How to make your digital transformation a success

A man touching a device screen, illustrating digital transformation

Unsuccessful digital projects are common and often come at a high cost to unsuspecting businesses. Matt Jenkins, head of consulting at Footdown, argues that company culture is the key to making your digital transformation a success

An old aphorism says that of all forms of wisdom, hindsight is the least merciful, the most unforgiving. Many business leaders will probably agree when it comes to digital transformation.

A recent report from Accenture found 80 per cent of digital projects fail. This failure comes at a steep price. A similar study from Genpact revealed that large organisations invest over £258 billion a year in unsuccessful digitalisation projects.

But despite these bleak statistics, businesses still need to progress through digital transformation to prevent becoming obsolete and to continue their growth.

Over 50 per cent of senior executives have put digitisation at the top of their priorities list and see it as a critical element in generating new revenue, improving customer services and increasing overall organisational performance.

So how do business leaders turn hindsight into foresight that reveals insight and ensure a successful digital transformation process?

1. Assess

Before launching a sophisticated strategy for digital transformation, assess the company’s capacity for change. Identify the potential obstacles and the main influencers who can drive this critical process forward.

Thanks to technology, executives can select from a range of diagnostic tools that cut through the noise and deliver razor-sharp corporate intelligence in a matter of hours.

Conduct a ‘full scan’ of your company. Gain an overview of organisational performance, structure, processes, employee engagement and potential dysfunctions that could interfere with plans.

2. Commit

Most organisations assume digital transformation means making staff more tech-savvy with new tools.

In fact, digital transformation is about integrating digital tools into workflows and every aspect of your business. The goal should be enabling people to improve customer acquisition and services, raising employee engagement, enhancing organisational performance and increasing market competitiveness.

So instead of introducing new technologies and procedures just because everyone else is, try to fully understand what challenges your employees are struggling with and identify the right solution to improve those processes.

Employees will quickly see the value of the new tools and systems and champion the transformation throughout the organisation.

Simply put, digital transformation processes can succeed as long as the employees embrace the new culture and mindset.

If you don’t focus on behaviour, culture and decision-making, digital transformation simply cannot deliver the desired business outcomes.

A successful digital transformation strategy has a coherent vision and strives to find the right balance between innovation, structure and creativity, rallying all employees around the envisioned change.

3. Adapt

Ensure new digital ways of working create positive long-term habits and increase team performance.

You will need to adapt your leadership skills to encourage everyone to adopt new ways of working. Remember, organisational culture doesn’t change by decree.

At the same time, organisations are live organisms that adjust and change with every new business strategy or market trend.

Make sure the digital transformation process aligns with the wider growth plan and can cope with constant changes dictated by the business landscape.

Equipped with this knowledge, you can define and nurture a company culture that drives success across the business.

Articles relating to digital transformation

Innovate or sustain? Why savvy digital age businesses do both

Business transformation beyond the digital

Digital-first strategy reaps rewards

Become a member of the IoD

The IoD has a range of memberships for directors, founders and co-founders, providing all the resources and facilities needed to enhance your business. To find out more about membership offerings and to join today, visit

About author

Matt Jenkins

Matt Jenkins

Matt Jenkins is head of consulting at Footdown. With a background in design, marketing and consultancy, he has over 15 years of business transformation and change to his name

No comments

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.