Top 5 digital transformation hurdles and how to combat them

Sign up for Business Transformation SmartBrief today, free.

A full-scale digital business transformation may be one of the loftiest initiatives your company has ever taken on—and if you’re like most companies, you’re likely to encounter some steep hurdles along the way. In fact, 81% of respondents in a recent Couchbase study reported seeing their digital transformation projects fizzle despite their best intentions.

On the up side, when you address these challenges head-on, you can increase the chances of your organization delivering a successful transformation long term in the digital age, according to Patrick Gray of TechRepublic.

Beating the Top Challenges

These are the five main challenges facing organizations that are planning on driving a digital transformation, plus how you can beat the odds:

 

Challenge #1: Pushback from employees

Your employees might feel threatened or concerned about the organizational change and how it may affect their jobs. Ease their concerns by communicating with them at the beginning of the process and soliciting their ideas and feedback. Employees should be able to understand their role in the business transformation and how they can contribute. Drive home the point that these changes will benefit their jobs and illustrate exactly how that will happen.
 

Challenge #2: An unclear vision

Without a clear strategy, your business transformation efforts may not get off the ground. As you’re deciding what to target in your strategy, think about your customers and what they need most from you. Then, think about how your staff and your organization can meet that need most easily and effectively. Focusing on your customers’ experience can help you zero in on a clear digital transformation strategy.
 

Challenge #3: Lack of dedicated talent to support objectives

If employees on the digital transformation team are splitting time between digital initiatives and their regular jobs, they’re likely to be less successful at both. Having a dedicated leader of the digital team is the most effective way to overcome this challenge, according to a Deloitte report titled “Thinking Big With Business Transformation.” If any supporting roles are needed, you may need to free up your top digital talent to be able to fully assist in your organizational objectives during the process.
 

Challenge #4: Too broad of a vision

While successful digital transformations tend to involve the entire company, make sure your competitive strategy focuses on one major problem at a time. For example, if your main aim is driving growth, you shouldn’t also be trying to reduce costs at the same time, and vice versa. If you need to drive growth and reduce costs, try to address the most pressing challenge first and then tackle the second afterward.
 

Challenge #5: Inadequate communication

If your organization is to produce real, tangible results, your employees will need to remain constantly engaged with the business strategy and vision. Some companies make the mistake of relying on written communication, such as memos and emails. While these forms of communication can help promote awareness, you’ll want to pair these with regular roundtable discussions, town hall meetings, and training sessions to really keep employees engaged in the process.
 

Takeaways

When your employees have a clear, targeted vision and the right tools for the job, the digital transformation initiative can combat these challenges from the start. Awareness of the potential problems will help you devise a strong strategy to meet goals and improve business processes.