be costly. Too much money is often invested in the wrong areas, blowing the budget and reducing the ROI.

4. Too many stakeholders
Another problem is the involvement of too many people and external consultants. This leads to long decision-making processes and disagreement, which hinders progress.

5. resistance to change
Employees often boycott new software solutions for fear of change and job loss. Uncertainty about the new systems and processes further increases this resistance.

6. lack of courage to take radical steps
Companies often lack the courage to make radical changes. They cling to old processes and avoid risks, which inhibits innovation.

7. no error culture
A culture that penalises mistakes instead of learning from them prevents innovation. Employees are afraid to try out new things for fear of being blamed for failures.

Solutions for successful digital transformation

Mastering the challenges of digital transformation requires strategic and well thought-out approaches. Here are some proven solutions that can help companies successfully implement their digital initiatives:

1. cut off old habits
Radically cut away old habits and seize the opportunity for a fresh start. Put an end to outdated processes such as fax communication and consistently switch to digital alternatives. This creates space for more efficient and future-proof working methods.

2. clear decision-making responsibility
Appoint a responsible person with the necessary expertise and authority to enforce decisions. This person must be able to take consistent action and overcome resistance to ensure the success of the project.

3. effective change management
Implement effective change management to increase employee buy-in. Fears and resistance to change can be reduced through training, clear communication and employee involvement.

4. acceptance of pain points
The introduction of digital solutions is painful and puts a strain on the organisation. But this process is necessary. With consistent implementation and perseverance, the organisation can benefit considerably in the long term and work more efficiently. Never resist a temporary inconvenience if it leads to a lasting improvement.

5 Iterative approach
Instead of implementing a large project all at once, break it down into smaller, digestible chunks. This iterative approach allows you to see success faster and make adjustments as needed. ‘Done is better than perfect’ should be the guiding principle.

Albert Einstein once said that problems can never be solved with the same mindset that created them. Companies must be prepared to radically rethink and break new ground in order to be successful in the digital transformation. By implementing clear responsibilities, effective change management and accepting pain points, companies can overcome the challenges and reap the benefits of the digital revolution.