7 reasons why digital transformations fail

7 reasons your digital transformation could fail

In recent years, digital transformation has moved from a buzzword to an essential shift for businesses to remain competitive, enhance productivity and meet changing customer needs. Digital transformation is about more than simply adopting new technology; it is about reshaping your business, improving employee and customer experiences, and innovating in the face of change.

Yet, digital transformation is no easy undertaking. It’s a journey that touches all facets of your technology, people and processes. It requires the right decisions and a willingness to change not only your technology but your culture and processes as well.

A survey by McKinsey found that only 31% of digital transformations see success. What factors contribute to this number being so low? And what could hinder your business from successfully transforming?

Lack of clear vision and strategy

Without a well-defined vision or strategy, your digital transformation efforts could become disjointed and aimless due to a lack of clear goals or timelines. The absence of a clear roadmap makes it difficult to align different parts of the project. Disjointed efforts can cause confusion, delays, and, ultimately, result in failure.

So, a good transformation starts with a clear roadmap that details objectives, resources, and realistic timelines. Committing to a plan from the beginning ensures that your digital initiatives maintain focus and that everyone works towards common goals.

Lack of leadership and commitment

In the absence of effective leadership to propel initiatives forward, the risk of confusion and misalignment intensifying within the team increases. A Chief Information Officer (CIO) can mitigate these risks as they will become the project lead driving the dedication and alignment needed to keep the project on course.

While engaging a CIO is a great starting point, commitment to the digital transformation should start with the entire C-suite. Their investment and commitment to the goals of transformation set a solid foundation that ensures the initiative aligns with the company’s objectives. When the C-suite demonstrate their commitment to the project, others within the business – from managers to frontline workers – will also be more likely to support the initiative.

Inadequate investment in technology and talent

Digital transformation is not simply investing in the latest technology; without solutions that meet your business needs, your organisation may struggle to meet your transformation goals. Simultaneously, a lack of skilled IT personnel in the business can lead to improper implementation and inefficient technology management, further hindering your chances of success.

Investing adequately in technology and talent is integral to the success of digital transformation. With the right tech and IT talent, you increase the chances of successful transformation.

Change resistance

You can expect some level of change resistance from your team and customers when undergoing digital transformation. Introducing new technology and processes can lead to fears about job insecurity or doubts about adapting to the new environment.

People may fear that automation or new systems will render their roles redundant, leading to a lack of enthusiasm or outright opposition to your digital initiatives. Your organisation can overcome resistance by providing proper training and openly communicating changes. Ensuring your team has the skills and knowledge to work with new technology can lead people to accept and even advocate for the changes.

Poor data management and integration

Incomplete or inaccurate data and siloed systems can impact your digital transformation efforts by making your data unreliable and hindering decision-making processes. The overall effectiveness of your digital transformation can become compromised, leading to missed opportunities, inefficiencies, and even failure of the initiative.

Focusing on good data management practices and integrating your systems facilitates informed decision-making and fosters a more agile and responsive transformation.

Scope creep and unrealistic expectations

Scope creep refers to the gradual expansion of a project beyond its original objectives, often without adjustments to time, budget, or resources. Scope creep can quickly lead to resource exhaustion, misalignment with business goals, and, ultimately, the failure of your digital transformation.

Resource exhaustion occurs when the project demands more time, effort, or money than initially planned without adjusting these constraints. This strain on resources can lead to a decline in quality and missed deadlines, leaving the transformation incomplete or ineffective.

Again, your business will need a clear project roadmap to prevent these challenges. Regular reviews, strict adherence to the defined scope, and open communication among team members and stakeholders will keep the project on track. By resisting the temptation to expand the project without due consideration, you can improve your chances of a sustainable digital transformation.

Lack of digital skills and training

The entire transformation initiative may falter if you do not provide your team with the skills needed to use new technology. People unprepared or unable to adapt to new technology may become frustrated or disengaged, further hindering progress.

So, your business must develop and implement effective training programs to empower people. Investing in education and ongoing support facilitates the successful implementation of new technology. It fosters a culture of continuous learning and adaptation.


The above-mentioned challenges can become serious obstacles to your digital transformation without leadership and a strategy. To succeed, you will need a clear vision, the right technology and leadership, a strategy for addressing change resistance and training to help your team adjust. It’s important to note that digital transformation is not a one-time project but a process that changes with emerging technology, new market demands and shifting customer expectations. Finally, digital transformation is as much about mindset and culture as it is about technology. Above all, your organisation will need to maintain agility, responsiveness and proactivity.

Why choose CIO as a Service from RODIN?

Undergoing a digital transformation requires careful consideration of technology choices, staying updated with industry changes, and maximising user benefits. It’s a complex task that demands the guidance of an experienced executive who can steer the implementation to support your business growth.

RODIN’s CIO as a Service aims to align your digital initiatives with the business’ strategy so that you see real outcomes. We take the time to understand your business goals and IT infrastructure to build a strategic solution with minimal impact on your daily operations. Please visit our CIO as a Service page to discover how we can tailor technology solutions to meet your unique needs.

Related blogs

4 signs you need an IT strategy and roadmap

Top 5 ways CIO as a Service can benefit your organisation

From strategy to implementation: Your 6-step guide to building your IT roadmap

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Sign up to receive all the latest news updates straight into your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields