As originally published by Nick Van Weerdenburg
Change is difficult, so most companies pull the bandage slowly, hoping to avoid the hard, painful part – especially with regard to digital transformation. But in the corporate world, cautious change inevitably leads to entropy. Progress gets made in one department at a time, at the expense of others. Leaders turn over, priorities shift, plans fall apart and the desired results never happen. The bandage never really comes off.
I see this happen a lot in companies that say they want to transform their digital customer experience – across all industries we work with. The board or the shareholders might not embrace a truly digital-first strategy or understand what the end-state transformation goal actually is. Instead, they end up digitizing the past, refreshening a longstanding brand with a new storefront in a doomed effort to maintain business-as-usual.
These companies start with a well-meaning internal innovation team. They preach agility, then spend months researching the problem and consulting internal stakeholders, all the while trying to stay close to their comfort zone of existing practices. They write reports, they create roadmaps, run design-thinking workshops and come up with a solution … and then throw it over the wall to IT and wash their hands of it. Nine months later, the team is busy executing the new plan, but, with no internal champion, it can’t innovate. Due to the chaos and complexity of the project, the company burns through its budget and the project becomes a sad statistic. In fact, 95% of corporate digital transformations fail outright or produce diluted results, according to one recent study.