Difference Between Digital Transformation Success And Failure

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Did you know that 70% of digital transformations fail? What does true digital transformation look like? Contrary to what some might think, digital transformation isn’t a complete digitalising of every business facet. In contrast, it is a continual process whereby a business endeavours to interact and engage with its stakeholders where these stakeholders are interacting and engaging. This is, for the most part, on digital devices and platforms. Already in the process of digitally transforming your company? This article discusses signs of failure or success you should be looking out for:

Signs Of Transformation Success

  • Having Tech-Savvy Decision Makers In Place

Companies that excel at digital transformation have technologically enthused decision-makers. These are management-level staff members who understand the necessity for digital future-proofing and can drive meaningful change through learning about digital solutions and adopting them into the organisation.

  • Empowering Staff To Work In New Ways

Successful digitally-transformed organisations don’t just upgrade their digital practices and call it a day. In contrast, true digital transformation is only possible when all staff members are invested in using these new digital solutions. If workers don’t adopt digital transformation, it won’t succeed on a macro level.

  • Digitally Upgrading Day-To-Day Tools

Studies have shown that organisations who upgrade the smaller, more menial business tasks with digital solutions achieve digital transformation much quicker than those who focus solely on main infrastructural digitalisation. Examples include online project management solutions and digital data assessment tools.

Signs Of Transformation Failure

  • A Lack Of Upfront Commitment To Transformation

Some organisations start their digital transformations with vigour, only to slow the process down once the transformation starts affecting the business. People don’t like change, especially old-school managers and CEOs, and thus they might be afraid to digitalise completely. If everyone is on-board and committed to true transformation – it will succeed.


  • Trying To Sprint When It’s Actually A Marathon

Too many businesses start their digital transformation journey with all the best intentions, gain some traction initially, but then fizzle out with transformation fatigue. Digitalisation is an ongoing process and should be paced so as not to over-invest in technologies that might only be relevant for a short period.

  • Only Focusing On Transforming Technologically

We get it – there can be no digital transformation without technology. However, focusing solely on technology, like setting up a cloud server, for example, can deplete much budget and not achieve a great deal. This is why, alongside technology, organisations should work on garnering a pro-digital culture among staff members.

Failure Vs. Success In Digital Transformation


A business that will succeed in holistic digital transformation has leaders who understand, embrace, and keep up with the latest trends regarding digitalisation. These owners and managers lead by example and act as role models for employees who also play a critical role in effective digital transformation in any organisation. Failure is often the result of underfunding and road-blocking because of laggard leadership who are reluctant to change the status quo.


Business leaders should be able to set a good example, by embracing digital technology themselves, but true digital transformation is facilitated by people on the ground. These are the employees who will be trained on how to use the new systems, and their interest in digital transformation will play a big role in how quickly and effectively the business will transform. A staff that is not sold on the benefits and life-changing potential of digitalisation will not want to change their behaviours and pre-existing routines.


A business successful at digital transformation (which is a marathon, not a sprint) is one that understands what outcome-based decision-making is. Too many businesses fail in their attempts at digitalisation because they get fixated on the snazziest, most trumped-up digital solutions because of well-versed and highly-effective salespeople. Winners will judge the technology based on how well it is going to perform, not on how fancy or expensive or visually-appealing it is.

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