Your Digital Transformation Will Fail

89% of CIOs believe that their organisation will be impacted by digital disruption in the coming decade.

In case you need a refresher, digital transformation is the adoption of, and investment in evolving technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touch point in the customer experience lifecycle.

Fail to Plan

The idea of digital transformation seems great in theory, but seems to fail in practice with more than two-thirds of digital transformation projects failing to meet expectations in 2015.

So, why are so many digital transformation plans failing?

Failing transformation plans can be attributed to disengaged senior management, consultants who over-promise and under-deliver, unmanageable expectations and high costs — but ultimately, it comes down to poor planning.

Think of digital transformation like a New Year’s resolution.

Without doubt, the most common resolution is to transform our bodies and get physically fit. It is also the #1 resolution that we fail at.


People set unrealistic expectations, put their faith in quick-fix plans and don’t commit to a long-haul programme.

Just like maintaining our weight-loss goals, digital transformation cannot be solved by following a 12-week plan — it is a lifestyle change.

There is no quick-fix to transformation, but there are a few things you can start doing now to get started. For starters, injecting a digital mindset into your corporation is the most important step towards your future digital health.

Can you lose weight by surrounding yourself by a bunch of burger-eating, beer-slamming heavies who count down the hours until they can head to the pub? No.

Surround yourself with people who share your vision and can help guide you to your goals.

This is not an article about how to kick-start your digital transformation plan, however. This is to highlight the shockingly bad truth about the cost of failed transformation plans and why every brand, agency and corporation needs to think about the long-term effects of poor digital planning.

Plan to Fail

The numbers are shocking.

We scoured the internet to see just how many companies were failing at their digital transformation goals, and the numbers were shocking.

Here are just a few of the statistics we had to share:

As many as 80% of UK companies are only ‘responding’ to digital developments rather than being proactive and 72% of mid-tier UK firms are “awaiting the success of a digital technology before adopting it”.²
Digital technologies in the world’s top 10 economies can add a combined $1.36 trillion to their GDP in 2020 — but as many as two-thirds of digital transformation projects fail (Accenture,Genpact).
The 2014 State of Digital Transformation found that 88% of executives and digital strategists stated that their company is undergoing a formal digital transformation effort in 2014. Yet, only 25% had mapped out the digital customer journey.
Over 80% of all Customer Experience Management (CxM) projects fail. There are three key mistakes that CMOs can avoid to make sure their project is one of the 18% that succeed.
CMOs assume the “the project” has a beginning, a middle and an end. Remember that bit about lifestyle change — this is the problem with the CMO quick-fix mindset.
CMO’s put their trust in a technology provider and believe once the transformation plan is implemented, it will function as smoothly as the demo. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for digital transformation, people.
There is a serious lack of planning for the period after the tech solution is launched — This is where the lifestyle change comes into effect, and why not preparing for the long-haul is detrimental to digital transformation.
According to a recent study, more than two thirds of digital transformation projects entered into fail to meet expectations and large companies are dumping nearly £258 billion a year on digital business transformations that fail to deliver what they promise.
The biggest obstacle to digital transformation is a lack of knowledge, cited by 50% or survey respondents from seven major industries and the #1 challenge for four of the seven, according to Accenture.
89% of CIOs believe that their organisation will be impacted by digital disruption in the coming decade, and almost half (47%) foreseeing a significant loss of market share, According to KPMG’s CIO Survey 2015.
One in ten (11%) thinks their organisation will be little or not affected at all by the digital disruption.
34% of companies surveyed are already disrupted and 28% expect this to happen within the next two years. Only 4% of CIOs thinks their company will never be disrupted.

Do you feel better about your current transformation plan? Probably not.

Want to chat about your digital transformation plan?

Email Lab’s award-winning team at