Digital transformation failure is a business failure

Despite spending millions of dollars on digital transformation in the past year, enterprises still feel they are at significant risk of being left behind by their industries.

This was revealed in a survey of 450 heads of digital transformation for enterprises across the US, UK, France, and Germany. It found that 80% are at risk of being left behind by digital transformation, while 54% believe organisations that don’t keep up with digital transformation will go out of business or be absorbed by a competitor within four years.

IT leaders are also at risk, with 73% believing they could be fired as the result of a poorly implemented or failing digital project.

>See also: UK wasting £37 billion a year on failed agile IT projects

The disruption of industry facing all businesses is a challenge that digital transformation – if implemented in the right way – can overcome. Indeed, 89% of enterprises said their industry is either being disrupted by digital technology, or such disruption is only a matter of time, even after spending an average of $5.7 million on digital transformation in the past year.

Respondents overwhelmingly agreed on the ultimate goal of digital transformation, with 95% revealing that it should be giving customers and end-users a truly unique experience

The challenge is constant and unrelenting, as the survey found: 80% of IT leaders are under pressure to be constantly improving their organisation’s customer experience through digital innovation, but 90% of digital projects fail to meet expectations and only deliver incremental improvements

Databases are currently a clear handicap to this improvement, as 84% have had digital projects cancelled, delayed, or reduced in scope because of the limitations of their legacy database.

“Our study puts a spotlight on the harsh reality that despite allocating millions of dollars towards digital transformation projects, most companies are only seeing marginal returns and realising this trajectory won’t enable them to compete effectively in the future,” said Matt Cain, CEO of Couchbase.

>See also: 5 factors driving digital transformation

“With 87% of IT leaders concerned that their revenue will drop if they don’t significantly improve their customers’ experiences, it’s critical that they focus on projects designed to increase customer engagement. Key to succeeding here is selecting the right underlying database technology that can leverage dynamic data to its full potential across any platform and deliver the personal, highly responsive experiences that customers are demanding today.”

Factors affecting digital transformation

The survey found that 90% of IT leaders said their plans to use data for new digital services were limited by factors such as the complexity of using multiple technologies or a lack of resources, as well as reliance on legacy database technology.

Survey respondents identified specific issues with legacy databases that could lead to digital projects underperforming:

• 86% cited a lack of agility when developing new applications.
• 61% were unable to scale applications to suit demand.

>See also: Mass disruption caused to UK businesses from third party failures

• Enterprises have to wait an average of 28 hours before their databases could take advantage of data, which makes real-time data use an unattainable goal.
• Only 19% believe their current database would be up to the task of supporting modern technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and Internet of Things.

“Historically, some enterprises haven’t done well at using data to improve customer experience, which is why digitally native companies have made some giant inroads in traditionally brick & mortar businesses,” said John A. De Goes, CTO of SlamData Inc.

“If all enterprises want to thrive, they need the confidence, ability, and technology to reinvigorate the customer experience. They need a revolution in the way they use data, to transform the customer experience and provide a data-driven way of truly engaging with end-users.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...