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Many of the largest and most successful companies in the world have either undergone, or are currently undergoing, a process known as a digital transformation. This is far more than just the latest corporate buzzword. A digital transformation is when a company actively transforms the way they do business, including their internal corporate culture, to put a focus on technology.

When done properly, companies have found that they can dramatically decrease waste, increase profit margins, boost sales, and outpace the competition in almost every way. The amazing success that companies of all types have found from performing a digital transformation makes it clear why so many companies want to follow their lead.

Digital transformations, however, have a surprisingly high failure rate. It is estimated that 70% of companies that begin a digital transformation will fail to complete it. This ends up costing them a lot of money without getting the desired results. For this reason, companies need to understand what types of barriers they are likely to face when conducting a digital transformation, and make sure they can overcome them, before starting.

Not Enough People with Technical Skills

IT Specialist
Gotta get with IT

When a company wants to change their entire culture and put a focus on using technology to drive success, it should be expected that the IT team will need to grow. Understanding that you need to have people with the right technical skills not only on your IT team, but also placed throughout the organization, is important.

Almost all companies that decide to go through a digital transformation will need to do at least some hiring of technical staff. If you are unwilling to take the time to put together the right team of technical experts, you are setting yourself up for failure. The ideal way to overcome this barrier is to take the time to not just hire technical employees, but to make sure many of them have experience working through a digital transformation in the past.

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Insufficient Budget

There is really no way around the fact that doing a digital transformation properly is going to require that you spend some money. The specific places where you spend the money will depend largely on your current situation, your end goals, and what industry you are in. Some specific examples of where many companies need to invest money into their digital transformation include:

  • Upgrading Computer Equipment
  • Having a Mobile App Developed
  • Hiring Experts
  • Migrating to Cloud Infrastructure

The bottom line is that a digital transformation means reimagining how your company works and putting technology at the forefront of everything you do. If you aren’t willing to spend the money to get it done right, attempting a digital transformation may actually cause more harm than good. The best way to overcome this barrier is to attain buy in from the company leadership and get the commitment to budget and resources to make the transformation a success.

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Siloed Company Culture

Business Silo
Silo down dirty shame

A digital transformation should not be seen as something that the IT team at a company is going to perform. Instead, it should be seen as something the entire company is engaging in together. Many companies have a very siloed culture where each department or area of business performs their roles separately, only working together where necessary.

While this type of department autonomy may have benefits in certain situations, it will make a digital transformation almost impossible. If your company has a siloed culture to begin with, you need to work hard to overcome this in order to make a digital transformation a success. This barrier can be eliminated by making sure that every department in the company has representation on the digital transformation leadership team. This will help to ensure all the departments are better able to work together toward a shared goal.

Risk Aversion

There is really no way around the fact that a digital transformation comes with some risk. When these types of efforts fail, they can cost the company a huge amount of time. In some cases, they even lead to the eventual failure of the company. That being said, however, not taking this type of risk comes with some major problems as well. If your competition successfully goes through a digital transformation, they will have a huge advantage over you for years to come.

Leadership teams can overcome risk aversion by making sure that they take the time to understand all aspects of a digital transformation, and commit to its success.

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Action Before Planning

Business strategy
One does not simply transform digitally

Perhaps the biggest barrier to digital transformation is trying to take action before planning out what your company’s digital transformation should look like. It is important to understand that a digital transformation is far more than just upgrading the technology that is used within your company. When done properly, a digital transformation will impact virtually every aspect of the organization, and truly transform the way things are done.

This requires a lot of planning and collaboration not only on the park of the technical teams, but with leaders from every area of the business. Taking the time to identify how technology should be used to drive the business forward now, and for at least the next five years, is critical to the success of any digital transformation. Of course, getting people to commit to this type of effort is not always easy.

To overcome this type of barrier, a company not only needs to have one person (or a group of people for larger companies) who are tasked with spearheading the digital transformation, but also significant buy in from company leadership.

Start Planning Your Digital Transformation Today

There is really no doubt that a digital transformation can help to push your company forward to reach all of your goals. There is also, however, little doubt that if you don’t do it right, it can be a costly mistake. Take the time to really learn about how your organization can implement a digital transformation, and how to plan to overcome common barriers, so that you can have the best chance at success possible!

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Michael Levanduski

Author Michael Levanduski

Michael Levanduski is a writer with over 20 years of experience working in the IT industry. He regularly writes for a variety of different publications, providing content on a wide range of different topics, including multiple different niches within the tech field. He lives in West Michigan with his family where he enjoys camping, hiking, and of course, writing.

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