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Why enterprise digital transformation efforts stall

Stephanie Overby | Sept. 21, 2015
Most enterprises are likely to hit a roadblock after the initial stage of digital adoption. Everest Group calls this phenomenon the ‘digital trough.’

How companies can dig out of the digital trough

And that can land businesses in a digital ditch. And if they don’t overcome the issues that led them there, things will only get worse. “You can go down a spiral of sub-scale investments, sub-optimal returns, and enhanced doubt and scrutiny, until the whole ‘digital thing’ dies a stillborn death,” Sengupta warns. But there are steps IT can take to extricate the business from the digital trough—or avoid it altogether.

“The most important thing is to have a clear view of your strategic objectives,” says Sengupta. “Are you doing things for efficiency or are you doing things for growth?” Having that clarity makes is easier to identify appropriate metrics for digital efforts.

In addition, digital transformation project teams must be cross-functional and accountable to a set of common outcomes. “Most organizations get the first part right, but in the end it is human nature to steer towards their own individual incentive structures,” Sengupta says. “Driving alignment is important at every level—from the strategic down to the individual.” IT must also collaborate with the business to create an end-to-end vision for any digital improvement, including the business process and organizational changes required for them to deliver business value.

Finally, IT must set realistic expectations for the business about the potential hurdles in digital transformation. “Some of these challenges are bound to come up,” says Sengupta. “It is important for everyone to anticipate them and be prepared instead of expecting things to change overnight.”

 

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