Half of IT leaders hesitant on future digital transformation programmes due to negative past experiences


Nearly half (44%) of UK IT decision makers (ITDMs) are less confident in taking on digital transformation programmes due to negative past experiences, according to new research from Citrix.

The new data was obtained through a study by Vitreous World, polling 500 IT decision makers at large organisations (250+ employees) in the UK, and aimed to reveal the extent to which previous experiences impact willingness to take on new digital transformation programmes. The poll revealed that even though many ITDMs have previously been involved with successful programmes, over half (51%) have been ‘burned’ by digital transformation projects that did not go according to the initial plan.


Lack of confidence in future digital transformation programmes

When asked whether past experiences with digital transformation programmes have made them less confident in future programmes, nearly half of IT leaders (44%) agreed. The majority (85%) also felt these past experiences have impacted how they approach programmes today, in one way or another.

Overall experiences with digital transformation projects in the past vary but more than half (58%) of ITDMs said they had been somewhat challenging – a stark contrast to nearly all (94%) IT leaders stating they went into their first digital transformation programme confident of its outcomes.

The study also indicates experiences may vary by seniority, and the ability to manage challenges associated with digital transformation programmes, as 35% of CIOs and 41% of CTOs cites their past experiences as ‘ideal’.

“These new findings shed a bright light on how impactful digital transformation programmes can be for those that work on them – for good and bad. It’s encouraging to see that many have been involved with successful projects in the past, even if they didn’t always go ‘to plan’ – and their importance to the business ensures they do not shy away from taking on new initiatives,” said Mark Sweeney, Regional VP, UK & Ireland, Citrix.


Digital transformation programmes ‘career-defining’

While hesitancy in taking on new digital transformation programmes exists among ITDMs, the survey uncovered the importance to those involved with regards to their personal careers and the success of the company they operate in.

The new findings show that the vast majority (97%) of leaders link the outcomes of digital transformation programmes with their success of their current role and future progression, while virtually all (99%) recognise digital transformation to be an important part of their businesses’ survival and roadmap in the coming years.

Over two-thirds (68%) of ITDMs also agree that major digital transformation programmes represent a career defining opportunity for them – with just 7% dismissing this to be the case. This is reflected by the fact the majority (69%) would rather work on a challenging but ambitious programme rather than a manageable but less aspiring project they believed was more likely to succeed.

Given the importance placed on major digital transformation programmes, ITDMs feel they could benefit from more help. Just a quarter (25%) say they feel very well supported by other departments, although this figure rises to 61% when thinking about support from the leadership team.

“It is clear that working with the right partners and having adequate internal support is crucial for IT leaders to deliver successful outcomes from ambitious projects,” Sweeney added. “Although many have encountered challenges, it is important that decision makers trust the skills and technology at their disposal in order for businesses to reap the rewards of this new era of innovation we’re living in today.”