Original Research

The underlying factors of a successful organisational digital transformation

Ntandoyethu S.M. Mhlungu, Jeff Y.J. Chen, Peter Alkema
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 21, No 1 | a995 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v21i1.995 | © 2019 Ntandoyethu S.M. Mhlungu, Jeff Y.J. Chen, Peter Alkema | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2018 | Published: 30 April 2019

About the author(s)

Ntandoyethu S.M. Mhlungu, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa
Jeff Y.J. Chen, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa
Peter Alkema, Business Banking Division, First National Bank, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Background: Organisational digital transformation (ODT) is a field of growing interest in practice and academia. Further, a disparity between how information technology (IT) leaders and non-IT leaders perceive the factors leading to successful ODT initiatives has been cited. A set of empirically tested ODT assessment instruments will enhance leaders’ decision-making when implementing ODT initiatives.

Objectives: This research attempts to: (1) identify the key internal factors of successful ODT initiatives; and (2) confirm whether there is, as has been suggested, a difference between the way IT managers and non-IT managers perceive these factors.

Method: A questionnaire consisting of 36 potential underlying factors was formulated, based on the existing literature and additional insights. A prescreening process ensured each survey participant met the selection criteria. From a total of 95 participants who completed the survey, 45 were IT executives and 50 were non-IT executives. Quantitative analyses were conducted to identify the key underlying factors and ascertain whether IT and non-IT leaders hold differing perceptions of these factors.

Results: Factor analysis identified four categories of factors of a successful ODT initiative: (1) customer centricity, (2) governance, (3) innovation and (4) resource attainment. Further, the analysis revealed that IT and non-IT managers hold similar perceptions on the key factors affecting the overall ODT success.

Conclusion: This research provides empirical evidence that paves the way towards a reliable ODT assessment instrument and refutes claims that IT and non-IT leaders hold contrasting views on these factors.


Digital transformation; organisational transformation; innovation, digital strategy; organisational digital transformation assessement.


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