The race to implement digital transformation projects might be the biggest stampede since the CRM goldrush of the early Noughties, but it seems firms have learned little from their past mistakes, with a new study showing that over a quarter (26%) have seen their digital transformation programmes fail.
The research, commissioned by digital services company Econocom and conducted by Censuswide, surveyed 150 IT and finance decision makers in retail, legal and financial services companies in the UK, each with over 100 staff and and revenue in excess of £1 million.
While it shows that an overwhelming majority of businesses are undergoing digital transformation, there is still some way to go before they can execute strategies in the confidence that they will succeed.
In total, almost two-thirds (62%) of businesses are in the process of implementing a transformation project, with better customer service, cost savings and improved staff productivity named as the top three drivers. A further 18% have a transformation plan in place already, while 11% are thinking about it in the short term.
However, not everything is going to plan; over half (51%) of firms which have seen projects fail cite a lack of understanding of the technology as the main reason for it going pear-shaped.
This, the report insists, shows that better guidance is required around the technologies on offer; a factor which is reinforced by the finding that two-fifths (39%) of those surveyed said selecting a solution that was not fit for purpose was the reason for project failure.
A lack of skills (31%) and lack of budget (23%) were also cited as barriers to success.
Another issue highlighted in the report is that, while businesses recognise the need to invest in the right technology, over two-fifths (44%) have concerns over spending a large amount of money in a lump sum. Meanwhile, 40% say they are afraid of making the wrong technology choice, and 38% state Brexit is holding them back.
The research also shows a desire for alternative funding models, such as subscription models, which allow businesses to implement technology solutions that suit their specific requirements without spending a large amount of money in one go.
In fact, 93% of those surveyed said they would use a model like this to fund digital transformation projects, while 17% are already doing so.
Econocom UK and Ireland managing director of Chris Labrey said: "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.
"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 to find ways to mitigate any risk associated with the project, especially when it comes to technology investment."