Why one size doesn’t fit all in digital transformation?


If you do a simple research on the internet, different sources inform you that there is a failure rate between 70% to 84% (based on different news sources) for digital transformation projects.

If you search for the reasons there are many good articles, speaking about the reasons and problems. What many of them don't mention is the unique approach we should have in executing the project. Do you know what it is? Not getting trapped into this belief:

Solutions that worked for one company, will work for you too!

Now, you may say that it is obvious! We all know that! But when you are surrounded by some consultants and specifically IT solution providers they make their previous successes so much bold that you immediately believe what they say is your solution too!

They talk about best practices and they prove to you that their solution is the best one ever based on statistics, numbers and true evidences. Don't get us wrong, they are honest! They don't lie! They do believe in what they say too!

The problem is that we all get so much excited that we forget best practices are good to learn from them and not to be copy-pasted. We forget that what worked for our competitor won't work for us the same way.

The reason is very simple! Our problems may seem the same but surely our solutions must be different. Do you agree with the following?

1. Same solutions won't create a competitive advantage and therefore we share the market to our competitors if we don't lose it completely.

2. Solutions shouldn't be on paper. They must be executed. For execution, we need to know our organizational culture, the mindset of board members, the expectation of stakeholders and on top of it the level of readiness for change.

3. If we wish to digitalize our processes then we must think about data history, data processing, data gathering procedures, and data accuracy. These issues are not the same in each company.

4. Also, we cannot execute the transformation at once. We must prioritize our processes and the prioritization should be aligned with business objectives and mainly customer expectations.

Assuming that you agree with the above principles then we can ask ourselves 

why IT solution providers try to sell the same solution to different companies?

The answer is simple:

1. Usually, it's expensive to make a new solution based on our needs but if something is ready then the cost will be shared among other buyers.

2. Most of the time we assume that IT and digital professionals should tell us how to transform into digital but this is certainly wrong. They don't know our processes, culture, objectives and etc. We should have the knowledge and information and we should ask them how to help us. If we don't know what we want, then why should we ask for change?

In the end, we would like to emphasize on the following summary:

A) Each company has got its own DNA.

Let's respect that and let's not to see all problems through the same window.

B) Let's tell IT companies what we want

We are not against IT and digital companies. Without them, it is impossible to continue our business adventures but to make an easier life for them and also to make a success in our digitalized journey let us tell them the road-map and how we want it. Let's not wait for them to figure it out.

C) Align your digital transformation strategy with organizational objectives

As long as our digital transformation strategy is not aligned with our organizational objectives, let's not try any transformation. It can cause more damage and no improvement.