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Facing and Conquering Failure in Digital Transformation

Part 3 of 4 in Digital Transformation Series

Failure in red with a bridge to learning success in GreenManufacturers looking for innovation, versatility, agility, and increased profits have moved quickly to begin embracing the digital world with IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and smart factory processes. They have understood that the path to success is paved by digital transformation. However, statistics of digital transformation success aren’t great.

In fact, they can be downright bleak. But sometimes you can set and measure all the KPIs in the world and still come up short, and unfortunately, the price of failure in digital transformation endeavors can be high.

Why is this failure rate so steep? It’s called transformation for a reason. The amount of change required to succeed is great. Therefore, problems can be caused in various ways, but some of the most often cited are:

  1. Not having a digital-centered mindset

We talked about this in part one of the series. Peoples’ beliefs about new technologies and digital change can significantly influence their engagement in, or withdrawal from, the company’s initiatives. If employees view digital transformation as an opportunity for further innovation and growth on their part, they will embrace it. However, if they don’t understand the technology or what their role is in this change, they can become overwhelmed by or even threatened by this intrusion of technology.

  1. Unclear goals or expectations

Do you know what you want to accomplish with your company’s digital transformation? Are you only making this change because of the competition? Have you taken time to really study and understand what you need? Do you think this is just an extension of your IT department, or do you only plan to have a digital strategy in certain departments?

For your digital transformation to be a success, you need to know what you need to improve throughout your enterprise. Setting KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will help, as we discussed in part two of this series.

  1. Lack of commitment and leadership

Support must start at the top, and throughout the enterprise, there must be buy-in. Commitment is necessary to energize and build confidence in your employees during this tumultuous change. Everyone needs to be engaged and working towards the goal, from executives to workers on the shop floor. This is because each level of worker has different insights as to where the enterprise could become more efficient and productive. But if your upper management isn’t focused on this change, no one else will be. Being committed and confident will take this transformation where it needs to go.

  1. Skill and talent deficits

This was also mentioned in part one of the series. Your technology, regardless of how fanciful it is, will not work well if you don’t empower your employees to use it.

Training to understand new technology, data skills, and cloud skills is necessary to boost employee productivity, confidence, and morale.

  1. Falling into the tech trap

Don’t pick things just because a competitor has it. Not all businesses have to have every bell and whistle in order to see tremendous growth in efficiency, productivity, and revenue. Only pick tools that will satisfy customer needs and ultimately meet your business plans and goals.

Types of Failure

It’s also important to point out that not all digital transformation failures are the same. They fall into three different categories:

Regression- using digital transformation initiatives that are not progressive.

Underperformance- when sufficient effort isn’t put into projects that can create better value for the business.

New tech initiatives failures- attempts to launch new digital products or services that don’t work out and are abandoned.

So why begin a digital transformation if it will only lead to failure?

Because if you know how to avoid potential failures, the benefits far outweigh the risk.

There are various ways to avoid these blunders, but here are a few specific action points to help your transformation be a successful one.

  1. Have a clear and specific business case- keep it brief and realistic, concentrating on overall cost (including things like training, upgrading, and third-party support) and well-defined transformation goals.
  2. Set priorities- if the initiative doesn’t further one of the company’s strategic goals, remove it.
  3. Involve teams and foster collaboration- consistent communication, trust, and transparency are necessary for digital transformation. Teams should have a wide array of departments and should be included at every step of the process. Because digital transformation will impact the enterprise as a whole, it’s important for the weight of the burden to be carried by all. Have departments share best practices or even encourage customer feedback.
  4. Focus on customers- digital transformation isn’t just about technology. It requires human effort and innovation. The digital culture should enhance the customer experience, allowing the technology to shoulder the work that employees don’t need to, thereby allowing employees to build rapport with the customers.
  5. Take your time- it isn’t a race. Technology is ever changing; the world of manufacturing is fast paced, but rushing isn’t the answer. Research what your business needs and which vendor can best provide it for you. Take time to train and retrain your employees. Slow and steady will win the race if you let it.

How Godlan Can Help

Godlan consultants can explain why Prophecy IoT is a good fit for your enterprise and how it can give you the flexibility and innovation you desire. Godlan consultants will take the time to get to know your business and its needs so that your digital transformation can be a success. Contact our team today at or by calling 586.464.4400.

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