Digital transformation failures bring new opportunities for IT leaders

Research from Citrix has revealed that three in four IT leaders (77%) see opportunities for success in past digital transformation failures

Citrix’s ‘Vitreous World’ survey found that 43% of IT decision makers have learned from previous experiences of digital transformation programmes, and understand how they can use lessons to their advantage moving forwards.

Meanwhile, almost a third (29%) revealed that failure led to the identification of a new business requirement or focus.

Defining failure

When asked how they defined ‘failure’ in the context of digital transformation, respondents were divided, with commonly cited factors including:

  • exceeding budget (41%);
  • lack of flexibility to suit evolving business requirements (37%);
  • unmet or absent set expectations (35%);
  • unfinished projects (35%).

While overall experiences with digital transformation seemed to vary, over half (51%) of respondents indicated that they have been ‘burned’ before by projects that didn’t go as planned or didn’t deliver.

Conversely, 41% of respondents who have only worked on one major digital transformation programme said that while it did not go to plan, it was still successful overall, with value opportunities being found.

Mark Sweeney, regional vice-president, UK & Ireland at Citrix, said: “It is useful to understand that while most IT decision makers have worked on a failed digital transformation programme in the past, many recognise the experience was still of personal value to them and represented a significant opportunity in their careers.”

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Current confidence

Despite challenges being common, the majority (92%) of IT leaders reported feeling confident that the digital transformation project they are working on now will deliver against expectations of the board and/or C-suite.

For those with experience with just one project, 20% of respondents reported feeling ‘very confident’ in current or future programme delivery.

Meanwhile, this rose to 65% for those with 10 to 13 digital transformation projects under their belt.

Sweeney added: “While no-one will aspire to be associated with failures, it is beneficial to know that IT leaders recognise the learnings they can take from previous projects that didn’t go to plan.

“Decision makers must continue to take these experiences with them, trusting in their skills and the technology available today to continually undertake new programmes for the benefit of their organisation.”

500 UK-based IT decision makers, within organisations employing over 250 people, were surveyed by Citrix.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.