The Insight

June 12, 2020

Burnout in Digital Transformation: 8 Tips to Stop It from Happening

By iresearch
Social Share
Digital transformation challenges
Retail Technology

Digital transformation is that one thing that companies are constantly finding out they have to do. For the 21st-century business to thrive in this decade, digital transformation is one of the core models to drive growth in the coming years.

However, it is little surprise to see that many brands have either failed at their digital transformation strategy, or they are not even making an impact yet.

That can be due to many things – of which burnout is on top of the list.

In this piece, we discuss some of the tactics to employ in combating this problem

1. Have a Clear-Cut Vision

The word ‘digital’ can be explained and executed in a lot of ways. This can create a problem for companies that do not know just what they want their digital transformation to be about.

Before the project gets to the launch stage, ensure all hands are on deck as to what you plan on achieving with your digital transformation strategy. That way, everyone can start working towards a common goal and not just the vague idea of ‘digital.’

When choosing your goals and vision too, ensure it keys into the vision and mission of the company at large.

Employees usually sign on with a company based on how they feel their skills will be utilized by such a company to fit into its short- and long-term goals. If they don’t see any reason to be enthusiastic about your strategy, that would create a huge problem for you.

After all, having the plans is one thing – and having the right people to execute it is yet another.

Thus, it boils down to establishing the reason why you want the digital transformation to happen. Once that has been handled, you have to reinforce and revalidate this mission from time to time so that the relevant departments can know how their skills are being needed.

On the other hand, that will also ensure all affected departments know what to do, not that they are going another direction.

Speaking of relevant departments…

2. Get All Hands On Deck

Ford started a digital transformation strategy and failed at it the first time.

They had a great plan at the heart of their strategy, though. The plan was to develop a digital interface for their automobiles such that users will be able to get so much more out of their cars.

While that sounded good on paper, though, the company would fail massively at it.


Well, the top executives thought it would be fine to establish a department for the digital shift and separate it from the rest of the company. At the same time, they were pumping so much money and resources into this part of the business that other areas started to suffer massively.

The plan would soon crash altogether.

What that tells you is how important it is to involve all departments within the company. A solid digital strategy is aimed at revolutionizing how things are done throughout the company anyway, so why leave out certain parts of the company when doing so?

This mistake will most likely lead to burnout when you see that you have been approaching things the wrong way. Choosing the wrong digital strategy for certain departments, for example, then having to start all over from scratch will surely get you demotivated.

3. Focus Tech on Goals

There are a lot of technological options available to you on the market today. That is a blessing, but it might just as well become a curse when you are jumping on everyone that comes your way.

Once you know the goals of the digital transformation strategy, the next step is to pick which avenues to focus your technology on first. Left to us, we will always go for the ones that bring an early payback with them.

That is not being lazy or seeking the easy path out. That is, rather, the best way to cultivate a team of people who feel like champions and can use that extra motivation to get the other stages to work.

Speaking of early payback, the best areas to make that happen are in customer experience, innovation, marketing process, and operations.

Looking back at that, they are some of the most important aspects of your business too.

4. Adaptability is Key

One thing that the world before digital allowed employees and executives to enjoy is relative stagnation. They could choose to go with the same process for long, and nothing would come to challenge that status quo.

When digital solutions entered the mix, the game changed drastically. The only difference is that the game keeps changing.

Technological advancements are happening every day. That means the framework for your digital transformation strategy can fast become obsolete tomorrow.

When that happens a lot – or after a lot has been done – it is sure to demoralize all that are involved with the process. This would not be so if you had cultivated a team of agile minds that are ready to adapt to new changes at a moment’s notice.

Once they know that change is to be expected, and are prepared for such changes too, it becomes easier to overcome the fatigue that might have developed otherwise.

5. Work with Top Management

We cannot say this enough.

Even though digital transformation is something that would help the company in the long run, you have to be sure that management sees it that way. You also need to have lobbied your digital transformation model such that it has their approval and backing before commencing work.

It is no news that CIOs/ CTOs/ other assigned departments or personnel go through the hassle of developing a digital model only for it to be tossed in the trash. That is not for the fact that their model doesn’t work, but because they were yet to get the backing of the top executives.

That tells you that a great way to do what you want with the digital strategy is by ensuring senior management is in on what you are cooking. Otherwise, there won’t be much else left for you to even burnout over.

6. Finalize the Budget

How would you feel if money was the factor stuttering the advancement of your digital model? Tired, we suppose.

In the #4 point above, we made mention of how adaptability is key. We should, however, clarify that only a team with a moving digital strategy will be happy to adapt. It would not be the same case if the teams were being stagnated due to a lack of resources, only to be reactivated when technology has changed.

At the same time, the back and forth of trying to squeeze more money out of senior management when the funds at hand have dried up will quickly get you stressed. That is why we recommend making sure there is a budget allocation for the digital strategy, and you can work with what you have been given too.

7. Don’t burden IT

Before the idea came for a digital shift to happen within your company, we bet everyone had their job descriptions already. We are also going out on a limb to assume that they have KPIs and deliverables to both their supervisors and indirect bosses too.

When your digital moves get approved by top management, and you dump it all on IT, that is a disaster waiting to happen.

The guys from IT now have to manage their usual day to day activities with the extra tasks that you have put on their table. Of course, they will try to please everyone – and that means a half-baked job for everyone.

That is not for the lack of skills and/ or expertise on their part, but there is only so much that they can juggle at the same time.

Again, IT is not usually carried along with the business processes. That means they can make decisions on building a new platform from scratch when they could have just leveraged on existing ones for success.

Furthermore, they could develop solutions based on what they feel the company needs, not what the company needs.

Finally, dumping the job on IT might kill your budget faster than expected. Integrating IT with finance, for example, will help map out a clear spending model that will bring the needed tech in, accelerate the transformation process and even ensure the program starts paying for itself after a certain time.

Now, that’s how you make everyone happy, not stressed out.

8. Plan Long Term

We might have hinted you about this when we said technology is constantly changing, but it still deserves a section of its own.

A comprehensive digital transformation is not something that happens once. It is a process that keeps on going for as long as the company exists. If you thought it was a one-off thing, you might soon get frustrated when you reach the transformation stage you had envisioned and have to constantly innovate.

That is why you have to plan for the long haul before putting your minds and skills to it at all.

Final Words

It would interest you to know that many of the brands that are doing great with their digital strategies today have failed at it in the past.

This is not due to lack of funding – because big brands like Ford and GE would not have failed otherwise. It is, likewise, not for the lack of technology – seeing as BBC partnered with Siemens and still failed initially.

If you can get the stress factors, like we have discussed above, out of your projects, though, you are on the way to one of the most impressive digital transformations eve

Do any of these trends jump out?
Get in touch with a thought leadership expert to find out more

Email Us

Leave a Reply

9 + 3 =

To stay updated subscribe to our
newsletter right away!

Book a Meeting

Simply fill out the details below and we will be in contact with you as we can.

5 + 7 =

Keep me informed about industry insight!

Subscribe today to join a growing family of global thought leaders.

iResearch Services