Despite all of the hype around digital transformation, the majority of digital initiatives launched by midsize and large organizations will fail to create new ways of working through 2021, according to a Gartner report released on Wednesday. In 80% of digital initiatives, only one quarter of companies will actually create new ways of working, the report found.

New ways of working were defined as distributed decision making, virtual and remote work, and redesigned physical workspaces, according to the report.

SEE: Special report: Digital transformation: A CXO’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“Digital workplace initiatives cannot be treated exclusively as an IT initiative,” Carol Rozwell, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, said in a press release. “When initiatives are executed as a series of technology rollouts, employee engagement and addressing the associated cultural change are left behind. Digital workplace success is impossible without such.”

Successful digital businesses rely on strong workplace leaders, the report found. As with all business goals, the precedent must be set from the top-down. If current leadership isn’t striving to accomplish digital initiatives, then it may be time to change leadership, according to the report.

Successful digital workplace programs focus less on technology and more on the employee experience, making changes to the work environment as needed, the report said. These changes also fall on leadership, who must spearhead the efforts toward a more person-centric infrastructure.

“The business unit leader is the champion of a new way of working in the digital workplace. This is the person who identifies the desired business outcomes, develops the business case and establishes the measures by which success is determined. Without engaging business unit leaders, it will be impossible to successfully grapple with the scope of changes needed,” Rozwell said in the release.

For more advice on how to conduct successful digital initiatives, check out this TechRepublic article.