Gartner, Inc. on the Barriers of Digital Transformation

The research institute Gartner, Inc. has identified in a current survey the six main barriers of digital transformation. The company found out that many managers who want to face up to change underestimate the challenges of digitization and take too little account of the necessary culture of innovation.

Only a small number of companies, Gartner continued, were able to successfully implement their digital initiatives beyond the pilot phase.


“The reality is that digital business demands different skills, working practices, organizational models and even cultures.” – Marcus Blosch, Research Vice President at Gartner


Gartner, Inc. identified six common barriers a company needs to overcome in order to successfully transform its business model.


Barrier 1: A Change-Resisting Culture

Digital transformation and the introduction of new innovations requires a team behind it. Digital innovation can only succeed through a corporate culture that values and promotes change. Employees often have to grow beyond their previous boundaries and open up to new and innovative ideas and processes.

A small start has proved particularly successful, in which a dedicated innovation team prepares the first steps of the transformation before the rest of the organization is involved. In this way, the ideas and approaches developed in the first step can be rolled out slowly without chaos caused by too many employees.

Barrier 2: Limited Sharing and Collaboration

It is not unknown that there is often a lack of willingness to cooperate, especially in larger companies. Especially across departments, many employees find it difficult to give up control and share their knowledge with colleagues.

“It’s not necessary to have everyone on board in the early stages. Try to find areas where interests overlap, and create a starting point. Build a first version, test the idea and use the success story to gain the momentum needed for the next step” – Marcus Blosch, Research Vice President at Gartner


Barrier 3: The Business Isn’t Ready

One of the biggest dangers for companies is to fall into hype. Some companies are simply not yet ready for transformation and if it is artificially forced, it is often doomed to failure. It takes the right resources and skills to face up to change.

Barrier 4: The Current Practices Don’t Support the Talent

Digital innovation requires the dissolution of classical ways of thinking. Some processes, technologies and employees have to rethink intensively in order to enable new digital innovations, such as artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things, to enter the company.

“In smaller or more innovative organizations, it is possible to redefine individuals’ roles to include more skills and competencies needed to support digital. In other organizations, using a bimodal approach makes sense by creating a separate group to handle innovation with the requisite skill set.” – Marcus Blosch, Research Vice President at Gartner

Barrier 5: Current practice does not support the talent

We have just talked about the right skills, but we also need an appropriate corporate culture and process management to put them into practice. Traditional processes are often too rigid and too slow for a digital system. New practices are therefore needed that support digital talents in their transformation process and give them the necessary freedom.


Barrier 6: Change Isn’t Easy

No one has ever said that the transformation to a digital future is easy. Developing new platforms, structures or processes can be time consuming and may even be expensive. But the more practice flows into change and the more a company gets involved in the new approaches, the faster and cheaper it can achieve positive results of digitization – both in terms of money and personnel.


More information on the study and the six barriers is available directly from Gartner, Inc.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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