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  • Susan Hayer

4 Causes of Digital Modernization Failure: #1 Overemphasis on the Technology Itself

Rows of servers with brightly lit colors of green, red, blue, and orange

In our experience, organizations fail to achieve improved results for several critical reasons. Let's look at the first cause of digital modernization failure: overemphasizing the technology itself.

Striking the Balance: People, Processes, and Technology to Avoid  Digital Modernization Failure

Organizations often overemphasize the implementation of the technology. That is, they disproportionally focus on “turning on the software." Several factors contribute to this overemphasis on the technology and simply launching it "on time and on budget.

People, Process, and Technology infographic


First, this imbalance occurs in the initial stages of digital modernization if organizations lack a clear transformation roadmap that provides a “North Star” that directs strategic and tactical decisions.


Second, the promise of a technological panacea may entice organizations to choose platforms without fully understanding their genuine issues and the organization’s capacity to utilize a given functionality.


Third, external pressures, such as competition or market trends, can rush a decision to purchase technology without considering its holistic impact on the organization.


Fourth, the complexity of modern technology often leads organizations to rely heavily on systems integrators to manage the modernization process. While these integrators play a crucial role, the overreliance on them can result in technical bias, a tactical perspective, and a limited understanding of all dimensions of the modernization journey.


Finally, organizations are either unaware of the importance of or underestimate the impact of realigning processes to exploit new technical functionality and prepare people to adopt the new system.


When an organization leans too heavily on technology implementation, the human and procedural elements of the transformation suffer. People are not adequately prepared for the changes, processes remain outdated or sub-optimized for new technical capabilities, and the promised organizational benefits fall short. The costs of overemphasizing technology implementation are multifaceted.


Employee dissatisfaction and resistance can lead to decreased productivity, increased turnover, and a negative impact on the overall workplace culture. Poorly aligned processes may result in inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and missed opportunities for optimization. Financially, organizations may be over budget and off schedule, with a significant gap between expected and realized outcomes.

While technology undoubtedly plays a pivotal role in digital modernization efforts, focusing solely on its implementation can lead to significant shortcomings. Organizations risk falling short of their transformation goals by neglecting the equally crucial aspects of people and processes. A balanced approach that considers the interplay between technology, human factors, and streamlined processes is essential for success. Investing in clear transformation roadmaps, understanding genuine organizational needs, and fostering a culture of adaptability are crucial steps toward avoiding digital modernization failure.

By striking this balance, organizations can unlock the full potential of their technological investments and pave the way for lasting success in the digital age.


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