Five mile-markers to successful digital transformation

The enterprise journey to digital transformation requires a solid plan, with clear markers to guide achievements and the passage to the end goal.
Read time 4min 50sec

Digital transformation is a concept on every IT and business leader’s mind, from improving back-office operations to creating better front-office experiences for both internal and external users.

Yet, when it comes to adopting the latest information management technologies and digitally transforming operational processes, some organisations are further along than others.

In 2018, the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) reported that every organisation is on − or should be on − a digital transformation journey. It went on to state that the heart of this journey lies in understanding, anticipating and redefining internal and external customer experiences.

Therefore, while the company and its executives may have a clear vision of what to expect from the application configuration processes, it needs to examine its achievement record, as this can be little more than mixed.

Research indicates that when questioned about the effectiveness of current solutions, most companies say they are at least somewhat satisfied, with 74% noting they are happy with the security of their applications. The reason for this may be because large enterprises have constructed strong businesses focused on securing corporate data assets.

It’s important to note though that the journey to digital transformation requires a solid plan. A clear vision of the destination is not enough; the company also needs to set achievement targets − markers to guide the passage to the end goal – which, due to the pace of technology change, may be a moving target, but progress must be tracked.

Over 53% of companies are said to be “living on the edge” in terms of a potential serious disruption in their business model.

Follow these markers to ensure the company is on track to successful transformation.

Firstly, it is crucial to create a digital transformation team. Develop a cross-functional squad dedicated to various digital transformation projects. The same survey mentioned above shows that 39% of digital transformation projects are led by IT departments.

The steps previously highlighted enable IT and business executives to better understand operational issues and uncover potential ways of working together. The company may want to consider creating a digital transformation officer position − someone who can take the lead on these initiatives. However, even if the firm decides not to have a dedicated position, it still needs to nominate someone to own the process and lead it.

The next step involves choosing the first process to transform. Identify a potential business process that could benefit from digital transformation.

What is potentially the best candidate for this?

The answer to this is either a heavily manual, paper-based process or one plagued with silos that hinder collaboration and customer service. 55% of digital transformation projects are driven by a need to reduce costs and improve productivity, while 30% focus on improving customer service.

Get the team to document where that process slows down, what information is involved, what the sources of that information are, and who interacts with it. Then, identify who oversees the process and seek their support.

The third step involves understanding the correlation between information, processes and people. Even the best digital transformation project will fail if people aren’t part of the discussion.

By looking at the holistic picture, the organisation will have a complete landscape view of everything that impacts the process it wants to transform. It will also enable it to create a more integrated information ecosystem as well as provide the ability to break down information silos. This latter helps ensure positive results, while at the same time preventing disruptions from occurring in upstream and downstream processes.

Step number four shows how to maximise the value of existing systems. The firm may have already invested in key systems that manage the day-to-day work but now that it has a process to transform, ensure technologies like optical character recognition, data capture, analytics, collaboration and auto-classification are utilised and integrated with core enterprise systems. This will drive efficiencies within the organisation while also connecting the enterprise.

Some 56% of all businesses surveyed are shown to kick off their digital transformation initiatives with the goal of improving information sharing and collaboration – as you will have noted by now there is a sound rationale behind this approach.

The final fifth step requires that while the company may now be well on its way to achieving its goals, it’s time to step back and evaluate how the measures stack up against the objectives the team set. Pose questions such as: Is the organisation digitally transforming or stuck in neutral? Well, is it?

Over 53% of companies are said to be “living on the edge” in terms of a potential serious disruption in their business model. Some 81% of organisations believe digital transformation is “important” or “very important” to their organisation and only one in five are near where they want to be in terms of their core transformation challenge of “understanding, anticipating, and redefining, internal and external, customer experiences.”

AIIM believes that four key intelligent information management practices or methodologies, and an associated set of modular and configurable technology building blocks, are critical to digital transformation success.

These are noted to be: modernising the information toolkit, digitalising core organisational processes, automating compliance and governance, and finally, leveraging analytics plus machine learning.

AIIM refers to a secret sauce – the magic ingredient necessary for success − defined as information management plus digital transformation maturity, which it emphasises are directly tied to business effectiveness and profitability. 

Monique Williams

Southern Africa regional sales manager for Hyland Software.

Monique Williams is the South Africa Country Manager for Hyland Software, where she is responsible for sales on Hyland's Content Services platform.

She has in excess of 20 years' experience in the information technology sector and holds an Honours Degree in Marketing Management and a Bachelor of Social Science in General Psychology, Industrial and Organisational Psychology, from the University of Cape Town.

Williams has worked for Hyland Software for over a decade and in that time, has been partner manager for UK and Scandinavia, and business development manager in South Africa. Her duties in her current role include generating revenue for Hyland Software by establishing and leading the execution of a plan to market, as well as managing existing and newly recruited partners in Southern Africa. Since being appointed to this role, she has increased sales revenue and has achieved year-on-year growth of a minimum of 30%.

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