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Here's why corporate digital transformation plans are failing

Departmental conflict was cited by respondents as a key factor.

Three in five or 60% of C-level executives in Singapore believe their digital transformation projects are failing due to company silos and conflict between departments, a study by finance and human resources (HR) cloud application provider Workday revealed.

The poll, which analysed responses from 1,000 C-level and business leaders and was conducted in partnership with IDC Asia Pacific, found that HR leaders feel the most pain (87%), followed by finance leaders (58%) and IT leaders (50%).

“The result shows that organisations are not approaching digital transformation as a collaborative cross-functional process between finance, HR and IT departments. Thus, companies are ignoring their two most important assets: their people and finances,” the report’s researchers said.

Also read: One-third of firms invested over US$1m in digital transformation: study

According to the survey, 76% of C-level executives say their organisation has yet to achieve any major return on investment (ROI) improvements in digital transformation, of which 53% of C-level executives say they have not achieved any measurable ROI.

“This may be due to a failure by organisations to use a balanced scorecard approach to align and measure investments and ROI, with only 28% of finance respondents and IT respondents are using balanced scorecards, followed by 27% for HR leaders,” Workday said.

Meanwhile, 64 of C-level executives in Singapore see lack of common technologies and processes as the top barriers to cross-functional collaboration, and believe organisations should make more investments in the right technologies (42%) as one of their priorities to drive digitalisation. The top priority for organisations is to implement new and better metrics and key performance indicators (49%).

Also read: SMEs open to business transformation investments amidst souring economic expectations: poll

From the perspective of HR and finance leaders, 93% of HR leaders and 50% of finance leaders say an integrated finance and HR technology solution is important for greater visibility, despite 83% of finance leaders and 80% of HR leaders saying their processes are not fully integrated across departments.

“It’s astounding to see how many digital transformation initiatives within organisations are failing. Whilst functional levels may have digital initiatives, true digital transformation must happen at the enterprise level, and implicitly cross-functional in nature, to succeed,” Workday Asia’s president Rob Wells said. 

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