Discover the keys to a successful technology implementation

Implementing smart: A Deloitte and Forbes Insights survey

Our technology adoption survey, completed in partnership with Forbes Insights, tapped more than 500 senior executives across industries to determine what differentiates successful technology implementations from those that are less effective.

Implementing smart: The survey overview

This survey was conducted to help identify the challenges and benefits of emerging technology implementations. It also helped to distinguish characteristics of implementation "masters" and the practices they use to successfully implement new technologies. The following demographics highlight the data pulled from the survey:

  • Input was gathered from more than 500 senior leaders with experiences with recent technology adoptions.
  • Twenty-one percent of respondents were project executive sponsors, 18 percent project technology leads, 29 percent business process owners, and 32 percent overall project leaders and managers. Respondents from the Americas made up 40 percent of the totals; Europe, Middle East, and Africa contributed 33 percent; and Asia-Pacific 27 percent.
  • Respondents represented a broad cross-section of industries, including Financial Services; Technology, Media, and Telecommunications; Manufacturing; Energy; Health and Life Sciences; Public Sector; Real Estate; and other. The top three cross sections of industry included 25 percent technology, media, and telecommunications, 18 percent manufacturing; and 15 percent financial services.
  • Companies with $1B-$4.9B and $5B-$9.9B in revenue represented approximately 47 percent of the sample.
  • The technology solutions implemented by respondents included SAP, Oracle, Workday, Salesforce, and Custom Applications.

Implementation masters

Implementation masters believe they succeed more regularly in their implementations than non-masters. When comparing masters to non-masters, masters are much better at assessing the likely outcomes and communicating those to stakeholders across all key metrics.

Because of their stronger upfront analysis and stakeholder level-setting, their implementations generally go better than non-master implementations. Masters come from all industries and technology experiences.

Key findings

  • Only 10 percent of the respondents considered themselves implementation masters, with another 40 percent rating themselves near-masters.
  • Despite considering themselves near-masters, the average difference across the several hundred factors we evaluated was .37 (~ eight percent), with several factors coming in well over one point (20 percent) above near-master. The average difference between masters and non-masters exceeded one point.
  • This data tells us that masters went in with more realistic expectations and, therefore, weren't surprised by the outcomes.

Key challenges

  • Since the master question required respondents to self-assess, the possibility exists that some respondents inflated their own self-worth.
  • The top challenge experienced by masters was that previous project experiences or outcomes had negatively impacted their end-user perspectives or perceptions.

Implementation challenges

Key challenges

  • Previous project experiences or outcomes that negatively impacted end-user perspectives or perceptions
  • Poor implementation tactics eroded the value of a good technology solution
  • Discomfort with change
  • Lack of performance management rigor on the project
  • Change fatigue within the organization due to other projects or ongoing change-related efforts
  • Limited resources or time to develop training


What is digital maturity?

Digital maturity is the transformation of technology business models, operating models, and interactions into the digital space, fully integrating digital into all aspects of the business.

Key findings

  • Organizations are implementing digital tools but are falling short of doing what it takes to become a fully enabled digital organization.
  • To thrive in the future, organizations must transform to digital.

Key challenges

  • Public sector organizations experienced the most unmet expectations and fewer respondents reported that digital transformation led to significant improvements.
  • Workday respondents reported the highest satisfaction; 70 percent said expectations were exceeded and only 6 percent felt their expectations weren't met.


What is agile maturity?

Agile maturity is an implementation methodology that focuses on close partnership with the customer or end user. It completes partial solutions in rapid sprints with consistent teams of people, collects feedback after each release, and plans next sprints to address key customer feedback points. In contrast, a "waterfall" approach focuses on a long-term plan, build, and run model that often delays go-live and results realization until after the deployment of the full solution.

Key findings

  • While agile maturity is growing, the highest percentage of highly mature agile companies are in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Highly mature agile companies (meaning they use agile methods for all IT projects) see significant improvements in quality, speed, and resourcing, relative to previous technology implementations at their companies.
  • The ability to produce faster results in short sprints not only accelerates business results, but it also helps maintain team focus on productivity.

Key challenges

  • Highly mature agile companies are strong performers on all factors addressed in the survey, with between 60 percent and 70 percent of mature agile companies seeing improvements in all areas. The lack of differentiation makes it difficult to pinpoint specific challenges from the questions posed.
  • When coupling "mostly agile companies" with "balanced portfolio companies" and "some agile companies," less than 15 percent of respondents reported exceeding expectations across all success factors, indicating a correlation between consistent methods and success.

Cloud implementation

What is cloud maturity?

Cloud maturity is focused around internet-based computing. Servers, storage, and applications sit on virtual servers and are distributed to an organization's traditional technology devices, like computers and mobile devices.

Key findings

  • All-cloud companies saw greater benefits than those with mixed stacks.
  • Companies with all-cloud stacks expected more return on investment (ROI) than generally received.
  • While companies realized more speed and greater simplicity, cost-reduction expectations weren't as consistently met.

Key challenges

  • Since risk management efforts fall on the cloud providers, respondents generally believed the solutions didn't exceed expectations in that space.
  • Despite often coming with digital components, cloud solutions didn't necessarily move digital efforts forward.

SaaS implementation

What is SaaS maturity?

SaaS solutions, delivered on-premise or through the cloud, are offered to organizations on a subscription basis. This puts the onus of software updates on the provider and gives organizations the flexibility to change software as needed.

Key findings

  • Companies with all-SaaS stacks saw greater benefits.
  • Companies with all-SaaS stacks saw strong results for ROI.
  • In general, expectations were either met or exceeded with respect to cost, speed, and simplicity for all SaaS companies.

Key challenges

  • While SaaS solutions create opportunities for cost reduction, many of our respondents acknowledged overestimation of expected benefits.
  • Expected ROI by our respondents is overestimated as often as properly estimated.


What is mobile maturity?

Mobile-enabled companies operate with a comprehensive mobile component, offering access anywhere, anytime, with any device.

Key findings

  • Adding mobile options to your technology implementation process doesn't necessarily increase the chance of success or rate of adoption.
  • Every technology implementation process should include a mobile element.
  • Mobile access doesn't need additional training.

Key challenges

  • While 45 percent of organizations felt mobile deployment improved productivity, those in consumer and industrial products and technology, media, and telecommunications had the highest levels of missed productivity expectations.
  • For organizations whose adoption expectations weren't met with bring your own device (BYOD) programs, the infrastructure and custom applications were identified as root causes.

Portfolio management

What is portfolio management?

Within IT organizations, there are two different philosophies around the oversight and management of IT projects: portfolio management; and project management.

Portfolio management relies on the collective management of all IT projects. Sharing resources, people, and stack space across all projects gives the company opportunities to manage the portfolio holistically. But it also creates the potential for under-investment in key projects. Project management philosophies rely upon project-by-project management, giving each individual project the opportunity to demonstrate value, while competing for resources with all other projects.

Key findings

  • While there is a movement toward portfolio management approaches, the value across all success factors wasn't as significant as we originally anticipated.
  • The difference across our success factors for companies that managed IT programs as a single portfolio was significant, indicating value relative to project-by-project management.
  • Areas of significant value included management of security threats, improved project management capabilities, and better stakeholder management.


Portfolio management strategies saw significant benefits in:

  • Management of security threats
  • Consistency of project management and time to integration
  • Established capabilities (such as project management or change management) as a shared service across portfolio
  • Implementation and technology quality
  • Stakeholder engagement, across all projects

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Michal Kopanič

Michal Kopanič

vedúci partner | Consulting

Michal Kopanič je vedúci partner oddelenia Consulting Deloitte na Slovensku a zároveň vedie regionálny poradenský tím pre M&A v regióne strednej Európy. Posledných 20 rokov pôsobil na rôznych vedúcich... Viac