There has been a renewed focus on digital transformation as the world continues to change and businesses re-evaluate how they’re delivering digital customer experiences. Whether there is a need to retire legacy systems, consolidate their martch stack, or update their CX platforms, businesses are rethinking how to create connections with customers and meet their ever-changing expectations.

And while investments in digital transformation are increasing and are expected to surpass $2.1 trillion by 2021, nearly 70% of large-scale change programs don’t reach their stated goals.

So what is keeping businesses from executing digital transformation efforts successfully?

Here are some common obstacles that can derail digital transformation efforts, as well as options that can empower your organization to succeed:

Digital tranformation is siloed

Digital transformation is an organization-wide effort, not something undertaken by a single department. To ensure progress goes smoothly, teams need to align on goals and invest in the tools that will support them. 

For example, if the marketing team is able to work at 3x the speed of the IT team, digital customer experience projects that feed into broader digital transformation efforts are likely to get off track. Setting up aligned timelines, milestones, and subsequent team victories before you get started ensures each step will progress smoother.

Take a digital transformation scenario for a B2C manufacturing company. The project involves e-commerce specialists, digital marketers, fulfillment, and the IT team. All of them would be supporting the design and delivery of a digital experience that caters to the customer journey.

All of the teams must be in coordination to ensure the hand-off during each step in the process works. A potential customer who has just received an email announcing the availability of a new model of a home exercise machine should be able to find all relevant product information on the website. They should also be able to find content that gives them context and inspiration to take the next step in the purchase journey.

And when they are ready to purchase, they should be able to do it easily and receive the product within a reasonable timeframe. This buying journey experience can only be achieved if all different teams work together in an orchestrated manner and the tools they use can facilitate that.

Technology systems are rigid

As mentioned earlier, antiquated technologies are often a hindrance in accelerating digital transformatiton. As brands look to create new (or modify existing) business processes and customer experiences, it is important to invest in technologies that not only meet transformation requirements but support long-term CX and business goals.

For organizations focused on improving their CX, this means their marketing technologies need to have a robust feature set, as well as functionality to achieve quick wins. These will help support growth within the platform, allowing your personalization and machine learning to be expanded over time. The platform should also be extensible and allow for easy integration to your other critical business systems such as CRM and ERP that can scale to keep your digital transformation momentum going.

Limited choices for deployment

When it comes to deployment, there is no one-size-fits-all model. The choice between on-premise, private cloud, managed cloud, or SaaS depends on what works best for the company, operating model, culture, budget and more. While containerization and SaaS solutions are gaining popularity, if it’s not right for your business, you shouldn’t be forced into those deployment options.

Digital transformation efforts will probably introduce a host of growing pains across the business, but not everything has to change at once. Sometimes it makes sense to stick with a familiar, safe deployment option. Brands shouldn’t be forced into a rip-and-replace deployment. Investing in technologies that offer an array of options and can evolve over time is critical for sustained growth post-transformation.

Not enabled for agile

The need to accelerate digital transformation to meet the ever-changing demands of today’s customers is forcing brands to move at unprecedented speed – all while their teams are working remotely. So, it’s more important than ever to own a digital experience platform that empowers both Marketing and IT to be agile.

Brands can’t afford to be locked into technologies that restrict collaboration and communication. With customer expectations at an all-time high, Marketing and IT need to work closely when evaluating, analyzing, and evolving their digital cutomer experiences. 

As more and more businesses start or accelerate their current digital transformation, it is important to understand what will contribute to the initiative being classified as a success. Whether it’s improving CX, creating a more omnichannel marketing presence, or introducing new operating models, businesses that invest in technologies that provide options, not obstacles, will set a strong, future-proof foundation for digital transformation success.

To learn more about how Sitecore can help you accelerate your organization's digital transformation, visit our hub that showcases customer success stories and provides other valuable resources.

Jill Grozalsky is a Product Marketing Director at Sitecore. Find her on  LinkedIn or on Twitter.