4 Top Barriers To Successful Digital Transformation

Digital transformation remains a priority for many businesses, however, it is not without its challenges. Today’s blog explores the top four barriers to digital transformation success.

The author of this page: Brianna Bracken
Brianna Bracken, Marketing Executive Nov 27, 2023

Digital transformation is not a new concept, with many businesses having already embarked on some level of digitalisation initiative to be able to keep up in today’s digital-first landscape. According to Gartner, 91% of businesses are engaged in some form of digital initiative with 87% of senior business leaders naming digitalisation as a priority.

Despite digital transformation looking different for every company, the general understanding is the integration of digital technology into a number of business areas that results in fundamental changes to business operations and to how value is delivered to the end customer. However, even though many organisations want to change how they operate and embrace new technology, the idea of walking away from long-standing business processes and organisational norms can be very daunting. To help you ensure the success of your next digitalisation initiative, we share the top 4 barriers to success.

1. No Clear Vision

Setting out on any journey without a clear vision or end destination is likely to cause problems. Sometimes, the concept of digital transformation can seem too daunting for businesses and they cannot imagine a clear path to take leading to ambiguity or in many cases inaction.

A successful digital transformation starts with a clear set of objectives - what the business wants to achieve. One of the first steps for organisations wanting to embark on a digital transformation initiative is the formation of a core group of individuals spanning different business departments and seniority levels. This group works to define project objectives, timelines, and how these should be prioritised and if a phased approach would be more suitable. If an organisation is struggling to get past this first key step, engaging a technology partner or business analyst for this phase can be invaluable in setting up your digital transformation for success.

2. Employee Resistance

Digital transformation means changing how a business currently operates in some capacity and while change is inevitable, it is often uncomfortable. Even when the benefits may be appealing, employees know that the process will be disruptive, changing traditional processes and even the roles and responsibilities of certain workers. The only way to prevent or tackle employee resistance is through effective change management. Change management practices help organisations manage the people side of digital transformation. Done correctly, change management involves a number of things from clear communication plans, effectively involving all stakeholders, having change champions within the company from all leadership levels as well as user adoption and training.

3. Lack of Technology Expertise

Another common barrier to digital transformation success is a lack of technology expertise within the organisations. When organisations start the conversation about digital transformation, it may become apparent that no one in the organisation has the expertise to lead one. Further, within a busy organisation, it can be hard to pull people away from important core business tasks to lead a big project such as this too. However, organisations should not limit themselves to their in-house skills. It is very common for organisations to engage a technology partner to help them manage their digital transformation. From the initial scoping and requirements, selecting the correct technology solutions to deployment and on to support, technology partners help organisations digitally transform meaning they don’t have to worry about needing the expertise to complete it in-house.

4. Financial Constraints

Financial or budget constraints are another barrier that organisations also face when wanting to embark on a digital transformation. It is inevitable that digital transformation will require some form of financial investment and this can often deter organisations from taking the first step. Organisations should take some time to develop a budget and determine how much overrun is acceptable, and how much overrun will warrant postponing or canceling certain aspects of the digital transformation initiative. Another thing to note is that organisations should keep in mind that digital transformation is not a race and often a phased approach is better. A phased approach to digital transformation can allow the organisation to reach their goals in a timeline that makes sense in the context of its budget, whether this is several months or several years. Taking a phased approach also makes the overall digital transformation more manageable for the organisation, as changes are being applied more gradually.

As the working world continues to embrace technology, organisations must continue to adapt making digital transformation more of a necessity rather than an option. Being aware of these barriers and how they might impact your organisation is key in ensuring that your organisation can be better prepared as you embark on your digital transformation project.

If your business is looking for guidance with digital transformation, get in touch to speak to an expert today.


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