Barriers to Digital Transformation

Barriers to Digital Transformation

Today, most business owners and employers understand the role digital transformation plays in remaining competitive. However, staying ahead in a rapidly evolving business environment is challenging, and while many organizations are embracing digital transformation strategies, so too are many failing to start.

In a recent survey, statistics showed that 89% organizations recognized that digital transformation is happening in their industry, but only 50% thought that it was happening in their company. Although this is alarming, it is also enlightening; a modern leader must understand how to transform technology into profitable business practices and add value, sooner rather than later.

So as a business owner or employee about to embark on a digital transformation journey, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with these common barriers and proactively plan solutions to overcome them.

1. Security

Security is a hot topic for many organizations. With the increase in cloud-based storage and the digital transmission of sensitive information, businesses are concerned about not only protecting their information but also keeping their clients’ data safe. And rightly so.

However, there is a significant gap in collaboration between IT and Security, with only 18% of survey respondents saying that Security has been involved in all digital transformation initiatives, thus often making Security an afterthought when it comes to digital transformation. And while that is concerning, IT also complains that Security blocks too many of their initiatives, and as a result, they avoid collaborating with them.

By resolving disharmony between IT and Security, organizations will have the opportunity to bring Security onboard earlier and help accelerate the path to digital transformation.

2. Costs

Financially, digital transformation can be daunting; initial investments in technology, software, and the cloud can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, and when you add in the additional cost of hiring new people, the projections can be crippling.

In order to mobilize a digital transformation strategy, organizations must strategize their budgets accordingly. 85% agreed that technology makes them more productive, and greater productivity leads to greater innovation and a more competitive business model. Therefore, delaying digital transformation for another year, due to financial concerns, must not be an option.

3. The speed of change

It’s no surprise that this is a barrier. The digital world seems to evolve before our very eyes, especially with digital disruptors like Uber and Airbnb transforming entire industries seemingly overnight. But they are also excellent examples of how technology can power innovation when partnered with an agile business environment.

Operational agility is imperative in staying competitive in the digital business environment. A company needs to be positioned so that it can quickly respond to changes in technology, market trends, and customer demands. And this means deploying technology and talent early on.

4. Legacy Systems

When legacy technology and policies are partnered with a rigid corporate culture, digital transformation cannot take place. The inability and lack of desire to update older technology heavily depend on other barriers such as cost, the speed of change, and people. But when these are addressed, the journey to digital transformation can easily begin.

Plus, the pros of a legacy system mean that it will eventually need to be replaced, thus making it an enabler for digital transformation!

5. People

Being able to unite people with technology is perhaps the most important, but also the largest barrier when it comes to digital transformation. Employee training is one area that can be always be improved upon, but more importantly, it is the lack of communication and collaboration between IT and corporate management that’s hurting organizations the most.

CIO’s are regularly excluded from the boardroom and miss out on opportunities to contribute valuable insights to corporate strategies, and so long as this practice continues, so too will the workforce barrier exist.

Your largest fear is your greatest growth

In reviewing the main barriers to digital transformation, we can identify a distinct theme: fear. Each of these factors indicates an inherent resistance to digital transformation, purely based on an emotional response. When these fears are identified and a plan is laid out, digital transformation can thrive!


This article has been contributed by Dell Technologies for CXO Blog Box. You can read the full issue here.

Dell Technologies is a unique family of businesses that provides the essential infrastructure for organisations to build their digital future, transform IT and protect their most important asset, information. The company services customers of all sizes across 180 countries – ranging from 99 percent of the Fortune 500 to individual consumers – with the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative portfolio from the edge to the core to the cloud

Dell Technologies for CXO Blog Box