87.5% of Digital Transformations fail. Can you do better?

87.5% of Digital Transformations fail. Can you do better?

According to a recent HBR article, 70% to 95% of digital transformation projects fail to meet their original objectives, with an average of 87.5%. Yet, the high failure rate does not slow down the drive for the much-needed digital transformation. So, how can enterprises do better?

In the article byDidier Bonnet,“3 Stages of A Successful Digital Transformation”, the author emphasizes that there’s a learning curve to digital transformation, and most companies need to walk before running. He then lists three steps that will increase the likelihood of a successful project:

  1. Modernization –simplifying and digitizing existing processes and functions
  2. Enterprise-wide transformation –focused on improving existing operations
  3. New Business Creation –which requires a high level of digital transformation maturity.

This resonates with our approach at Zappix. As we discussed in the eBook: “The Consumerization of Patient Engagement” – AI, automation, and digital transformation are being adopted with increasing speed, but suddenly shifting an entire operation to automation is a recipe for disaster. We recommend a Phased Approach, Prioritizing Touchpoints, and Continuous Improvement.

“Suddenly shifting an entire operation to automation is a recipe for disaster. We recommend a Phased Approach, Prioritizing Touchpoints, and Continuous Improvement.”

Prioritizing Touchpoints

We recommend a two-step test, one measuring empathy needed to complete a certain customer service touchpoint and the other measuring the number of customers (or patients) experiencing that kind of touchpoint, which creates an excellent guide for leaders looking to automate and improve experiences. We call this tool the “Matrix of Evolutionary Automation.”

The Phased Approach

Changing too much too quickly can create more problems than it solves, so it might be better to take one step at a time. Overhauling operational processes can harm staff productivity, forcing huge learning curves and process changes where they’re not needed. However, if enterprises target repeatable, standardized processes with end-to-end automation, staff can see these tedious tasks taken off their plates with improved operational efficiencies.

By improving consumers touchpoints over time, enterprises can create fast ROI without disrupting the day-to-day staff is used to work. Avoid trying to boil the ocean with automated solutions. Use tools like the Matrix of Evolutionary Automation to identify the technology that’s advanced enough for your consumers and target the interactions that are most important to them right now. Once the most important solutions are implemented, work with staff to identify the right opportunities to digitize further.

Automated solutions can even provide new benefits once they’ve been implemented. Digital outreach is not only more efficient than physical mailers, but can also track which emails are opened most frequently and what information consumers are most interested in.

In healthcare, patient follow-up can also be automated with digital surveys preventing busy staff from having to call patients.

Today’s automated solutions let employees focus on more important tasks and deliver better service.

Continuous Improvement

In sales, there is a saying: “always be prospecting”. In Digitial Trasnformation, I beleive we should be saying: “always be improving”. Ask for feedback, from internal stakeholders and from customers. Use digital feedback (surveys) post interactions, utilize analytics to review patterns and trends, and build a pipeline of improvement plans – some are finetuning an existing process, and some more elaborative updates and changes.

Continuous improvement is a state of mind. Never stand still. Review, ask, analyze, plan, and finally – improve.


Digitial transformations are difficult. As we’ve seen – 87.5% of them do not meet original objectives. We can do better, if we break them down – to digestible steps and phases, allowing the organization to adapt, and then introduce more, and more.

Alway Be Improving!