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Why companies fail with digital transformation

According to market research giant Gartner, well over 100 billion dollars are burnt in digital projects every year. 75% of digital initiatives are even cancelled or do not achieve the desired success. 17% of major projects get so out of hand that they even jeopardise the existence of the respective companies.

Why do companies fail?

Companies often fail with innovation and digital transformation because they do not pursue sustainable initiatives and oversize projects – both in terms of time and budget. Involving too many people and external consultants can complicate processes. Many companies find it difficult to reinvent themselves and take bold, radical steps. Another critical point is the lack of a culture of error that allows people to learn from failures and see them as an opportunity for growth and improvement.

How do you minimise the risk?

The principle applies: think big, start small. It definitely helps to develop a big vision and pursue it. But you have to divide the elephant into digestible morsels. It helps if small pieces are implemented and launched as quickly as possible. You can learn a lot from this, and if it goes in the wrong direction, you haven’t lost much. Here, too, there are five principles:

  • Fail fast and cheap: experiment with ideas in a cost-effective way to learn quickly what works and what doesn’t. The aim is to recognise failures early and save resources.
  • Learn to unlearn: Be open to questioning existing assumptions and knowledge to make room for new insights and approaches. This promotes innovation and adaptability.
  • Stop guessing, test instead: Base decisions on data and facts by validating hypotheses through prototyping and user testing. This minimises risk and increases the likelihood of successful innovation.
  • Done is better than perfect: Strive for progress rather than perfection. Fast delivery and continuous improvement is more effective than trying to develop the perfect product from the start.
  • Break the elephant into digestible bites: Large projects should be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. This makes realisation easier, enables early successes and keeps the team motivated.

Have you ever failed a project?

I was once asked this during a presentation. No, I replied. But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t made mistakes. Of course, wanting to learn from mistakes is a standard phrase that you often hear. But it is important for us to make mistakes in the project as early as possible, because the earlier you recognise the mistake, the easier it is to rectify. And ultimately, you won’t be one of those who contribute to the Gartner statistics.