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What Makes Digital Transformation Successful?

by | Sep 29, 2021

70% of digital transformation projects fail…

It’s a statistic you can’t avoid when talking about digital transformation. But, when you dig in a little deeper, at least 50% of projects aren’t necessarily failures; they just didn’t have the transformational outcomes that the organization was hoping to achieve. The tools were implemented, but the impact was lackluster. This leaves a lot of people asking “Why?”

Research and post-implementation analysis tell us that failure is not necessarily due to the tool, but due to the fact that people are not taking the time to evaluate how work and processes can be enhanced when they are built. Instead of focusing on how outcomes can be better achieved with the new options provided by the tools, they digitize the existing process.

When going digital, the outcomes will never be exceptional unless you take the time to evaluate how processes can be simplified because they are digital.

There are an abundance of online resources and books available that discuss why organizations fail at digital transformation (and a few that even try to outline a framework for doing it right…). We’ve done a lot of research on this topic and have distilled a few bits of wisdom on how we can work together to achieve better outcomes with Document Lifecycle Automation. Here’s a few tips we’ve picked up along the way:


1. Know where you’re starting

  • Identify your existing tools and software in use.
  • Identify gaps in technology/tools you might need to acquire.
  • Identify current and past digitization efforts.
  • Identify recurring business processes.
  • Identify resources – transformation is Labor/Time Intensive!
  • Identify a High Customer Visibility/Impact POC or Pilot.
  • Competitive/Industry Analysis – who else has done this in your industry or process?
  • Set operational goals so you know when you have succeeded.


2. Change Your Culture 

  • Organizational culture must accept if not celebrate change.
  • Implement small. It is okay to fail small.
  • Establish a feedback loop.
  • Identify the primary resister and get their input.
  • Remove unnecessary complexity.
  • Focus on outcomes. Define WHY before you define WHAT.


3. Empower your employees

  • Stakeholders are in from each impacted department.
  • Everything is on the table – no “we’ve always done it this way”.
  • Leadership must be actively involved and known to be involved.
  • Everyone contributes to process improvement.


Digital Transformation is a big topic, but its success hinges on your ability to adapt your operations to keep up with rapid market changes.  You can begin this process by challenging your stakeholders to answer these questions:

  1. If the digital tools were available, where would you use them?
  2. What would be the expected outcomes?
  3. What would be a “blue sky” outcome?

When your team begins to think about HOW they work and not just what they are supposed to do or have always done – you are starting down the path of digital transformation. At the end of the day, success is a team that is challenged to look for better outcomes and empowered to share or even implement their ideas.

If you don’t have the resources or experience to uncover your “Whys?,” Western Integrated Systems does. We use Voice of the Customer workshops to bring out the whys, the workarounds, the tedious but necessary tasks and the common pain points across the stakeholders and user groups. Call, email or simply fill out a form on our website and our team will walk you through the next steps towards a successful digital transformation.

Written by WIS



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