Organisations jumping head first into digital transformation projects – with wasteful results

Organisations are set to waste millions as they try and force through digital transformation initiatives, according to a new report from Couchbase.

The study, titled ‘Are Organisations Realising Their Digital Revolutions?’, polled 450 heads of digital transformation in enterprises across the UK, US, France and Germany, and found 95% saw digital transformation as an ‘insurmountable’ task.

On average, organisations spent $24 million on digital transformation projects over the past year, while spend in the coming 12 months will be towards $28m. Yet more than half (52%) said a ‘fixation’ on such initiatives had raised the risk of rushing into ill-conceived projects.

When it came to why organisations were moving in this direction, responding to competitors was seen as the most important, cited by 35% of those polled. Around one in five (23%) said they moved because of changes in regulation, while a similar number (19%) cited pressure from customers. 20% said their digital initiatives were based on an original idea from the business. IT drives these initiatives predominantly, well ahead of C-suite executives, then marketing and logistics.

So what has been causing these issues? Technological problems are noted – 87% of those polled said they had to scale back their application plans to ensure they worked in IoT and mobile environments, while just over one in four (29%) said they can use data in real-time.

Yet there is a personal cost to these projects – 83% of respondents said they feared losing their jobs if an initiative failed.

“We are entering the era of the massively interactive enterprise where every part of an organisation, from sales and marketing to HR, finance and logistics, is built around engaging digital experiences,” said Matt Cain, CEO of Couchbase. “The revolutionary potential of digital transformation will have a hugely positive impact for those organisations that can do it well. However, the pressure to transform at speed means organisations have a higher risk of taking a rushed, reactive approach, driven by the fear that the organisation will lose relevant, that results in substandard experiences and wasted investments.

“Transformation is not a destination,” Cain added. “It’s a continuous process that, at its best, is proactive, driven by the needs of the business as a whole, and underpinned by the right data infrastructure. By adopting this approach, and not letting the pressure faze them, organisations can join the ranks of the leading 25%.”

 

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