Today many companies are faced with increased real estate costs, digital information overload, regulatory change, new compliance demands, and increasing competition in markets across all sectors. That’s why organisational leaders seldom need convincing to drive efficiencies and optimise business processes: digital transformation initiatives promise strong yields and remain a high priority.
In my mind, digital transformation is simply about targeting specific areas within an organisation to ensure that routine business processes and standard procedures are followed, which in turn contributes to efficiencies.
The Document Management Perspective
From a document management perspective, it means automating procedures and extracting data for business use and application. Take the example of a law firm, which may receive case matter in paper and digital formats. With the help of document capture and scanning technology, it is possible to capture all the necessary data from the received documents – e.g. case matter number, fee earner, and upload them into the firm’s case management system for further processing. It also provides the ability to store that data in another business system e.g. finance and accounting solution.
When undertaken across the department’s different locations these processes can deliver substantial efficiencies. Taking the example again of a law firm, which is likely to have multiple offices nationwide, they could have a requirement that all mail is scanned in the head/central office, with new matters emailed to fee earners across the multiple offices and departments by 11 am. This would also help enhance a firm’s customer retention rates and reputation for customer service by providing exceptional responsiveness to customers.
Where to Start: Get Rid of Paper
A digital transformation initiative doesn’t always need to be enterprise-wide from the start and can be rolled out in stages. For many small and medium-sized businesses, physical storage is not only expensive, it can also be problematic to actually sort through paper documents to find the information that has been requested. This is, in fact, a good place to start a digital transformation project/exercise. In the first instance scanning the files and extracting the important metadata can be put on a backed-up file share. Once digitised, the business can determine exactly what data currently needs to be transferred into the various business systems/processes like document, case and matter management, finance and accounting. The cost savings as a result of decreased physical storage (which can be substantial) can be used to re-invest in technology.
Fundamentally, digital transformation should be ‘business as usual’. It should also be easy to implement, non-intrusive and cost-effective. Focus on the areas that are likely to deliver the most impact to the business and roll out in order of priority. The programme is often more successful when undertaken gradually in bite-size chunks.