Adopting digital transformation initiatives has its fair share of obstacles – left unchecked, these barriers can completely impede adoption.
Failure can be costly, so organizations should do everything they can to ensure success.
In this article, we’ll explore:
- 5 of the biggest obstacles to digital adoption and transformation
- Strategies for overcoming those barriers
- How to get even more from adoption initiatives
Let’s get started.
5 Obstacles to Adopting Digital Transformation
Every digital adoption effort involves change, change management, and digital transformation.
These business processes are complex – there are many moving parts and many people involved.
And the more moving parts there are, the more things there are that can go wrong.
Digital adoption managers, planners, and strategists must analyze problems from a variety of angles.
For instance, organizations must examine:
- Technical capacity
- Organizational strategy
- The people side of change
This approach can help you plan for, mitigate, and overcome barriers to change.
Here are some of the biggest obstacles to expect when adopting digital transformation initiatives:
1. The Skills Gap
The skills gap is a big problem facing today’s organizations.
Technology is moving rapidly, but employee skills are not keeping up.
When it comes to skills, the gap between supply and demand is widening.
In a PwC survey, for instance, CEOs expressed concern over this gap, claiming that it negatively impacted:
- People costs
- The customer experience and quality standards
- Ability to pursue market opportunities
This problem is so widespread that it has even been called a “digital skills crisis” by some.
To solve this:
- Create a modern, effective training program for your new technology
- Improve engagement by personalizing program content
- Use contemporary digital tools to improve your training efforts
Digital adoption platforms are ideal training tools, for instance.
They are specifically designed to train employees on new digital technology, by offering in-app tutorials, guidance, and training.
2. Employee and Manager Resistance
Organizations are operated by people, so their cooperation is essential to successful change.
But people don’t always welcome change.
In many cases, they are hesitant or even resistant to change.
And the bigger the change, the more resistance you can expect.
This resistance stems from:
- General fear of the unknown
- Busy work schedules
- Fear of job loss, automation, or changes to work duties
- Unwillingness to learn new things
That resistance can seriously hinder adoption efforts, or even cause them to fail.
Digital adoption managers should not focus on “overcoming” resistance, though … they should transform it into support.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Create great training and onboarding programs
- Communicate consistently and effectively
- Follow human-centered change management frameworks
- Make change fun and interesting
Also, note that digital adoption platforms can greatly reduce the friction of learning.
This can also contribute to lower resistance when it comes to skills training.
3. Executive Buy-In
Another common obstacle to change management efforts is a lack of executive support.
Every organization should approach change and digital adoption holistically.
That is, these efforts should be grounded in an organization-wide vision for change.
However, every business professional knows that company politics are rarely so ideal.
If your digital adoption effort is not being led by a C-suite executive, make sure you gain support.
- Make a solid case for your digital adoption program
- Sell the program on data, facts, the ROI of change, and a solid change vision
- Make sure the executive or executives knows how they will personally benefit
This support can literally make or break your program.
Obtain it as early as possible.
4. Lack of Time, Budget, or Resources
Resource constraints can be a big problem.
Digital adoption efforts can require a variety of investments, such as:
- Overhauling legacy infrastructure or software
- Deployment and administrative costs
- Training, re-skilling, and upskilling
To name a few.
Overcoming resource constraints is no easy task. In some cases, it is impossible.
However, one way to overcome objections around budget is by demonstrating the ROI of digital adoption.
To do that, use data to make your case:
- Build projections with predictive modeling
- Make a case for change built upon an organization’s strategic objectives
- Draw data from the marketplace to demonstrate the necessity of digital transformation
Ultimately, an organization must change the way it perceives digital adoption.
Digital transformation should not be perceived as a cost center – it should be recognized as an investment…
One that is necessary for survival.
5. Poor Digital Transformation Strategy
Digital transformation is big business today, and for good reason:
- The entire globe is undergoing digital transformation
- The organizations that survive and thrive are those that innovate and evolve
- Companies that don’t innovate get left behind
It is critical for organizations to have a strategy for digital transformation.
That is, they need a vision – and a plan – for becoming digital.
- Developing modern IT capabilities
- Maintaining a skilled workforce
- Having a business model that is customer-centric and human-first
The best place to start is by understanding what digital transformation is and why it’s important.
Digital transformation and adoption should not be difficult.
The more difficult it is for users to adopt new technology, the less engaged they will be.
In today’s changing digital workplace, that engagement translates directly into ROI…
Users will have better experiences, learn more quickly, and be more productive.