Why Many Transformation Projects Fail


Brandy Taylor, IpX VP of Services & Thomas Miller, IpX Director of Enterprise Systems and Processes

We have all heard stories about tool implementation projects that endured unplanned problems, hidden costs and ultimately exceeded schedule and budget. Understanding common pitfalls in past implementation projects can help you avoid the problems these companies experienced and ensure a successful outcome of the tool implementation or improvement project within your organization.

Finding and selecting a digital solution that can best meet your organization’s current and longer-term business needs can be intimidating and demanding. Partnering with the right system integrator can ensure that you realize value quickly and gain a roadmap of additional capabilities your solution can provide your business in the future. Approaching this process incorrectly often results in costly delays, a lack of user satisfaction and adoption, and potentially having to go through a similar process again to add missing capability or even consideration of replacing the entire solution.

From IpX’s experience, there are a few main reasons tool implementation or improvement initiatives fail:

  • Improperly defined tool implementation requirements.
  • Poorly defined tool agnostic business processes.
  • Organizations allow the tools to lead, and the business process falls out.
  • A lack of detailed administrative procedures, or “how-tos,” to drive consistency and repeatability in the ways of working across teams and business units.

Requirements definition is arguably the most crucial element of a tool implementation project. With respect to limited funding and rigid schedules, well documented tool requirements become essential. Tool specific requirements gathering and definition are not skills organizations often have had the opportunity to fine tune and as a result are not given the focus that they require. More often than not, many organizations begin with a basic list of statements collected from users and find out later that the business needs and wants were not fully understood or defined.

An organization must define robust tool requirements even when the ultimate goal is to avoid customization and utilize out of the box configuration.

The business process should lead, and the tools should follow; the tools should be configured to meet the business needs and wants. When the organization has poorly defined business processes and the organizational ways of working are variable, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to define robust requirements that meet the needs of all. A well-defined business process will lead clear, concise and valid tool requirements. An organization must define robust tool requirements even when the ultimate goal is to avoid customization and utilize out of the box configuration.

Beneath the tool agnostic business processes must be detailed step-by-step how-to instructions for each discipline to drive consistent and repeatable results. The tool is only a workflow, it will not drive consistent ways of working. Detailed how-to administrative procedures should consist of your businesses best practices and lessons learned.

You must have a well-defined business process in order to have robustly defined requirements. And your processes should lead, and the tools should then be implemented to meet the business process requirements. Even though this makes logical sense, statistics show that over 70% of failed projects are due to a lack of effective requirements definition. Take the time to dive a little deeper into requirements and understand some of the common pitfalls that organizations often fall into.

At IpX, we work with tool providers to ensure that their commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products meet the requirements in our proprietary CM2-600 standard. Because of this, IpX is uniquely positioned to guide your tool deployment to success. Review our PLM Services specifically where we have extensive knowledge of and relationships with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) providers, which will be leveraged to ensure your organization aligns with the best tool. IpX partners with the PLM community through the IpX Digital Tool Certification process, certifying PLM products based on its ability to enable IpX's proprietary CM2 processes and workflows.


Keep an eye out for our next publication discussing “The Importance of Defining Requirements and MVP for Successful Tool Implementation.”

Due to the complexity of its operations and the need for certain configuration and optimization, it is crucial to have a process expert on your team. To understand the benefits that a 3rd party process expert can provide to your tool implementation or improvement project, read our previous blog “The Benefits of Hiring a Third Party Process Expert to Support Modern Tool Solutions.”

For more information on how to get engaged with IpX Services for your next tool or transformation project, contact IpX Services at services@ipxhq.com and visit our website to learn more about our Ecosystem Transformation Services.


Brandy Taylor is the VP of Services at IpX with over 20 years of experience in engineering and project management within the aerospace, civil, military and automotive industries. Brandy holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a CM2-Professional certification. Connected on LinkedIn

Thomas Miller is the Director of Enterprise Systems and Processes at IpX with more than 14 years of experience in enterprise systems, business processes, IT/Cyber Security, and software development within the aerospace, automotive and manufacturing industries. Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree is Computer Technology with an applied area of manufacturing, a Six Sigma Black Belt for the North American region, and a CM2- Comprehensive certification. Connect on LinkedIn

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IpX believes organizational sustainability, scalability and transformation are born from the continual evolution of people, processes, systems and data. Through our leading workforce development platform known as the IDEA Academy, our CM2 standard and certification courses, True North professional services, and digital solution advisement, we enable your organization to always evolve based on a functional blueprint for the ecosystem of tomorrow. Drive innovation, create a better customer experience, and enable your workforce as an organization built for change, speed, quality and resiliency. www.ipxhq.com

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