Justin Rodenbostel is Vice President of Open Source Application Development at SPR.
The rallying cry for modernization coming from within enterprises across every industry is growing louder every day.
This demand for digital transformation is increasing as companies rethink what’s possible within their business when new tech-enabled solutions and products are introduced. Technology is enabling businesses to solve problems in previously unimagined ways, but far too often these initiatives stall before they’re finished. A recent Couchbase survey found 90 percent of digital transformation projects either didn’t meet expectations or completely failed, a stat that’s sure to spook businesses considering kicking off a new initiative of their own.
But the stakes are far too high to ignore the growing call to action for transformation within businesses. And companies shouldn’t see this high failure rate as a negative. Think of it this way: If nine out of ten of your competitors can’t execute, you’re investing in a huge potential for growth if you can be the one who succeeds.
Digital transformation can be risky, but the future of your business depends on making a plan and sticking to it. The real risk is missing an opportunity. By ensuring you’ve carefully considered the following three critical questions, you’ll be far more likely to finish the transformation you start.
Do we have the buy-in we need? Many plans fail because they were improperly communicated to leadership from the start. All stakeholders and departments in an enterprise need to be crystal clear on what the plan is, including what the risks are and what challenges might occur during the transition. Many projects get abandoned midway because minor (or major) hiccups occur, and a “get it done at all costs” mentality forces reliance on legacy processes or technology. Proper buy-in avoids this, especially when stakeholders have a solid understanding that the end result will be market-leading solutions and a better bottom line.
Do we have the right team? Both business and technology teams need to have the maturity to execute the plan. The teams need to have a “fail fast” mentality, with the agility to pivot when failures do occur. Short feedback loops should be the expectation during a transformation, and the team should be steadfast in its commitment to seeing the solution through to the end. The spirit of innovation comes from the top, so these leaders also need to be ready to communicate the benefits of the plan to any stakeholder who might get cold feet when things get tough.
Are we confident in the solution? Even projects that come to fruition can be failures. Before deploying a project, leadership needs to carefully consider if the technology or process they are about to implement is the right one. This means investing in R&D up front, and making sure a solution is truly a fit for a business. Companies that implement AI or a blockchain-based solution because they’re buzzwords aren’t doing themselves any favors. However, companies that really get it right see a reward on par with some of the storied tech giants of recent years—being able not to just gain market share within their industry, but to also actually create new market share and defend against outside disruption.
Considering these questions carefully will make the difference between your transformation’s success or failure. Every new adoption of technology or process comes with its unique set of challenges, but ultimately, the real threat to a business is never taking a risk in the first place.
Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.