Leading digital transformation and data science experts like Bill Schmarzo say that Digital Transformation should be EVERY organisations’ #1 strategic business initiative.
Below is a practical guide on how you can implement digital transformation in your business. 5 things that will have a big impact and accelerate innovation.
Process automation and improving efficiencies are at the core of digital transformation. Organisations must be more vigilant than ever in remaining innovative and future-proofing their businesses. This is critical in remaining profitable and competitive.
On average, “digital masters” are 26% more profitable than their peers according to George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy and author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation.
Digital Transformation Defined
There are many definitions of digital transformation. Think of it as a shift in philosophy. Digital transformation will allow an organisation to quickly adapt to new changes and opportunities through making the most of technology.
It is the process of using digital technologies to create new or modify existing business processes and culture to deliver a better customer experience.
Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance. Digital masters do two things better than other companies: identifying digital ways to change their businesses, and building leadership capabilities to drive transformation, according to George Westerman.
As employees, our everyday work life is filled with digital technology and yet the reliance on manual, paper-based processes and systems is still huge. We know what we know, and sometimes miss the opportunities provided by today’s platforms to improve our business operations. Simple fixes that capture data electronically, autmoate processes and provide new insights. The real value is in acting on the data we collect.
5 Tangible Steps to Transform your Business.
Step 1. Centralised Document Management
Today I spent close to an hour looking for a document. I wanted to use a file i’d created which had a lot of historical data and a good process document for a project we completed around business intelligence. For some reason, I didn't save this document to our document repository (M-Files) and it's lost somewhere on 1 of the 6 devices I use regularly. In contrast, I was able to collaborate with our marketing manager on an event plan and save my changes to his document. All with version control and from my mobile phone because it was saved in the repository.
Centralised document management is powerful, and it can be simple and quick to deploy.
Enterprise Content Management enables:
A central place for documents
Collaboration on documents, sharing and co-authoring
Security - Only the right staff see particular documents and you have digital copies
Workflows to automate processes
Version control and easy to restore documents without needing IT
Step 2. Digitise Paper Forms
Unlock efficiencies by digitising files. Reduce errors, lower risk and open the door for process automation and new insights.
Think of the new employee onboarding process for HR as an example. There are lots of forms, social media policies, privacy policies, payroll information and so on. All of this is repeatable when a new employee joins or leaves the organisation.
Instead of paper forms, you can easily create digital versions that work with mobile devices and enable your new staff hit the ground running, instead of getting up to speed for a week or more before they can contribute to your business. Apply digital forms to repetitive processes.
Did you know that even some of the largest vendors of software products still needed their employees to send in paper receipts for expense claims? Not all vendors embrace their own technology and someone has to physically validate the receipts and there was no way to efficiently pick up on duplicates or fraud. Smarter organisations like the Australian Tax Office now use predictive analytics tools to pick up on anomalies and provide new opportunities to detect fraud.
Did you know that you can quickly digitise paper forms using affordable platforms? Low-code, drag and drop platforms like Intrexx make it easy for virtually any employee to create e-forms which work on mobile devices and they can be plugged into a workflow to automate a manual process like an expense claim or a pricing request approval.
3. Automate Processes
You have the data, use it. Low-code platforms and ECM solutions can help here. As mentioned above, inputs from e-forms like an expense claim or a leave request can be connected to a workflow to automate the approval for such requests. Rules can be applied and a query against a database can automatically check if an employee has the leave entitlement they are requesting. If that leave is available, the system sends an approval that can be completed by a manager from their mobile device. This saves time and provides instant approvals with self-service applications.
4. Connect to Business Systems
Data collected from e-forms will be more valuable if it is connected to a business system. For example, the accounts receivable process (AR) will work more efficiently if invoices are connected to an accounting or ERP system like Xero or SAP. Workflows will automate a process and make it more efficient. Invoices can be automatically scanned, routed to the next step of the approval process, fields can be prefilled and the invoice can be sent to the right person to sign-off and complete the transaction. Connecting business systems will enable a holistic view and opportunities for better reporting.
5. New Insights. Analyse and Act on New Opportunities.
Digital transformation creates new data and the value realised when you can analyse and action it.
Take advantage of opportunities created by new views and a fresh perspective.
Centralising documents increases efficiency and enables productivity. The opportunity for better collaboration and process automation through workflow is now possible.
Digital forms save time and let you capture, automate and analyse data trapped in paper documents. Risk and compliance is improved with access to digital documents and if someone leaves the organisation, you still have control over valuable intellectual property.
You can transform the way your business operates with what you have achieved through digitising your business and developing digital processes. Electronic document management platforms and electronic forms provide access to operational data you can report on.
Analyse the data and look at trends, issues or opportunities to increase revenue. The reporting functionality of platforms has come a long way and should provide with a good baseline view for analysis. You can connect the data into operation dashboards or automate reporting using any of the major business intelligence (BI) and visualisation tools which are very powerful and affordable.
Digital transformation reduces administrative tasks and that directly helps staff to focus on their core job and higher-value tasks.
Digital transformation is all about efficiencies. Capturing data in digital forms enables automated processes and workflow. This is a key output from digital transformation and will transform the way a business operates. Digital transformation will help make a business smarter through new insights, leaner with increased efficiencies and more secure through reduced risk and improved compliance.
True digital transformation is a new way of thinking and applies to the whole business. In practice, you can start small and get some wins with things like digitising paper forms or implementing a central document repository. A phased approach will help you demonstrate what is possible and show a tangible result that is truly transformative. A better way of doing things that not only improves efficiency but also improves employee's job satisfaction by reducing the low value, repetitive tasks.
Want to know more? Take a look at the videos below or speak to us about how other companies have transformed their business. One small process can make a huge impact. Reach us here. We have been working with clients to get the most out of their technology for over 20 years.