Almost half of business leaders are failing to achieve a positive financial return from digital transformation projects they have executed despite considering themselves to be ‘digital thinkers’, reveals a new Censuswide survey.

The poll of 250 business leaders at public and private sector organisations with more than 1000 employees, commissioned by leading HR and payroll provider MHR, found that while 90 per cent of business leaders have been responsible for commissioning one or more digital transformation projects only 54 per cent believed they were financially benefitting the organisation.

This is despite 95 per cent of business leaders perceiving themselves to be ‘digital thinkers’ and over four-fifths (84 per cent) believing that they personally have the necessary digital skills required to oversee digital transformation projects in their organisation.

“The research highlights that while business leaders are confident in their own abilities to oversee digital change, the reality is that many projects are failing to deliver the financial benefits,” Michelle Shelton, product planning director at MHR said. “One of the key drivers for implementing digital change is to deliver cost savings and revenue growth, but this is only achievable if people with the right skills, including a strong financial awareness, are spearheading the change.

“Ahead of carrying out a digital transformation project, it’s important to collaborate with all departments to create a joint strategy and establish a change team responsible for delivering the change. By adopting a collaborative approach, organisations can leverage the skills and expertise of its people and gain a true understanding of its current operation to establish a clear vision for the future.

“Digital transformation projects will almost certainly fail unless you take your people on the journey with you. Subsequently, any change team should naturally include HR. As stewards of company culture HR professionals can ensure any changes are successfully embedded and embraced by its people, and play an active role in helping create more a ‘digital savvy’ workforce by recruiting new talent to plug any skills gaps and arranging training for existing employees to support the adoption of new software.”

The full results of the survey are explored in MHR’s report ‘Businesses are not ready to transform (but they don’t know that)…