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Avoiding IT Waste in Digital Transformation Programs

Most companies waste money on digital transformation programs. Some say as much as 90% of IT related budget is wasted with not much to show for it. I’ve seen this a few times in my career. I’m a Digital Business Coach. Over several decades I defined and implemented dozens of digital business solutions.

These days I guide companies of all shapes and sizes on their digital transformations, helping them leverage data, cut costs, and ultimately make a lot more money through the creation of significant technology-enabled businesses. I am focused on speed.

When things are not coming together fast enough, I help teams make new digital services work seamlessly. This approach helps companies avoid waste. Since IT waste is a huge expense for many firms, I am sharing some key points to help you avoid waste in digital transformation projects:

#1: Get your strategy right: the most difficult part about any Digital Transformation project is not determining what to do but rather how to do it. Whether you are looking to transform a particular segment of your business, or you are setting up a whole new Digital Business altogether, strategy always comes first. Make sure you know exactly what you are building, but more importantly, understand the ‘why’ – Who is the end consumer? What are their pain points?

#2: Consult an expert: A digital business coach assists and guides business leaders in running a business by helping them clarify strategy, vision, and execution plans of their digital business goals. It is good to learn from your mistakes, but even better to learn from others’ mistakes. There are often better ways of getting across the line, so be open to it.

#3: Align your teams: Strategy, structure, then people and not vice versa. One of the biggest risk factors with Digital Transformation is the adoption and sustainable effort that your teams must put in for the success of the project. Make sure you have the right team in place to spearhead specialised areas of work that may seem new to you. Hire if you must, but make sure that you are able to eliminate waste that can arise out of poor execution.

#4: Don’t waste time: requirements change quickly and delayed market feedback can lead to expensive course correction that could otherwise have been avoided. Focus on ‘why’ before shopping for tools that will be the ‘how’ – technology is an enabler: business strategy drives digital strategy drives data strategy, and this sequence creates speed. Don’t just buy tech products then try to implement as you’ll waste more time with this backwards approach.

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