Digital Transformation

The Role of a Program Manager in Digital Transformation

The role of a program manager in digital transformation is crucial to the success of digitization efforts. What should you expect from one?

Blog Post

6 minutes

Aug 12, 2021

The role of a program manager in digital transformation has always been a vitally important aspect of business digitization, and yet many organizations find themselves tripping up over a lack of planning and management for their initiatives.

This importance has only increased over the last decade, as companies have increasingly sought to improve their operations and competitiveness by implementing new technology and processes.

Businesses, keen to get rid of older systems in favor of adopting future-proof systems—often cloud-based—have been clamoring to put together strategies for digital transformation.

Studies suggest that 70% of organizations either have a strategy for digital transformation, or are working on one

This increased demand has seen companies look towards a wide variety of digitization tools to cater to the needs of their employees and customers—whether its RPA, ERP, or another cloud technology.

27% of companies say digital transformation is a matter of survival.

But what of the role of a program manager in digital transformation?

Just how important exactly are they to the success of your transformation?

This is what we will take a look at today, to help get a better understanding of why the right guidance is not only beneficial but necessary for successful change management.

Most Businesses Fail at Digital Transformation

It’s an unfortunate reality that many businesses that pursue digital transformation (DX) see their efforts end in failure.

This is not for a lack of trying—investment in business technology is higher than it’s ever been, and the current circumstances we find ourselves in after a tumultuous pandemic and its consequences on business has prompted even more adoption of technology to fill the gaps as large numbers of the populace are confined to their homes.

Global digital transformation (DX) spending was forecast to increase between 15 and 20% from 2017 to 2022, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to further increase their investments in technology to meet the needs of staff and consumers

However, the number of technology implementations that go awry should be a great cause for concern for businesses, particularly SMBs operating on a tight budget.

Though the enthusiasm for digitization is admirable and correct, it can often lead to poorly thought-out strategies which lead to disappointment and a result that falls below expectations.

A large number—around 70%—of companies experience digital transformation failure.

Failures often boil down to a multitude of reasons; typically unrealistic expectations, poor leadership, lack of buy-in, fatigue, and a tendency for business leaders to attempt too much, too soon.

The good news is that even when a company fails at its transformation initially, with the right help it can get back on track and back on budget.

As businesses transitioned much of their workforce to remote work during the pandemic, many companies struggled to implement solutions on time, with just 40% of projects meeting their goals on schedule, budget, and quality

This is where the role of a project manager is absolutely vital.

How Does a Program Manager In Digital Transformation Help?

With an influx of technologies coming into your business, you simply must have your project management up to standard to succeed in digital transformation.

Many organizations make the mistake of thinking that digital transformation implementation is a decision that starts and ends at the executive or IT department level.

Now, while executive buy-in is definitely crucial, most digitization projects should be placing a strong emphasis on project management to ensure that your goals (which should be determined in advance) are met.

One of the most fundamental aspects of your program management in digital transformation is clear aims and communication to ensure that your business is meeting its timeline.

What Does Effective Program Management Look Like?

We’ve spoken about organizations desiring transformation but failing in their objectives; now we need to look at exactly why the role of a project manager is so important and what should be expected of your project management strategy to succeed in your plans.

Clear Strategic Objectives and Reporting

First and foremost, the role of a project manager is to set out the agenda for change, how it will be achieved, and what constitutes its success.

You must be able to have a clear understanding of what you’re implementing and why, which is where a consultation with an expert will almost certainly be beneficial.

Once your tech objectives are set, your program manager should be able to provide you with reports on your implementations and whether they’re meeting their targets.

The executive leadership and program manager must be aligned on what determines your success with regard to a timeline and budget goal, or else you’ll be left in the dark and wondering what you’re actually achieving from what is, after all, a long-term endeavor. 

Using the Right Tools to Get the Job Done

To further the previous point, alignment and communication between PMO and all relevant stakeholders is vital, and as part of an effective digital transformation program management strategy should be using the appropriate tools to make the process smoother for everyone.

These tools should include:

  • Planning: Plan schedules and timelines all in one place with tasks, templates, workflows, and calendars
  • Collaboration: Assign tasks, add comments, organize dashboards, allow proofing and approvals
  • Documentation: Editing, documenting, and storage of all files
  • Evaluation: Track, assess, and report success through resource management and reporting

This will help your business stakeholders understand where exactly they are in the implementation project and provide them the relevant information speedily without needing hours-long meetings.

Related Webinar: Accelerate Delivery with Project Management


Understanding Change Management

Digital transformation is a long-term project whichever way you look at it.

Because of this, it’s important for the program manager to be able to adjust to changes in an industry, and a market according to the shifting objectives of the business. In this sense, flexibility and scalability are key in program management in digital transformation.

In short, you must be able to respond and have a strong understanding of the role of change management for your DX plans.

We’ve already seen how the last year has disrupted the business world beyond what anybody could have imagined or anticipated.

Many organizations were caught unaware and unprepared for the circumstances of 2020 and 2021, creating makeshift workarounds with regard to digital technology to keep their business operations running as well as possible.

The role of a program manager in digital transformation entails being able to put a comprehensive strategy in place for tech implementations with a strong response and communication system within the company to ensure every measure has been taken to get the organization to its desired outcome.


  • The majority of organizations want to see digital transformation in their companies, but a lack of vision and clarity often means their attempts end in failure.
  • Project management is essential in getting technologies implemented by establishing clear objectives, lines of communication, and means for measuring success.
  • Digital transformation is a long-term project, so managers should be able to respond to changes, adjust objectives, and help achieve new goals—DX is not a one-and-done mission

To learn more about project management with regard to business technology implementation, check out our IT consulting page, which provides the expertise of our experienced IT consultants to ensure your digital transformation goals are met on time and on budget, with no exceptions. 


Digital TransformationEmployee ExperienceProject Management


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