Digital Transformation Projects Have an 84% Chance of Failure; Are You Ready to Failure or Succeed?

Would You Invest If You Knew the Investment Had a High Likelihood of Failure?

If I were to tell you that I had an investment opportunity for you and the probability of you making money was 16% or less, how likely would you be to invest in it? But if I told you that the investment opportunity had a 90% chance of returning your investment, might you be more likely to want to invest?

What’s interesting is that digital transformation is all around us. We can’t help but be impacted in our person lives, from smart phones, smart TVs, apps (think taxi’s vs. Lyft), Siri, Alexa and Google Home. In business, it’s clear that customers want to engage with business in digital and mobile channels. Businesses need to make the transition to be competitive and survive. Yet according to Consultancy.uk* and Bruce Rogers** who wrote Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders, 84% of businesses undergoing digital transformation are likely to fail. 

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Having been at this game for a while, the statistics reminded me of stats from nearly 20 years ago when the topic was CRM and ERP. Though they are not exactly the same, they have many of the same elements. Digital transformation, innovation and CRM and ERP implementations are IT implementation of people, process and technology. What they have in common is the use of technology to make scalable processes that were once manual. The advantages among many, were higher productivity (cost savings) but also providing better customer-facing experiences (revenue generating.) Going back through my old papers about CRM and ERP failure rates,*** I saw many of the same type of stats predicting similar failure rates for digital transformation projects are being predicted today**** (and by many prominent groups, including IDC, Gartner Group and Forrester Research.)

Things that make you go hmmmm. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

When Will Organizational Change Management and Culture Change Be Taken Seriously?

The stats show since the late 1990’s – early 2000’s until now, when Culture Change (CC), Organizational Change Management (OCM) and Behavioral Change (BC) is missing from a project, there are issues, yet it’s still not “fashionable.” Perhaps the lack of fashionability is from an old paradigm stemming from the command and control type leadership that doesn’t deem people as an important aspect of the business transformation, whether its CRM, ERP or Digital Transformation. Perhaps it stems from leadership that doesn’t know there’s a whole science and set of CC and OCM methodologies that go along with IT implementations. Perhaps they have never been shown the value of that OCM and CC can bring, so they still don’t think it’s important enough to invest in. Perhaps it’s a matter of showing people that it works and makes a difference!

The Time for Change is Now

The 4th industrial revolution challenges most of our existing mental models. What this means is that cultural change is essential to enable and execute successfully, any business / organizational / digital transformation. The key is having a plan, as well as, having developed tools and process for culture change and organizational change management which includes, but is not limited to having a:

  1. Communication plan and regular communication cadence
  2. Leadership and stakeholder involvement and engagement
  3. Training and skill development for the future state of the business and
  4. Organizational readiness and adoption on a continuing basis of the ongoing changes.

And of course, underneath each of these very simplistic groupings is a deep set of assumptions, tools, methodology and business-driven outcomes. So digital transformation isn’t uniquely about technology. It is about having the right digital strategy to ultimately transform a business to achieve higher objectives. This type of digital transformation must be built along with the human capital component, including skill sets, as well as, a cultural adoption of changing the way we do business. So what it boils down to is evolving behaviors within the organization, both from a leadership point of view as well as middle level managers to all employees.

Being Stuck in the OCM Adoption Chasm Will Cause Digital Transformation Failure

What is seems like, referencing one of my favorite people and author’s is Geoffrey Moore. It’s seems that perhaps we are, after twenty or more years of having OCM and CC at our finger tips, we are stuck in the adoption chasm. What we are headed for is the digital transformation iceberg of failure. We know what the iceberg did to the Titanic. We don’t want to be on a sinking ship. So what does an organization need to do? More on all of this in a future post.

@drnatalie

Natalie Petouhoff

VP, Program Executive, ITC | Salesforce.com

References

* Consultancy.uk. “Two Thirds of Digital Transformation Projects Fail” Consultancy.UK. N.p., 28 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 July 2016

**Rogers, Bruce. “Why 84% Of Companies Fail At Digital Transformation.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 7 Jan. 2016. Web

*** http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-end-of-corporate-culture-as-we-know-it/

*** http://www.cio.com/article/2440386/supply-chain-management/supply-chain—hershey-s-bittersweet-lesson.html

*** http://customerthink.com/failed_crm_implementation_finally_costs_hp_465_million_in_damages/

*** http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Columns-Departments/The-Tipping-Point/The-Scientific-Reason-for-CRM-Failure-Part-1-42510.aspx

*** http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Columns-Departments/The-Tipping-Point/The-Scientific-Reason-for-CRM-Failure-Part-2-42655.asp

*** http://media.techtarget.com/searchCRM/downloads/CRMUnpluggedch2.pdf

*** http://www.zdnet.com/article/crm-failure-rates-2001-2009/

*** https://hbr.org/2002/02/avoid-the-four-perils-of-crm

*** http://www.infoworld.com/article/2648303/applications/waste-management-sues-sap-over-erp-implementation.html

*** http://www.computerworld.com/article/2517917/enterprise-applications/sap–waste-management-settle-lawsuit.html

*** https://www.google.com/#q=hershey+crm+failure&*

*** http://www.crmsearch.com/crm-failures.php

*** http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Columns-Departments/Insight/A-Succession-of-Failures-70822.aspx

**** https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US40550115 ; http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3337617 ; https://www.cmo.com.au/article/545992/will_your_business_digital_predator_prey_/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Organizational Change Management Just the “Fluffy Stuff” or Is There Real Business Value?

Is OCM and CC Kumbaya?

When I first lead organizational change management (OCM) and culture change (CC), it was at previous high tech company; a company made up of mainly engineers. When the topic was first announced as part of our integrated product developed process (a.k.a. teaming) it was labelled very quickly as “apple pie and motherhood.” Many thought we were going to sing Kumbaya or I was going to bring cake and cookies to meetings. What I learned was framing what the results could be and by providing individuals, teams and organizations, with tangible results, I found being outcomes-driven was the missing key. How so?

Outcomes-based Driven Values

When I framed OCM and CC in terms of outcomes and business value, I asked questions like, “Would you like it if everyone showed up to your meetings? On time? With the action items completed? With a proactive attitude vs “not invented here or we don’t do that – that way here” attitude…  Get a high rate of return on projects- projects on time, within budget and scope, high customer satisfaction…? Of course the answer was a resounding “YES.” The employees were craving answers to these issues that plagued the organization. And no one knew how to fix these issues. They just persisted. People stopped taking deadlines seriously. They expected project scope to creep. Budget overruns were somewhat typical.

WIIFM?

When I was able to explain the value of the outcomes of OCM and CC to them personally and their teams- the WIIFM (What’s in It For Me), they became extremely interested as the cultured suffered from too many meetings, people always in meetings so they never had time to do their action items; a passive-aggressive culture- so instead of coming to the meeting (without the action items completed and saying they didn’t have time and figuring out how to change something so they did have time) they just wouldn’t show up… And in that company – one team’s action items directly impacted another. For instance, if team 1 didn’t finish their action items teams 2, 3, 4… couldn’t do theirs… and the project fell behind, out of scope, over budget… It was a horrible domino affect that one one really knew how to fix. Giving orders that projects needs to be on-time, within budget and on scope didn’t really lead to change. It just lead to frustration because there were reasons why those things were happening, but giving an order that they needed to be done didn’t fix the root cause. So nothing changed.

What I learned about Leading Change

What I learned was when I presented OCM and CC in terms of outcomes – employees and leaders were very interested. I learned when I first presented OCM and CC without the business outcomes, it resulted in #fail. Then, I pivoted and iterated to an outcomes driven aproached, related to WIIFM and it resulted in #success… Net-net? Choosing a few key behaviors’ that help people work better together in a way that supports desired organizational outcomes, gets people on board…

What 20 years of leading change has taught me is that it’s all about framing CC and OCM in a way that people can relate to. Unfortunately a lot of CC or OCM got a bad rap as the fluffy stuff. But I have spent a great deal of my career over the last 20 years writing ROI (return on investment) models for the “fluffy stuff.” And I can tell you, it’s not fluffy… it impacts the bottomline…  

OCM and CC Tools and Methodology Are Key to Successfully Transitioning From The “Fluffy Stuff” To Concrete Business Results

And of course having a methodology and tools that help teams and people make those changes… takes it out of the “fluffy stuff” and into the business realm. OCM and CC is so much more, but people don’t know, what they don’t know… so it’s key to have a concrete methodology so it’s taken seriously and it can add business value to teams and our customers. More on that in future posts.

@drnatalie

Natalie Petouhoff

VP, Program Executive, ITC | Salesforce.com

 

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