Automation Strategy Consultants

3 Reasons Digital Transformation Initiatives Fail 70% Of The Time


Digital Transformation, Vision, Execution, Expectations

The idea of digital transformation is a hot topic for C-Suite executives and business owners. Not because it is a new or fresh topic but because of failures. This post will address how vision, execution, and expectations affect digital transformation efforts.

According to a recent survey of global executives by Harvard Business Review, only 20% rate their transformation strategies as effective. Also, McKinsey reports that 70% of complex, large-scale digital transformation change programs don’t reach their stated goals. That is an astounding 3 out of 4 efforts.

It can take years for an organization to recover from failure. So why do so many companies still struggle?

That’s the question we’ll answer in this post.

1. Lack of a clear vision

The digital transformation process is a difficult one. I know that as an industry professional myself. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with everything happening digitally in the world and then translate that into actionable change for your company’s business strategy. It makes sense – there are so many different channels out there now, each vying for our attention and trying new things all the time! But when you step back from what might seem like chaos at first glance (and take a deep breath), it becomes clear why companies fail during their transformations. It is a lack of vision before they start down this path towards modernization.

For the success of any project, there must be a clear vision that everyone understands. All stakeholders might not agree, but at least the organization should be aware of the vision whether they fully agree or not.

When building your vision, ensure its purpose is clear and translate the vision’s purpose into actionable tasks. Then find ways to communicate the vision and make it very visible frequently.

2. Poor execution

Many organizations are struggling to keep up with their digital transformation efforts. The main reason for this is that they have not adequately planned and executed their strategy without any issues. Poor execution of a plan can lead to missed deadlines, reduced budgets, higher expenses, organizational confusion, or even an unwillingness from employees who do not see eye-to-eye on company direction (or lack thereof).

Digital transformation can be a complicated process, and executives need to understand what they should expect. Executives need to consider all areas of the business and potential customer feedback and competitive threats.

Executives need to consider many factors when tackling digital transformation. They should look at all aspects of their business, from employees working with each other or even customers that are not engaging online anymore due to technological changes. Consider the effects on competitors because some companies might react more quickly than others who have been resisting change. What are they doing better than your company? Why? How?

Missed deadlines are one major reason for poor execution. Ensure you establish clear and firm deadlines and a way to coordinate deadlines between each stakeholder consistently.

3. Unrealistic expectations

Executives, leaders, and staff arrive at unrealistic expectations for many reasons but at the core is inadequate communication. The problem with expectations is that they are built on what’s communicated. Things will go wrong without practical communication skills.

We must be realistic when we start thinking about this process. Because if what you expected doesn’t happen, your business will suffer from that false hope.  For example, let me give you one from my experience with XYZ Corp, which went through its digital transformation and had some early success but ultimately failed in many ways primarily due to unrealistic expectations on behalf of management. The executive team was sure that there would be more productivity among employees and less computer downtime, which would lead them to make more money per second than before. Particularly during periods where work is slow or nonexistent because of an increased ability to scale up and down more effectively and efficiently.

Stakeholders and management levels often have unrealistic expectations regarding what is achievable within an expected timeframe. These unrealistic expectations can lead to project failure.

Unrealistic expectations that people have when implementing new technologies into their business processes or integrating them with other systems will bring unsatisfactory results. As you think about your plans away from this article, be realistic about what can happen in change management. Understand how long those changes will take to avoid getting too disappointed if everything doesn’t go as smoothly as planned!

To effectively manage the expectations of all stakeholders, make sure your plan includes objectives, goals, scope, expectations, roles and responsibilities, and change management. Do not just communicate your plan only once. Have an ongoing communication cadence and make sure there is an easily accessible and up-to-date Q&A posting.


Make digital transformation a priority and remove all possibilities of failure to create excellent value to serve your customer better.

If your goal is to Go Digital to create a better experience for your customer and quickly get it right, let’s talk.

We have helped our clients significantly improve their Go Digital initiatives, reduce manual processes, improve operational efficiency by 30%-50%, and double data accuracy.

Do you want to discuss your digital initiative? Through our website, you can contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help you review your options for greater digital results.

Charles Dents, President, Automation Strategy Consultants

President, Automation Strategy Consultants

Charles Dents

“Digital First Strategic Clarity – Guaranteed! We partner with companies to significantly increase operational efficiency and reduce OPEX by leveraging the latest industry expertise for digital strategy. Get what your business demands. The Best. Discover how you can increase operational efficiency 30%-50% and reduce operating expenses by 30%.“


get digital transformation insights today!
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

We'll send you regular insights into the very best Digital Transformation, Robotic Process Automation & Intelligent Automation industry news, the latest developments, plus powerful hints and tips.

Invalid email address
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.