The 5 Reasons IT Initiatives Fail And How To Succeed

Posted by Neil Sheppard on July 1, 2024
The 5 Reasons IT Initiatives Fail And How To Succeed

Enterprise architecture is key to successful IT and business transformation projects. Discover the five reasons transformations fail and how you can address them.

70% of digital transformation projects fail, according to oft-cited BCG research. Digging deeper into the reasons behind these failures, we find the same set of issues repeatedly undermining the success of IT teams.

SAP LeanIX was designed to provide consistent clarity and reliable insight into your application portfolio and IT landscape. This empowers you to confidently navigate transformations without any unfortunate surprises.

Let's explore the five most-common issues that prevent business transformation and other IT initiatives from succeeding, and how LeanIX can help you overcome them. To find out more, book a demo:

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1 Not Understanding Your As-Is State

Traditionally, enterprise architecture was seen as an 'ivory tower' exercise – frequently more conceptual than practical. Enterprise architects at times seemed more concerned with designing an organization's optimal infrastructure, rather than improving and optimizing the current situation.

To make progress, you need to understand where you are, where you want to be, and the best path from here to there. If you prioritize developing the vision for your dream IT landscape over mapping your current landscape, your vision will, sadly, may unrealized.

If you want to migrate your IT infrastructure into the cloud, for example, but you spend all your efforts implementing a cloud hosting service and never prepare your current infrastructure for migration, your migration will be an expensive failure. That's why it's crucial to base your enterprise architecture initiatives on the practical considerations of improving your current state.

To do that, you need to have a comprehensive map of your IT infrastructure providing a deep understanding of your current state. The good news is, SAP LeanIX makes it possible to quickly create a reliable overview of your enterprise architecture, an overview that can serve as the starting point for any transformation journey you choose to pursue.. 


2 No Clear Vision For Your Target State

Once you have clarity around your application portfolio and how well it supports your business needs, you can begin focusing on how it may be improved. These improvements may be implemented over the short- or long-term, but developing a practical vision for your improved state is far easier when you take your actual state as the starting point.

Designing a future state to meet imagined future business needs can certainly be an interesting intellectual puzzle. Unfortunately, its speculative nature will inevitably derail its realization. If, instead, you figure out how to develop your existing IT landscape to better suit the actual and clearly emerging needs of your users, you will solve business problems today while setting the stage for tomorrow's business evolution.

Of course, the future is always unknown and only marginally predictable. And it's hard to know precisely what will be best for the future organization. Take cloud migration as an example. It can improve performance, etc. to move to the cloud. But there are a lot of options when it comes to the cloud. What will be best for you? What will be relatively easy to implement? What challenging? 

Being able to play out different scenarios can help you make the right decisions about the future. Using SAP LeanIX Architecture and Road Map Planning, you can build your target enterprise architecture state in a sandbox environment and experiment with different approaches. You can use the insights gained to build a detailed vision that is based on your current reality and achievable in your future reality.

READ: How Do You Create A Target Operating Model?


3 A Vague Plan To Get There From Here

So, you understand your current state and your future vision, but there's still something missing: The clear path between one to the other. 

It would be relatively simple if you could do it all at once. As it stands, IT landscapes are complex and interdependent. Transformations often require reformatting data, maintaining interconnections, and rationalizing inefficiencies. You need to stage things, deciding what will happen first, what will happen next, and what may have to wait.

Of course, transforming in stages involves thoughtful planning, effective collaboration, and ongoing communication.

To succeed, your transformation plan needs to be as detailed as your as-is map and your vision. At the same time, your transformation road map needs to be mutually understood and approved by all relevant stakeholders. Everyone impacted has to understand what will happen when and, most importantly, what it means to them and they work they do.

SAP LeanIX Architecture and Road Map Planning allows you to build a detailed plan for business transformation based on the vision you've built there and the enterprise architecture information stored in SAP LeanIX Application Portfolio Management. Together, the two products lay the groundwork for a successful transformation.


4 A Lack Of Collaboration

A clear plan that leads from your as-is state to your target state isn't useful in itself, however. You also need to ensure that everyone follows the plan.

Storing your road map in a siloed system where access is limited to a select few makes collaboration impossible. For a plan to work, you need to share that plan with everyone involved and enlist their support to follow it.

That's why SAP LeanIX tools allow you to give access to anyone in your organization at no extra cost. What's more, we are giving you the ability to build presentations for others directly within our toolset using live data.

READ: SAP Sapphire - SAP LeanIX Reveals Plans For Future

By understanding your current state, building a realistic vision, and designing an actionable road map between the two, then sharing that vision with your stakeholders, you give your organization the best chance at business transformation success. 

Of course, creating a plan and launching your business transformation is only the beginning of the journey. And even if you start the process perfectly, the sad truth is that transformations can still fail. What can you do about that?


5 No Measurement

How do you know that your IT initiative or business transformation project has succeeded? To justify the investment in the project, you'll need to be able to measure the value it produced.

Knowing whether a transformation succeeded is one thing. Keeping it on track while underway is another thing entirely. This is why it's so important to establish KPIs to track the transformation as it progresses and course correct when necessary.

Most transformations contain multiple 'micro-transformations.' And every transformation is followed inevitably by another. To enable your organization today and into the future, it not only helps to think of transformation as continuous, but to adopt practices and technologies that allow for both continuous monitoring and agile planning.

READ: Enterprise Architecture Maturity - 5 Steps To Grown-Up EA

SAP LeanIX empowers your enterprise architects and the rest of the organization to continuously map your current state, envision a road map to your target state, and keep everyone onboard as you move from one to the other. As a result, you can avoid the common obstacles to successful transformation and keep the organization moving towards its strategic goals. 

To find out more about how SAP LeanIX can support business transformation and other IT initiatives, book a demo:

Request demo

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