Despite the importance of digital transformation in today’s competitive market, businesses are still struggling to obtain the benefits. A recent report revealed a majority of organizations are either failing, being delayed or scaling back their expectations when it comes to digital transformation projects. 

The report was conducted by Couchbase and is based on 450 digital transformation leaders responses. 

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According to the report, over the last year 81 percent of respondents have failed, suffered a delay or scaled back. Another 73 percent of respondents reported that their digital projects fall short of expectations most of the time. The biggest challenges have been reliance on legacy technology, complexity of implementing technologies, and lack of skills and resources. 

However, the move to digital transformation is not slowing down. Ninety-one percent of respondents found the disruption in their industry is increasing, and organizations plan to spend $30 million on digital transformation projects in the next year. Forty-six percent of respondents believe they will become less relevant if they don’t continue to innovate, and another 42 percent  believe they will lose staff to more innovative competitors. 

Additionally, there are some who are making strides in this area. Seventy-three percent of organizations have made significant improvements to end-user experience through digital innovation, and 22 percent said they have “revolutionized” end-user experience. 

“Digital transformation has reached an inflection point,” said Matt Cain, CEO, Couchbase. “At this pivotal time, it is critical for enterprises to overcome the challenges that have been holding them back for years. Organizations that put the right people and technology in place, and truly drive their digital transformation initiatives, will benefit from market advantages and business returns.”

In order to improve digital transformation initiatives, the report stated it has to have the right drivers. For instance, it should be an organization-wide priority instead of being looked at as IT’s sole responsibility. FIfty-two percent of respondents still say their strategies are set by their IT teams and 36 percent say it is within the C-Suite. 

“In addition to who is driving digital, there is a question over what is driving digital. Often the most successful digital transformations are those that are truly innovative ideas from within the business – rather than being forced on the organization or onto digital transformation teams through external pressure,” the report stated. The current primary drivers, according to respondents, include responding to competitors’ advances, pressure from customers, responding to changes in regulation, and pressure from the C-Suite. 

“While organizations’ enthusiasm for digital transformation is encouraging, that enthusiasm has to be pointed in the right direction. With the wrong drivers, even organizations that are investing millions in time, effort and resources into digital can see little or no return,” according to the report. 

The benefits organizations are seeing from digital transformation include: a more efficient working process, improved customer experience, and increased worker productivity. 

“This may not be an easy task, but the rewards will be great – not only for businesses themselves, but for the wider industries and consumers that will benefit from the new services and experiences these businesses can offer,” according to the report.