15 Digital Transformation Mistakes to Avoid

Digital Transformation

15 Digital Transformation Mistakes to Avoid

Digital transformation is the rage, yet 78% of companies fail while implementing digital initiatives. Many companies that actively start the program falter after a few months. Here are 15 mistakes that contribute to digital transformation failure. Avoiding these mistakes during your digital transformation program will help your business enjoy the plethora of benefits associated with digital push. 

Here in this post I have come up with some practical solutions (I have not covered the importance of partnering with a leading digital transformation services. Will talk about this in another blog) that will help enterprises negotiate the 15 digital transformation mistakes. 

Let’s get started with the mistakes and solutions to overcome. 

#1: Don’t focus on the short-term

A prime point to remember with respect to digital transformation is it’s a long haul and not a 3 to 6 months stint. Complete transformations may even take some years to get fully implemented for a few companies. So, before getting started with a digital transformation program, always focus on the long-term goals to extract the fullest of its benefits.


Plan for the long-term and see through what’s coming in the future. Partnering with a digital transformation expert will help you identify the roadblocks and steps to succeed.

#2: Don’t forget customers

When it comes to digitally transforming the business, we could witness lots of companies focusing on technology rather than people involved in the process. Especially, many enterprises fail to consider the customers during the transition. Remember, your customers should be aware of the changes you’re going to bring to your business or you have lose them if they can’t adapt to the sudden advancements. 


The best way to resolve this challenge is by including the customers in the process of debriefing digital transformation initiatives and listening to their feedback. Also, explaining them to need to go for a change will persuade them to align with your business goals. 

#3: Don’t forget employees (includes C-level executives too)

Digital disruptions not only impact customers but also employees significantly. Most companies that have started with digital initiatives successfully have faced a stiff challenge from employees as they’re not willing to adapt to the new technologies and solutions. According to some reports, in a few companies, the C-level executives don’t prefer changing the way they work as they’re comfortable with traditional/current systems/technology. So, things can easily backfire and could ruin your RoI. Make sure everyone is on the same page. 


Try different ways to understand your employees’ concerns before setting out for digitally transforming your business. Listening to their challenges in adapting to new tools and technology will help you come up with a transformation program that won’t backfire. 

#4: Don’t forget culture setbacks

Defining a digital culture is important and this is the #1 challenge faced by most enterprises today. Changing the business culture that an organization has inherited for a long time can be detrimental as most often people involved in the cultural change may be against the implementations. So, defining the cultural change in the very beginning is equally important for digital transformation success


Your IT team plays a critical role in identifying the cultural challenges of the company. Adapting a new culture can be extremely difficult and could bring down the productivity level significantly. In some cases, it can even impact your brand. Take the IT team’s inputs to understand the challenges with respect to culture adoption and get started with your digital transformation program. 

#5: Don’t lose focus when setting priorities

Prioritizing the goals is extremely important as losing focus on them would lead to a business catastrophe. Many companies that start with the digital transformation program fail to focus on the priorities believing it’s on the roll and will work out perfectly. But, according to many reports, the exact opposite happens, which surprises even the smart business heads.  


The best way to solve this challenge is by developing a clear and definite roadmap of the entire program so that you can avoid any threats arising in the future. So, start with setting up priorities that can be scaled up in the future. This could avoid digital transformation failures. 

#6: Don’t decide on funding too early

Budget planning plays a crucial role in the success of the digital transformation and having copious funds as a backup would come in handy during sudden changes. As the process is a long haul, having a detailed discussion on the factors involved and the cost to be incurred is recommended to avoid the bankruptcy of your business. 


The digital transformation of your enterprise is a continuous process and takes a lot of effort and money. One time investment won’t help and you have to work on the budgeting part hard to meet the growing needs during the digital transformation set and implementation. 

#7: Don’t set unrealistic deadlines

Another major mistake most companies do is setting up deadlines for the digital transformation program. As the digital push is not going to be a one time set up coming up with a clear deadline of 3 or 6 months will never work for any business. It is a slow process and it might even take some years for some companies to conquer. 


Be open for scaling up and never set a date for completing your digital transformation program. It is a continuous process and requires continuous enhancements to beat the cut-throat competition. So, if you plan for a deadline, have dates for interim goals rather than having a finite date for completion because it practically won’t happen. 

#8: Don’t forget to involve IT in your Digital Transformation program

This is one of the most underestimated ideas most enterprises fail to consider. Remember, it is the IT team that understands the complete ecosystem of your business and employee adoptions. Forgetting to include IT in the digital transformation discussions could play spoilsport during the implementation phase and could derail your digital transformation program. 


Involving your IT team in the digital transformation kickoff meetings can really boost the success of your business reinvention. As IT understands your customers, employees, and software everyone is comfortable with, they can help a lot during the budget and digital planning, and implementation part. 

#9: Don’t try to fix everything

Many companies believe digital transformation is about transforming everything in the business, even something working extremely well for them. It’s not true. Change only when needed and not everything. Reinventing a process that was not causing any significant roadblock to your business could increase your budget, leading to a dip in business performance. 


Have a well-defined roadmap on what the goal is and what needs to change in order to achieve that. Change only the legacy systems and processes that are impacting the business productivity rather than trying to force change everything in between. 

#10: Don’t rush your Digital Transformation program 

Rushing your digital transformation program could only lead to a potential disaster. It takes years to implement the program and rushing will make lose the potential benefits from it. Plan your program periodically and go slowly. 


Starting right from the planning phase to execution, digital transformation should be approached slowly as this involves mammoth efforts, money, etc. Rushing up can lead to derailment leaving a big hole in your pocket. 

#11: Don’t stop communicating

Another prime reason why most companies fail during digital transformation is poor communication between top-level and low-level employees. Failing to brief the digital advancements and its benefits to employees and other stakeholders involved in the program will lead to definite failure. 


Since you plan to start your digital transformation program, you have to continuously talk to everyone involved in the process. Be it customers, vendors, partners or employees, briefing them constantly on the advancements and changes that is going to impact their day-to-day routine would help you enjoy a successful digital transformation program. 

#12: Don’t rely only on your in-house team

Though it’s not a common problem, some companies do see this as a roadblock for digital transformation success. The problem is the lack of resources and skill set at the times of scaling up the digital push. This could at times if not taken seriously could ruin the RoI of the program. 


This could be tricky and not applicable to all companies. But, many companies still lookout for technology partners to bridge the skill gap or lack of resources. With this approach, the in-house team can focus on other high priority tasks associated with digital transformation and partners will take care of their digital transformation strategy and implementation programs. 

#13: Don’t miss out compliance with regulations

It’s a definite yes that the entire program should be approved by the compliance team. If the team can’t keep up the pace with the advancements, things might take a U-turn and hurt your business. Digital transformation with compliance is a must. 


If your company doesn’t have any need for process or technology transformation, it is better to stay away from this program. This is where the compliance team comes into the picture. They understand the significance of this program and can help you with the right options to opt for or against your digital transformation program initiatives. 

#14: Don’t under-rate organizational support

Some companies don’t value the organization factors during digital modernization and this easily backfires. Considering the infrastructure, agility, objective, goals of the digital transformation program before setting your hands on the program. If you don’t have a clear objective, it is better to stay away as this can easily eat up all your time and money. 


Remember, digital transformation involves a lot of things and if your business can’t hold on to the major changes or don’t have the right architecture, you would be lost. So, it is better to consult with an expert before planning for your digital transformation program. 

#15: You think you’re done (but you’re not)

Many top-level executives believe digital transformation is a one-time haul and stop focusing on scaling up part. This could only mean disaster to your business. Transforming your business using digital advancements is a long-term process and requires constant attention to scale up further to sustain the momentum of success. 


Once starting the digital initiatives never ever think of halting the process as this could potentially impact your business productivity, growth. It is an ever-evolving process and makes sure you’ve the right team or expert partner to scale up the program for beating the competition and delivering amazing customer experience. 

I believe by now you’d have realized the potential mistakes you should avoid when planning for a digital transformation program.