5 stumbling blocks to digital transformation


Most companies have wrestled with the imperatives of digital transformation and cloud migration for well over a decade. Yet research consistently shows that getting it right isn’t easy. According to BCG, 70% of digital transformations fall short of their objectives, even at smarter companies that are high performers by most measurements.

Digital transformation is a complex feat to pull off because it involves many moving parts, including migrating to the cloud, adopting new ways of working like Agile and DevOps, reskilling teams at scale, and reshaping the organisational culture. Yet the pressure to accelerate the digital transformation journey is relentless and businesses need to step up the pace.                                                                                                              

Here is a guide to some of the barriers most businesses face as they strive to transform and simplify operations for a digital world:

Poor alignment

A successful digital transformation programme depends on alignment at multiple levels: between the senior leaders setting the vision and strategy and the managers who will implement it; between the business and the technology function; and across the departments and organisational functions that drive and leverage digital platforms.

Given that the digital transformation journey isn’t the sole responsibility of one individual or department, it’s essential to create forums where all stakeholders can meet to thrash out strategy and align on objectives. They should use shareholder and customer value as the guiding stars for the digital transformation programme.

A lack of financial discipline

Digital transformation may bring sweeping changes to how technology is procured, paid for and used as well as to governance around budgets and spending. Successful organisations will look at digital transformation through the lens of cutting edge practices such as FinOps and technology expense management. They won’t simply pour money into new tech, but also look at how digital transformation creates the opportunity to improve IT economics through variable spending models in the cloud.


Organisational resistance to change

Culture and people are the biggest stumbling block for digital transformation projects. Many employees may be resistant to change their ways of working out of habit or because they fear they will be displaced by automated technologies. Companies will need to focus on change management and user adoption as they institute new digital processes and systems. They should focus on getting user buy-in early on in digital projects and find end-users that will champion change with their colleagues.

A shortage of digital talent and capacity

Digitalisation demands cutting edge skills at every level of the business, from non-technical people who will need to embrace new tech and ways of collaborating, through to the IT department and support roles such as finance and HR. Many companies still struggle to access expertise in analytics, cloud, cybersecurity, enterprise architecture, customer experience and other areas key to digital transformation.

It’s essential to audit the talent pool to identify the deficiencies and to create a pipeline of future-ready talent. For some skills, it will be essential to reskill and upskill in-house talent; for others, it might be necessary to recruit from outside. In other instances yet, partnering with external service providers, hiring contractors or automating processes may be the smarter option.

Weak mandate and measurement

Even today, many digital transformation efforts are hamstrung by a lack of a clear organisational vision and mandate. Without a clear definition for success and a roadmap to achieve it, it’s impossible to measure success. The most successful businesses are those that set clear KPIs for each digital project and programme, as well as ways to measure progress and address roadblocks.

Digital transformation—a complex journey

As you accelerate digital transformation and the move to the cloud, the right strategic partner can help you break through the barriers to success. Our knowledgeable experts have helped many blue chip organisations to simplify, optimise and modernise their IT environments. Want to innovate, simplify operations and start a DevOps/FinOps journey? Get in touch to learn about our cutting edge services and solutions.

Similar Blog Posts