What Are The Main Challenges Faced In Digital Transformation?

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Digital transformation has taken on a renewed sense of urgency, what with most of the world’s population unable or unwilling to attend brick-and-mortar retailers anymore. Brands are now falling over themselves to establish an online presence and setup digitalised customer service mechanisms. Unfortunately, not all organisations will be able to scale as rapidly as necessary, but even those that do face more than a few hurdles. We’re taking a look at a few of these below:

1. Lack Of Transformation Strategy

The biggest cause of digital transformation failure is a lack of strategy. By now, most businesses will have realised just how important embracing digitalisation is going to be moving into the new decade. However, “we need to get more digital” does not a solid digital transformation strategy make. It should include information like how much capital we can invest in this, who will lead the transformation, whose work is going to change with the new digital solutions, timeframes, challenges, competitor analysis, etc.

2. Organisational Hiccups

Another huge stumbling block to digital transformation is an unaccommodating organisational structure. For example, many organisations hoping to engage in digital transformation might have to get go-ahead from an owner or CEO, who might or might not be on board with the idea. If the decision-maker does not see the necessity for the digitalisation, there is very little chance that the transformation will take place – at least not rapidly.

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3. Inadequate Investment

“How much is this project going to cost us?” We’re betting that’s the first question any decision-maker will ask about digital transformation in their organisation. A big stumbling block to effective digitalisation is underfunding, in that owners and managers are unwilling to take a risk and dedicate substantial amounts of capital to the project. Unfortunately, modern business technologies aren’t cheap.

4. Resistance To Change

Digital transformation is only feasible if it arises from the foundation that all members who undertake the process adopt its practices consciously as well as voluntarily. To this effect, the organisation needs to ensure that resistance to change is overcome.


By giving a voice to the individuals in the new digital territory. For instance: through a culture which reduces hierarchies, destroys silos, encourages collaboration and uses communication in order to find new ideas that drive innovation.

5. The Be-All-And-End-All That Is IT

Information Technology (IT) is responsible for driving digital transformation. However, it’s not easy. When faced with a combination of known issues, legacy challenges as well as quickly changing technology landscape, agile thinking and alliances with business owners are the key to a greatly successful transition.

During a time of digital transformation, as we’re facing now, managing and securing your data is a crucial part of the business’ foundation. However, re-engineering processes to execute on the digital transformation vision comes with obstacles.

6. Employee Unhappiness

Finally, but certainly not to be scoffed at, is the role that employees themselves play in the failure of digital transformation campaigns. Employee pushback will render digitalisation almost impossible, as they are the ones who will be using the new technologies within the business. If they don’t like what is happening around them or have not been consulted adequately throughout the process, they won’t use the new solutions effectively. Therefore the process of digitalisation won’t yield optimum results.

Challenges overcome only make the victory sweeter at the end of the day. While there may be stumbling blocks on the long road to sustainable digital transformation, equipping ourselves with knowledge might just help us overcome them more effectively.

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