DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND WHY YOU NEED IT
Using technology to drive business transformation is hardly a new thing. Reducing paper consumption and automating processes are goals that many organisations share. However, change has been slow, and some decision-makers still resist digitalisation. This needs to change to allow organisations to unlock new insights awaiting discovery in their data.
Making this journey more challenging is the fact that the benefits of going digital have not been clearly outlined. This adds to the ‘language barrier’ between technology departments and business-focused divisions. Even though the organisation has a unified goal, the disparate approaches between technology and the business can cause friction and may even lead to a shortfall in meeting deliverables.
“Paper-based processes cannot produce insight into the organisation.”
As a first step, and to make the broader organisation excited to drive change, those promoting the digital process need to show how to derive real business value from going digital. Use cases are essential tools to show non-technical people the merits of digital transformation.
For example, the true value of automation does not lie in what the business knows but rather the things it does not. Paper-based processes cannot produce insight into the organisation. Furthermore, these traditional methods are unable to bridge silos that have been growing inside a company for many years.
Effectively communicating how digital transformation can drive inter-departmental collaboration and produce previously untapped sources of information can foster a willingness for change. From a strategic level, this requires moving from a focus on operational efficiency towards targeting tactical and strategic insights. In this way, digital transformation becomes an enabler for change within an organisation.
While understanding this is important, executing a digital information platform strategy requires several components to be put in place. It is not simply a matter of ‘fire-and-forget’. Instead, it requires continuously reviewing paper-based processes and replacing them with digital ones. This will grow as employees become more adept at engaging with the newer digital platforms.
This is not to say that companies can just throw technology at their processes and hope it works. Rather, the success of this strategy will be determined by both the adoption rate of employees in conjunction with the implementation of technology.
The I.T. department must engage closely with the business to understand which processes will have the greatest impact on the organisation. Once that is done, a detailed structural approach needs to be undertaken to determine how those processes can be enhanced to encourage a culture of collaboration.
Leveraging data has the additional benefit of being able to identify what information is being duplicated. Duplication in inefficient and is also prone to errors thanks to the manual nature of many legacy (and paper-based) systems. On the flip side, data generated in a digital environment will be stored in a way that best suits the platform used to generate that information… and this is when the magic starts happening.
Once relevant data is captured and stored, analytical tools can unlock insights that can positively impact all areas of the business. By leveraging ETL (extract, transform, load) to stage information in such a way that it is accessible to all reporting and analytical tools, the business can deliver true value to its stakeholders.
When all of this is done, insights can be used to improve existing digital processes. This cycle is continuous and will change the fundamental elements as technology evolves.
The organisation, storage and processing of information to lead to valuable insights is not available to you if you stay with paper-driven processes. Digital transformation is upon us. It is time to act and deliver true value.