Experts suggest that about 70% of digital transformation projects fail, so firms should design their digital transformation efforts in the best possible way to succeed

Businesses need to give their digital transformation strategies the best chance to succeed. So it will need a change in the company culture, aligning stakeholders with consumers/employees’ expectations, and connecting the transformation efforts meaningfully with the vision of the company.

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It is essential to understand the need to transform before rushing to adopt any such strategy. There are some crucial steps that need to be considered before constructing a successful digital strategy, and rushing headlong into a transformation initiative may do much more harm than good.

Tell a compelling story regarding the digital strategy

One major step that cannot be missed is planning the digital transformation efforts in a way they create value for the adopters. Justifying the reason to change, highlighting the value addition, is extremely important. It is the responsibility of the leaders to answer questions that will make the transition meaningful for everyone involved in the journey. The best way to do this is to tell a compelling story that demonstrates the need for employees to drive buy-in and adoption.

The story should highlight both the benefits and challenges associated – give a target they can aim towards and identify with.

Align the transformation journey with business goals

Alignment is one of the most crucial steps to any successful transformation, and it needs support from all levels in a company. C-suite needs to communicate the strategies well – outline the correct relevant outcomes and mitigate the anxiety of the ‘substitution effect.’ Further, all digital transformation initiatives cut across every function and budget, and all functional teams should be on the same board. Transformation can never be driven solely by IT    – it needs complete alignment with the company’s path, goals, heritage, mission, and plans.

Pilot testing

Businesses need to take out time to run pilots and proofs-of-concept before moving forward with any concrete plan to achieve stakeholder buy-in. Since the technologies deployed are new, it is always more challenging to anticipate the results. Pilot testing will help ensure that the stakeholders are actually prepared for such a journey. At the same time, the teams and partners will have better clarity to understand how to implement them effectively and successfully.

Identify the required skills mix

Retooling the IT department to transition away from some of the current skills towards more forward-looking capabilities that align better with the digital transformation strategies. There is always an ongoing need to build competencies to augment employee skills, especially around business expertise.

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Master risk management

Digital transformation is all the disruptive business models that seem to go against the traditional concepts of risk controls and containment. It is hence important to draft diligent designs for risk management and controls to future-proof the digital transformation effort.

Prepare for culture change

The success of digital transformation strategies is totally dependent on the orchestration of organizational capabilities working towards a clear transformation vision. There are many different elements associated with any digital transformation effort. To succeed, firms need to prepare for a cultural and mindset change.

Digital transformation is truly a people challenge. Without addressing the company culture and employee concerns – digital transformation will probably fail.