Technology Alone is Not Enough

This blog accompanies our Charter Engage: Know IT podcast, "Partnering for Success - Application Services." 🎧 Listen Now.

When it comes to digital transformation, technology alone is not enough to guarantee success.

Digital transformation is hard. According to a McKinsey study, only 16% of digital transformation projects were successful as reported by the respondents. An additional 7% of the respondents shared that the improvements in performance were not sustained after the transformation project.[1]

There are many reasons why digital transformation initiatives fail, chief among them are:

• Lack of upfront clarity and commitment – Saying “yes” to a vision is not the same as committing to do what is necessary to realize the vision.

• Big bang vs. iterative approach – The need to make frequent and incremental adjustments (even reversals at times) in a transformation does not favour the waterfall approach. Yet, a lot of organizations are still not adept at agile/iterative execution.

• Unable to scale – Often organizations lack the resources or rigour to scale a successful pilot into an organization-wide initiative.

• Taking a technology-centric approach – It is easy and tempting to oversimplify a complex transformation into a quest for new tools, hoping in vain that the shiny technological marvels alone will deliver on all the business objectives.

On the other hand, according to the same McKinsey study, it is three times more likely for digital transformation projects to succeed when the following organizational conditions are met:

1. The management team established a clear change story for transformation.

2. Digital tools were implemented to make information more accessible across the organization.

3. Digital self-serve technology was implemented for use by employees and/or business partners.

4. Senior managers fostered a sense of urgency for making transformation changes.

5. People engaged in key roles ensured collaboration between units on transformation initiatives.

Standard operating procedures were modified to include new digital technologies.

6. Senior leaders encouraged employees to experiment with new ideas.

7. People engaged in key roles encouraged employees to challenge old ways of working.

8. People engaged in key roles were more involved in developing initiatives than during past change efforts.

9. Senior managers ensure collaboration between units on transformation initiatives.

Among the 10 key success factors, only #2 and #3 are technology-centric. The remaining 8 factors point to the need for extensive goal alignment, process adaptation, and organizational change management.

In other words, digital transformation is about people, process, and technology – successful ones are led by vision and guided by clear objectives.

The McKinsey Study, “Unlocking Success in Digital Transformations,” provided research on key factors affecting change efforts in organizations. [1]

Digital Transformation Unlocked

At Charter, we embrace the “people, process, and technology” approach to digital transformation, not just because it is how we help our clients achieve their goals but also how we continuously modernize and enhance our business.

We lead with Business Architecture for IT, Charter’s framework for aligning the client’s business needs with their transformation vision, goals, and objectives. Through this exercise, we identify the challenges and obstacles our client needs to overcome to achieve their vision. Then we develop a realistic transformation roadmap with our client to prioritize specific projects against an achievable timeline.

For clients who seek clarity in their risk exposure and security posture, we engage our Governance, Risk, and Compliance as well as Security practices to provide GRC and security assistance. The findings of these exercises inform the transformation roadmap and raise the probability of success for the overall initiative.

To ensure a smooth transition and promote acceptance of the transformation, a prescriptive plan is needed to prepare the organization and engage all the stakeholders and participants. This is where Charter brings Organizational Change Readiness into the playbook. This advisory service prepares the client’s organization for the upcoming changes through process adaptation, knowledge transfer, and proactive communications. We collaborate with our clients to develop a comprehensive Value Realization Plan to monitor the progress of delivery and ensure the anticipated qualitative and quantitative values are achieved.

As the adage goes, “What gets measured, gets done. And what gets recognized gets done again, and even better.” It is crucial to know what success looks like beforehand and have a pragmatic plan to evaluate it.

Once the “Why” and the “What” have been clearly defined and the success framework is established, it is then time to develop technical solutions to address the “How” of a digital transformation. At Charter, this is where we combine clear intent with networking technology, application development, and other expertise into bespoke solutions for our clients. These solutions will be built against detailed requirements and implemented according to the organization's change readiness plan.

In the journey of transformation, “going live” is not the end but the beginning of a new lifecycle. To sustain the hard-earned improvements, Charter’s Managed Services team provides operational assistance to our clients while our Support Services team focuses on restoration and maintaining uptime. To evolve the transformation, our Business Intelligence practice first generates enriched data to improve our clients’ situational awareness. Then our business insight experts build predictive analytics and algorithmic simulations with the enriched data to help our clients finetune their next initiatives.

Your Partner for Success

When the visionary Steve Jobs stated, “Technology alone is not enough,” he was referring to Apple’s product design philosophy. He expressed the need for technology to marry liberal arts and humanities to create user experiences that make the “heart sing.” [2] At Charter, we deliver technology expertise along with a rich host of advisory services and a partnership mindset to help our clients realize the art of the possible.

Digital transformation is hard. To improve the chances of success you need a partner who can guide you through every step of the journey, from people, to process, to technology.

Let Charter help drive your business Forward, Together.


[1] McKinsey & Company. (2018, October 29). The keys to a successful digital transformation | McKinsey.

[2] Lehrer, J. (2017). Steve Jobs: “Technology Alone Is Not Enough.” The New Yorker.

References - How Charter Can Help

Charter offers a variety of services to assist customers in transforming their businesses, across all three pillars of people, process, and technology.

Charter Business Architecture can assist with the fundamental process of Business and Digital Transformation and building a roadmap for your organization.

Charter Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) offers full compliance capabilities, to assist you in assessing your alignment with regulatory requirements and overcoming gaps where discovered.

Charter Security Services works with customers to build a comprehensive security framework and toolkit to protect your business from inside and outside threats.

Charter Cloud Services can advise customers on how best to select and adopt the right Cloud for your business needs, from Infrastructure, to Platform, to Software as a Service solutions.

Charter Modern Workplace will assist in mapping the evolving landscape of desktop and mobile applications to provide world-class user experiences to all your stakeholders.

Charter Application Services can develop applications and AI solutions to drive insights and operational efficiencies into your business, using full, low, or no code solutions to meet your demands.

Charter Managed Services provides fully managed service capability to take the burden of day-to-day operations off your shoulders, so your team can focus on Business Transformation efforts.

Charter Staff Augmentation delivers skilled and capable hands and experts allowing your business to respond to demand and be agile when needed.

Please get in touch with Charter at for more information.

About the Author
Allan Wong, Director, Swift Harbour; Sales Manager, Central

Allan is a veteran of the IT industry with over two decades of experience in growth strategy, organizational leadership, and business innovation. He consistently delivered over 50% growth in his previous organizations, and he was responsible for establishing several partner ecosystems that spanned the globe.

At Charter, he is tasked to expand and transform the Application Services practice and its portfolio of offerings. His goal is to build an agile organization ready to deliver to the client’s multi-discipline solutions in close cooperation with the talents across many practices within Charter.

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About Charter

Charter, an award-winning IT solution and managed services provider, was founded in 1997 in Victoria, BC, Canada. We offer a comprehensive portfolio of innovative IT solutions, managed services, project delivery, and consulting services. Our mission is to align people, process, and technologies to build better organizations, enhance communication, boost operational performance, and modernize businesses. Our team of experts leverages a business architecture methodology and a human-centered design approach to drive successful digital transformations for our clients, unlocking new opportunities, generating value, and promoting growth. We provide knowledge and support that extends beyond our clients’ businesses, empowering them to focus on their core operations.

Business in Vancouver Magazine has recognized Charter as one of the "Top 100 Fastest-Growing Companies in B.C. in 2023" based on 5-year revenue growth from 2018 - 2022.

Let Charter help drive your business outcomes Forward, Together.

For more information on this press release or on Charter, please contact:

Dawn van Galen
Marketing Manager