How to Ensure Your Digital Projects Succeed

Digital transformation is an ever-present component of today’s business world. But getting it right, well, that’s easier said than done. With 84% of digital projects failing to meet their objectives, Vidatec’s CEO, Greig Johnston, shows that there’s another way forward. Here’s why putting the end user first could be your key to transformation success.

It’s universally accepted that continuous sustainable growth, maintaining your competitive advantage, and developing customer intimacy are all critical for business success. In a digitally connected world, a solid digital strategy underpins these elements.

Pre Covid-19, around 70% of organisations globally had a digital transformation strategy or were working to develop one. Fast forward two years and a solid digital transformation strategy is fundamental to maintaining a successful business. However, a recent Standish Group CHAOS survey found that 84% of digital projects fail to meet their objectives, with most delayed, running over budget, and/or failing to deliver on what was promised. Incredibly, 31% of digital projects were either abandoned or cancelled.

With that in mind, CEOs must ensure digital projects are properly scoped and resourced, communicated effectively, and executed on to ensure business transformation and longevity in a digitally connected world.

So, why do digital projects fail on such a large scale? There are several reasons, which include:

They Are Poorly Scoped and Resourced

The project could be based around a single objective – for example, to improve customer engagement. However, that simple objective, if not clearly defined, scoped, and resourced could be interpreted any number of ways and lead to a failed project. Does it mean increasing engagement with marketing activities? Does it mean improving customer sentiment? Does it mean growing sales? Unless success is defined and agreed, effectively communicated, and adopted across the business, with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and deliverables, the project is likely to fail before it even begins.

End-User Experience Isn’t Considered

Dovetailing the objective is the experience of the end-user – whether they’re colleagues or customers. The project team responsible for agreeing the scope must ensure they understand what the end-users want, or at least, are prepared to accept and adopt. Whatever the target audience, their needs must be considered at every stage of the process – and that isn’t necessarily about deciding on their behalf. It should include elements of consultation, conversation, and collaboration.

Transformation in a Silo

Digital transformation projects must be properly considered in the context of the organisation, its people, and its culture. There are many examples where companies have failed to launch a new mobile app to support their business because it was developed as a bolt-on tool by a silo team. Without being connected to all aspects of existing business operations, these innovations are likely to fail.

Whatever the target audience, their needs must be considered at every stage of the process – and that isn’t necessarily about deciding on their behalf. It should include elements of consultation, conversation, and collaboration.

Greig Johnston
CEO, Vidatec

Greig Johnston CEO Vidatec

The Importance of Customer Intimacy

The three issues listed above are all underpinned by a fundamental lack of customer and team intimacy. This isn’t just about end experience, but the way people relate to each other at a deeper level. Often, there is such a rush to get plans underway, start delivering and meet deadlines that key projects begin without the essential element of self-awareness in play.

To avoid this pitfall and ensure project success, follow these three key steps:

1. Get to know your team – properly
Get everyone together before the project starts to increase understanding and develop positive relationships. At Vidatec, we begin every project with an Insights Discovery workshop and use the language of colour to ensure the everyone has an opportunity to develop self-awareness and others-awareness and has a common language to communicate. Self-awareness helps you better understand your personal preferences and unique style; as well as that of others. This, in turn, means you can adapt your personal style to make better connections with others, creating more effective ways of working and achieving better business outcomes. At Vidatec, we find this upfront investment leads to projects being delivered on time, first time and within budget.

2. Remember that the devil is in the detail
With the foundation of self-awareness, go into more detail to establish what exactly is needed in more technical detail. This applies whether a company is starting from scratch or overhauling an existing product or portfolio. This should be about bringing together key personnel from across the business to ensure all aspects of the project are spot on. It’s about exploring detail in areas such as user personas and branding as well as the app and web design.

3. Collaborate continuously
Nothing is achieved in isolation and any team wanting to deliver a successful digital project must collaborate often. When launching an app, consider the overall impact on the organisation including, the website, social channels and future metaverse – all must reflect the same image and values.

In summary, any digital transformation should have clearly defined and agreed objectives. The experience of the end-user must be considered and always held in mind. There must be regular and open communication, avoiding silos where possible. Underpinning these is self-awareness, which will ensure your digital transformation project isn’t one of the 84% that fails to meet objectives or deliver what was promised.


Greig Johnston
CEO, Vidatec

Greig Johnston is CEO at Vidatec. He has worked in the technology sector for over 25 years, buying and selling technology services. He specialises in helping businesses of all sizes develop digital strategies that deliver an exceptional end user experience on mobile & web.