Digital transformation projects are everywhere, but one in four fail

By Lucy Ingham

The number of companies undertaking digital transformation projects has surged dramatically in recent years, but according to research published today, a significant minority are failing.

Research undertaken by digital services company Econocom has found that 26% of digital transformation projects in the UK fail to realise their desired goals, suggesting that companies need to do more to ensure they can rely on such projects.

While many companies are seizing upon these types of initiatives as a means to future-proof their operations, Econocom’s research suggests that many are doing so without sufficient groundwork.

The company found that 51% of organisations cite a lack of understanding about key technologies as a reason for a project’s failure. 39% also said the cause was the selection of an inappropriate solution, while 31% saw lack of skills and 23% saw lack of budget as the cause.

“Digital transformation is an organisation-wide commitment that is costly and time intensive. Businesses need to make sure they’re choosing and implementing the right technology that will help them achieve their goals,” said Chris Labrey, MD, Econocom UK & IRL.

“This means consulting, not only with change and technology experts, but with staff and other stakeholders too. There is a definite drive to get this right, as well as find ways to mitigate any risk associated with the project, especially when it comes to technology investment,.”

Digital transformation projects continuing to surge

Despite many now beginning to see the phrase “digital transformation” as more of a buzzword than a clear course of action, it is clear that ever more companies are engaging in digital transformation projects.

Econocom’s research found that 62% of businesses in the UK were currently undertaking such projects, but other research covering larger areas of the world puts the number even higher.

For example, research by Zigurat Innovation School has found that 85% of businesses across Spain, Canada, the US, the UK, Italy and Colombia are currently implementing digital transformation projects.

Of these, almost 70% focused on using big data, while cloud computing and CRM came in second and third at 57% and 52% respectively. Emerging technologies that are less well established in the business space were less common, but still signigicant, with artificial intelligence used in 35% of projects, predictive systems at 33% and blockchain at 22%.

Read more: Digital transformation: Legacy IT for the past, present and future

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