Removing Obstacles to Digital Transformation28 Apr, 2016 By: Andy Jones, Xerox Corporation
Digital transformation. We’ve all heard it before. It was the buzz word of 2015, and 2016 won’t be any different. Everyone – from enterprises to small businesses, and from government agencies to healthcare providers – is experiencing some sort of digital evolution, thanks to the infiltration of technology in our everyday lives.
The question now becomes: how do we help clients transform? In my opinion, it’s critical to start with automating and transforming specific business processes that can make a bigger impact on the entire organization. I believe that the core driver of digital transformation is that organizations need to automate business processes. Slow, manual, paper-based processes create bottlenecks and are becoming a barrier to success in today’s fast-paced, digital world. This trend is also creating a shift in how resellers structure their offerings to include managed services. This services alignment is essential if you want to help clients deal with business process automation (BPA) and enterprise content management (ECM).
Paper Keeps Hanging On
While manual, paper-based processes may not have been a problem before, now they are proving to be a challenge. But even with the abundance of technology to help organizations digitize and improve business processes through automation, paper appears to still be hanging on. In a recent AIIM study “The Digital Office – Improving the Way We Work,” 34 percent of respondents admit that their offices are piled high with paper, with most of their “important stuff” referenced and filed on paper documents. On the contrary, only 16 percent run a clear-desk, mostly paperless office. Organizations realize the benefits of automation and want to transform processes to keep up with digital transformation. In fact, Xerox’s recent “Digitization at Work” study found that 71 percent of respondents have identified processes that would benefit from digitization.
Evolving to a more digital-centric approach brings tremendous advantages to your customers’ business, but they must realize that it isn’t just one person’s responsibility. While technology decisions are in the CIO’s hands, working to create a vision to transform, digitize and automate workflows to improve business processes is everyone’s job. Part of your job as your clients’ partner is to help ensure every employee works together to adopt solutions that meets their ways of working, while satisfying the organization’s need for security, flexibility and accountability.
Where Digital Transformation Starts
Where do you start to get your clients on the path to digital transformation? It isn’t realistic to tackle every part of an organization at once, so I recommend starting with the lifeblood of every organization – information. Most of today’s business-critical data is found in documents, so it’s only fitting to start the automation process by digitizing and managing documents.
Content management solutions have been around for years and focus on improving the flow of information throughout an organization. Modern ECM solutions are designed to help enterprises successfully embrace the digital future of work and address the challenges that come along with it.
ECM solutions can be the backbone of digital transformation if they are easy to use and intuitive, so employees – no matter how diverse – can quickly learn to properly use them without IT intervention and deliver value from day one. If they’re simple and easily adopted, ECM tools can make work, work better by streamlining, speeding up and fully digitizing paper-based processes to improve productivity and efficiency.
We are in the midst of a content explosion, and as channel partners, we need to help our customers find ways to leverage the data at their fingertips. ECM systems let employees and companies store, manage, retrieve and analyze the growing variety and abundance of business-critical data. Additionally, as work becomes more virtual and globalized, the technology improves collaboration and ensures everyone, no matter their location, has access to the most recent digital data. And with data comes the increasing focus on data security. Modern ECM technology helps organizations safeguard their digital data by giving employees and departments access to specific data and portals, ultimately helping them meet increasingly stringent compliance regulations.
Uncovering Process Insights
Using ECM to digitally manage documents is one thing, but helping a customer understand which paper processes are creating bottlenecks within their organization is critical to success. In order to reveal valuable insights through the content chaos, resellers can leverage managed print services (MPS) as a perfect launching pad to managed content services (MCS). According to Gartner, MCS is “a comprehensive package that rationalizes, streamlines and optimizes business communications by providing customers with consultative help, software and implementation … In the early stages of maturation, it is tightly coupled with MPS and focuses on communications inside of the organization.”
MCS is all about understanding where documents originate, how they are used and shared in an organization, and what happens to them throughout their lifecycle. MCS and MPS are part of the ongoing evolution of a company’s document environment and both embrace the fact that organizations are dealing with an abundance of paper and data that must be controlled and analyzed. Taking a next-generation approach to MPS that dives into MCS will give customers invaluable insights that uncover inefficient paper-based processes, and opens up opportunities to digitize workflows and reduce their dependence on paper.
Marrying Software and Hardware
To successfully automate business processes, it takes a combination of software solutions like ECM, MPS and MCS, and advancements to hardware. Today’s hardware must work hand-in-hand with automation software to address the overall changing workplace. If everything isn’t working together as one, then an organization will not have a cohesive automation strategy to drive digital transformation.
One example of modernizing hardware to enable process automation is the recent advancements to Xerox ConnectKey technology that allow resellers to adapt multifunction printers to support specific business processes. The devices now come fully equipped with apps directly on the interface that help organizations automate their workflows. Companies can download apps from the Xerox App Gallery to automate core business processes, like routing invoices automatically to the accounting department. Furthermore, customers can also work with channel partners to build custom apps for more sophisticated process automation, ultimately giving resellers an advantage when it comes to helping their clients move to more digital workflows.
With these advancements, document and process automation solutions are now directly accessible and customizable right on the device interface – a perfect marriage of software and hardware to help resellers drive digital transformation for their clients.
While embarking on the dream of digital transformation can be intimidating, resellers can take the lead to help customers achieve a seamless transition. Start by auditing your clients’ technology and processes to develop a plan. Consider how to bring ECM into the solution to give your clients wide-ranging results across their organizations. Remember, their digital transformation is also yours.
Byline by: Andy Jones, vice president, Workflow Automation, Large Enterprise Operations, Xerox. For company information visit http://www.xerox.com