5 reasons most digital strategies fail

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, organisations must continually adapt if they are to remain competitive. Nevertheless, between 70 and 95% of all digital transformation projects fail, falling short of expectations and resulting in missed opportunities and wasted resources. It’s important to be able to recognise the common pitfalls behind such high failure rates if you are to achieve success in your own digital transformation journey, learning how to circumnavigate the challenges and leverage the help available to you for maximum results.  

A lack of clear vision

A lack of clear vision is one of the primary reasons that digital strategies fail. Organisations often dive headfirst into digital initiatives without a well-defined roadmap, resulting in fragmented efforts and disjointed outcomes. Indeed, without a clear vision, it becomes challenging to align stakeholders, prioritise initiatives and measure success – all essential steps in creating a successful digital strategy.  

Partnering with change management specialists can help organisations to overcome these challenges, as these teams play a crucial role in helping companies to define a compelling vision and develop a strategic roadmap for their ongoing digital transformation. They collaborate with key stakeholders on your behalf, organising workshops to ensure that team members are on board and conducting thorough assessments to align your vision with your goals. Indeed, by identifying pain points and defining measurable objectives, they can help you create a shared vision that motivates key members of your team to collaborate throughout the course of your digital journey.  

Resistance to change

Resistance to change is another significant barrier that often derails digital strategies. Employees may be hesitant to embrace new technologies, processes or ways of working – particularly if they have long been part of your company. Investing in quality change management is therefore essential when it comes to managing resistance and navigating the human side of transformation.  

In addition to conducting change impact assessment, dedicated change management teams can help you to identify potential sources of resistance and develop comprehensive plans to deal with them. This might include communication strategies, training programmes and ongoing support to help employees understand the benefits of the digital strategy in order to mitigate resistance. By involving change management specialists from the outset, organisations can anticipate and address resistance, fostering instead a culture of openness and collaboration.  

Inadequate stakeholder engagement

Successful digital strategies also require active engagement and collaboration from other stakeholders across the organisation. Failure to engage them effectively can lead to misalignment, competing priorities and a lack of ownership – all of which result in a digital strategy destined to fail.  

Once again, change management specialists like Equantiis can help to remedy this problem. We excel at stakeholder analysis and engagement, identifying who key people are, mapping their interests and influence and developing tailored communication plans just for them. By involving these stakeholders early on, on a frequent basis, we can ensure that their voices are heard, that their concerns are addressed and that the strategy is shaped collaboratively. This inclusive approach builds trust, fosters ownership and, ultimately, increases the likelihood of successful digital initiatives.  

A lack of digital skills or talent

Digital transformation demands new skill sets and capabilities. Indeed, without these skills, organisations struggle to implement and leverage digital technologies effectively. In order to combat this problem, companies must conduct skill-gap assessments, identify critical roles and design training and development programmes to upskill their existing workforce. They should also consider onboarding new team members where appropriate. This is yet another area that change management specialists can help with, serving to strike the right balance between keeping existing team members happy and ensuring your organisation keeps moving with the times.  

A lack of long-term focus

Finally, digital strategies must evolve continuously if you are to keep pace with changing technologies and market dynamics. Failure to do so can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities. Having said that, it’s important to be able to distinguish between investing in the next technology for the sake of it and identifying innovations that truly boast the capacity to drive progress.  

Establishing reliable feedback loops and monitoring performance metrics can help with this, as can conducting periodic assessments to identify further areas for improvement. By embracing a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, your organisation should be able to respond to emerging trends appropriately, refining its strategies and remaining ahead in the digital landscape.  

Overcoming failure

Ultimately, digital strategies fail for a number of reasons – but partnering with reliable, dedicated change management specialists is a sure-fire way to increase your chances of success.  

At Equantiis, we bring a unique set of skills and expertise to the table, helping to address challenges such as a lack of vision, resistance to change, inadequate stakeholder engagement, skill gaps and the need for continuous evaluation. By partnering with us, you will be able to navigate these obstacles with ease, creating a culture of digital readiness and achieving the desired outcomes of your digital strategy, whatever your organisational goals.  

Interested in finding out more? Contact Equantiis today to book an initial consultation and drive your digital transformation journey to success. 

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More about the author

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant CEO

As CEO of Equantiis, his main focus is on strategic leadership and growth within the business whilst working through new opportunities that support this. Alistair manages client relationships so that they can benefit from his experience and knowledge. He thrives on leading a disruptive business that works with business leaders to identify and overcome complex business challenges, with cost certainty and transformative outcomes. Alistair is passionate about anything outdoors. Including running, camping and travelling with the family.