Many companies’ senior leaders and board of directors believe a company can buy digital technology, implement it and get the benefit of it in a few months. That’s an illusion. Because of the depth and breadth of change required to succeed, that belief is not realistic. The record of studies on digital transformation indicate a high failure rate, with a notable 2013 McKinsey study finding that 70% fail. That is a lot of wasted time, money and unmet expectations. In investigating why digital transformation often fail to meet expectations, I find several factors contribute to the failures. However, I believe the biggest problem is the mind-set. This is where most companies go wrong.
Executives’ mind-set must shift to approaching digital transformation as a journey. This is fundamental to success. Unlike transformation initiatives of the past, digital transformation is not an event that happens. It’s a journey with a road that never ends. It will continue – potentially indefinitely, but certainly for three to five years or longer.