October 26

Successful Digital Transformation Projects: 5 Essential Elements


As technology evolves, so must your business. To survive and thrive in today’s challenging environment, businesses must continually seek ways to improve the end-user experience. A successful digital transformation initiative can dramatically improve your processes and services to meet evolving market and customer expectations. No matter your industry, successful digital transformation projects have several key elements in common.

What is Digital Transformation?

Simply put, digital transformation is the implementation of digital technologies in all areas of a business. Digital transformation is an organization-wide strategy for reinventing all or most of your business processes and procedures. 

According to a McKinsey study, 70% of all digital transformation efforts fail. One of the biggest challenges of implementing a successful digital transformation is needing an enterprise-wide strategy. Only about 41% of companies have a company-wide digital transformation strategy, according to a Harvey Nash/KMPG CIO survey. Understanding why digital transformation projects fail and taking steps to avoid common implementation problems increases the likelihood of success. The first step is the development of a digital transformation strategy or roadmap.

What is a Digital Transformation Roadmap?

A detailed plan of how an organization plans to transform its business operations digitally is key to success. These plans should address challenges and obstacles on the journey to meet your goals. A comprehension road map outlines the strategies you plan to use every step of the way to transform your business operations. Developing a comprehensive implementation plan begins with assessing your existing system, including the policies and operational procedures relevant to resource management. 

5 Essential Elements for Success

Numerous factors impact the success of a digital transformation project. Here are five key elements that every organization should focus on when planning a digital transformation initiative.

1. Clear Objectives

While every organization will have its own specific goals, the primary purpose of any digital transformation project is to improve your current business processes. Your particular goals and objectives will determine the effectiveness of your digital transformation plan. Tying transformation to specific business objectives, such as improving employee productivity or customer satisfaction, usually results in more success. 

2. Executive Leadership and Engagement

Leaders who are familiar with digital technology and committed to change are essential. When companies have the right people in place, such as a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), they have someone who can devote their full attention to the transformation process. It’s crucial for organizational and team leaders to understand and actively support the transformation process. 

3. The Right People and Culture

You must have a team with the right skills to work across your organization and the entire digital transformation lifecycle. You’ll need more than IT people since IT is just one of the skills required. Resistance to change is a normal human instinct. When you ignore the cultural aspect of a digital transformation project, you’ll encounter resistance pretty quickly. Sixteen of McKinsey’s 21 keys to successful digital transformation projects involve people. Addressing culture helps ensure internal buy-in for a transformation initiative. Success is more likely when you have vocal and respected change leaders who use their influence to drive change forward.

4. Clear and Consistent Communication

New technologies and processes are often threatening or confusing to employees across departments. Clear and consistent communication is critical for success. Leaders must communicate to help employees understand what, how, and why new technologies are necessary. It’s essential to explain who is responsible for each part of the implementation process and ensure that employees receive appropriate training. Communicating clearly and frequently helps prevent dropped balls, duplication of efforts, and frustration. 

5. Technology that Enhances People and Processes

Investing in the right technology is a crucial element of any transformation project. Some people erroneously assume that digital transformation can be achieved by buying new technologies and automating processes. Technology alone cannot fix faulty processes or eliminate the requirement for employees to receive regular training. More than new technologies are required to achieve sustainable improvements across an organization.

It’s essential to ensure that the technology you use during and after a digital transformation benefits your business. Avoid being tempted to choose technologies because they are trendy. The technologies you choose should help you achieve your specific goals. If you choose hardware and software wisely, you’ll save money and avoid wasting time and frustrating employees and customers. If you choose the wrong ones, several problems can occur, including:

  • Technologies not being used by employees 
  • Increased inefficiencies and higher costs
  • Lack of integration with existing IT infrastructure
  • Frustration and confusion for vendors and customers 


A successful digital transformation project usually requires significant organizational changes. Changing an entire organization overnight is not possible. A successful digital transformation implementation should be viewed as a journey over time. Strong leadership and a corporate culture willing to change and adapt are required. Leaders need to understand what components are most in need of change in their organization. Prioritizing transformation activities based on your business objectives is critical.

Many business owners find themselves wondering how to get started when it comes to digital transformation. A successful change requires more than just supporting processes with technology. It demands a fundamental shift in the mindset of leaders and employees. Leadership and accountability are crystal clear throughout the transformation process in the most successful efforts. Without the right plan, culture, or personnel, digital transformation projects will not provide the results your business needs. 

Begin Your Journey With E3 Consulting

Working with an experienced consultant who can help you select the right tools and create a plan that meets your company’s unique needs and goals is essential. With over 35 years of experience, E3 Consulting can help your business implement digital transformation initiatives and create sustainable growth. We’ve helped Microsoft, Sony, Wastequip, Paramount Cosmetics, and more than 150 manufacturing companies achieve growth while reducing costs. 

E3 Consulting delivers solutions that increase efficiency and revenue by implementing better processes and technology. We can improve the effectiveness of your digital transformation with people, processes, tools, and technology to deliver sustainable growth for your company. Book online or call (732) 334-3995 to schedule a consultation.


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