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Why digital transformation fails and 14 things you can do to succeed

It is well documented that over 70% of digital transformation projects fail. At ICS we believe that this failure rate can be dramatically improved. In doing so, this will release resources and pressures on IT professionals who are often left to carry the can.

The truth is, that despite digital transformation projects often sitting as the sole responsibility of the IT department, failure often occurs due to a lack of realisation within the business of how digital projects can succeed. For a digital project to truly succeed, the culture of an organisation needs to change through a coordinated approach, a clear change management strategy and a plan for building capability within an organisation.

As a non-profit membership organisation, our focus is to help all professionals and organisations to use IT better. We’ve been busy developing a number of initiatives to help you succeed at digital transformation, particularly with regard to capability planning.

Developing talent and skills throughout the organisation is one of the most important factors for success in a digital change effort. So where do you start?

According to the McKinsey Global Survey 2016, digital transformation projects are 150% more successful when we redefine individuals’ roles and responsibilities so they align with a transformation’s goals. This can help clarify the roles and capabilities the organisation needs.

Those who bridge potential gaps between the traditional and digital parts of the business are the people most likely to help foster stronger internal capabilities among colleagues. These team members help translate and integrate new digital methods and processes into existing ways of working.

These integrators are business agile because they typically have experience on the business side and also understand the technical aspects and business potential of digital technologies. They can see the bigger picture and understand that, done correctly, digital transformation will reduce the mundane parts of a role and free up capability for more interesting and challenging work for most staff.

Companies who have completed successful transformations have a better-funded and more robust approach to talent than others do. Transformational success is 300% more successful when organisations have invested appropriately in digital talent.

The report goes on to identify 8 key factors which cumulatively help to make a 300% improvement possible. To help you, our members, get the most of your membership we have outlined these factors below along with the ICS resource available to help you address these areas. All of them are available either free (e.g. CareerPlus) or at a reduced rate to all members.

1. Leadership development – Offering leadership development programmes and business agility courses focused on leading cross-functional teams can improve success by a factor of 210% 

Resources: ICS Leadership Development Programme, Mastering Flow Fundamentals course for business agility

2. Learning specific opportunities - Offering individual learning modules to develop specific skills can improve success by a factor of 140%  

Resources: Certificate in Business Analysis, ICDL Workforce - digital skills, ICS professional certification

3. Learning opportunities - general - Offering multi-session learning programmes to develop employees' knowledge and training in new behaviours and mind-sets can improve success by a factor of 160% 

Resources: ICS member events & conferencesICS member resource libraries, Mastering Flow Fundamentals course for business agility

4. Skill building requirements - Defining which skill building programmes are necessary to run can improve success by a factor of 170%

Resource: CareerPlus assessment reports

5. Skills gap assessment – Quantifying the gap between current and needed skills to deliver digital products and services can improve success by a factor of 170%

Resource: CareerPlus assessment reports

6. Recruitment goals - Setting recruitment goals based on specific skill sets can improve success by a factor of 180% 

Resource: CareerPlus bespoke job profile creator

7. Skills identification – Identifying the skills required to deliver digital products and services can improve success by a factor of 190%

Resource: CareerPlus - self assessment tool

8. Management development & coaching - Offering programmes to develop coaching skills and new ways of working can improve success by a factor of 190%

Resources: ICS Management Development Programme, CareerPlus – informal CPD activities

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