Report: Digital transformation failures spark big opportunities for IT
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Digital transformation has touched nearly every corner of the enterprise over the past two years, with many businesses already on their second or third major network overhaul since the pandemic began.

What’s become clear for many IT leaders is that digital transformation isn’t one single project, but an ongoing process that encompasses the fluid nature of business in a decentralized world: Network connections are constantly in flux, and the technologies teams leverage to ensure the secure and performant delivery of workflows or products needs to be reactive in kind.

As a result, it’s not uncommon for plans to change fast and for many best-laid initiatives to be rethought. What’s critical for the IT teams to remember is that while plans may change, digital transformations that don’t make it past the finish line aren’t in and of themselves failures.

Rather, new research from Citrix shows that in order for IT teams to succeed, it’s almost essential that they experience perceived failures on their path to digital transformation.

According to the study of UK tech leaders, 77 percent “see opportunities for success” in their past digital transformation failures, while 43 percent of those leaders understand how they can use these lessons learned to their advantage in the future.

How do teams define digital transformation failure? The factors run the gamut, but include:

  • projects exceeding budget (41 percent),
  • lack of flexibility to suit evolving business requirements (37percent)
  • unmet or absent set expectations, if not unfinished projects (35 percent)

Despite these common shortcomings, nearly a third of respondents were able to identify a new business requirement or focus as a result. And while 51 percent of respondents indicate that they’ve “been burned” by digital transformation failures in the past, 92 percent of respondents are confident that they’re learning the right lessons and that their current transformation projects will deliver against expectations.

“It is useful to understand that while most IT decision makers have worked on a failed digital transformation programme in the past, many recognise the experience was still of personal value to them and represented a significant opportunity in their careers,” said Mark Sweeney, regional vice-president, UK & Ireland at Citrix. “While no-one will aspire to be associated with failures, it is beneficial to know that IT leaders recognise the learnings they can take from previous projects that didn’t go to plan.”

Another facet of the report that underscores how prevalent digital transformation has become is the frequency IT leaders must embark on new initiatives, and the confidence that comes with experience: Many leaders have as many as 10 to 13 digital transformation projects under their belt at this phase of the pandemic, with 65 percent of those in this bracket feeling “very confident” about their program’s efficacy, compared to just 20 percent confidence for IT leaders with only a single digital transformation under their belt.

This all goes to show that “failure” is practically a requirement on the path to eventual success in transforming enterprise networks, as teams need to embrace a trial-and-error approach in many cases to learn what works best in these unprecedented times.

That said, teams shouldn’t embark on their network transformations blind. Rather, IT needs to leverage visibility across their entire network footprint to ensure that they can assure end-user experience (and ultimately the larger network) isn’t negatively impacted (or ultimately compromised) before, during and after these initiatives.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: hybrid work , remote work , work from home , work from anywhere , cloud transformation , enterprise , network performance monitoring , network monitoring , network management , cloud , network transformation , distributed enterprise , decentralization , digital transformation