Your competitors are transforming into digital businesses. The latest IDG Digital Business Study notes that 91 percent of organizations have adopted or soon plan to adopt strategies for becoming digital-first businesses. That includes 96 percent of enterprise organizations and 86 percent of SMBs. And according to Gartner, 65 percent of IT executives have accelerated the pace of their digital transformation initiatives over the past year.
To get on the path to total digitization, IDG reports that organizations plan to spend an average of $16.5 million on digital initiatives, primarily investing in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, and cloud. The reason most often cited is to boost worker productivity through the use of mobile apps, data-driven insights, and AI-assisted automation. Those hefty expenditures come as no surprise, as Gartner observes that CFOs plan on increasing their investments in digital capabilities more than any other area over the course of the fiscal year.
But creating a digital-first strategy won’t deliver results without action. By turning your plan into reality, your enterprise can gain a foothold as a leader in the digital era, exceeding customer expectations. Enterprises waiting to take steps towards execution will likely be playing catch up for years to come.
By operating as a digital business, your enterprise may likely save significant time and money. Tasks that used to be performed manually can now be automated. In addition to saving time, enterprises reduce errors, which means less lost hours tracking down mistakes and repairing customer relationships. Additionally, business can happen wherever the customer and employee are at the time through mobile devices, allowing for faster response times and improved customer satisfaction. Each month you wait to make the move could mean time and money are being wasted on manual tasks.
Components of a successful digitization strategy
Many enterprises find that starting with document scanning is a logical first step to digitizing their business. The process of moving paper documentation to digital records is a tangible task that builds the foundation for the rest of the digital business. The process only requires a scanner and document management system to get started. With a short training session, many employees will be able to effectively scan and manage documents right away.
Here are four components to consider when moving to digital documents:
- Document storage – Determine where on the network or cloud your scanned documents will be located. Because one of the benefits of digitization is anywhere access, consider mobile access as a key part of the storage decision. Work with the IT department to determine any security concerns or changes that must be made based on the type of information being stored.
- Access policy – Not every employee needs to be able to access all documents. For privacy and security, you need to control access based on role and need. Employees should only be able to access documents that they need for their projects and tasks. This also creates a tracking system that makes it easier to determine the source if an internal theft or breach occurs.
- Scanning workflow – You can’t simply add document scanning to your staff’s existing workload. Instead, you need to create a process for scanning documents based on your employees and needs. Then evaluate your current workflow and revise it to include the new process. Look for places to make adjustments for additional time savings based on digitization. Next, have several employees do a test run of the new workflow, and then adjust and revise the process based on how it works in real life.
- Support – To help employees be as efficient as possible, designate a support person to help troubleshoot issues. Many enterprises find writing up a short FAQ can help reduce questions and issues. Be sure to track support calls to help improve the process and training.
Rolling out digitization to your enterprise
After you have buy-in from leadership and determined your overall strategy, you are ready to make the shift to digital documents. Follow these five steps to help get your enterprise on the road to saving time and money:
1. Write a document management plan.
Create a formal plan, using the four components of a digitization strategy as an organizational foundation. Designate a team of employees and leaders from all departments impacted by the new process. Have leadership review the plan and sign off on the project.
2. Audit your current documents.
It’s tempting to jump in, pick a document type and start scanning. However, this approach creates disjointed processes between departments and a convoluted workflow. Do a complete inventory of all current document formats or types used both for internal and external purposes. Create a cloud-based inventory that lists all documents, their purpose and current location. Be sure to include documents still in paper format as well as those already converted to digital.
3. Train employees on the new workflow and technology.
New technology can be intimidating and cause loss of productivity if employees are unsure of how to use it. Determine your employees’ current familiarity with scanners and document management systems. Create a short training session to walk through the new document scanning process. Since getting everyone in one place at the same time can be challenging, consider making a short video that employees can watch on their own time, as well as providing some sample materials for employees to practice the process.
4. Put the plan into action.
Set a date for launching the new workflow. Since it may take a few days to get the process rolling smoothly, plan the rollout when you are not expecting a high volume of customer issues or other work tasks.
5. Evaluate the process.
After a few weeks of the process, sit down with the employees involved and review the process. Adjust and make changes based on any feedback and pain points. Be sure to update your document management policy, and be sure to let everyone working on the project know of the changes.
6. Digitize another document type.
Once everyone feels comfortable with the first phase, add a new document type to the scanning project. By following the process outlined for the previous rollouts, you can quickly get all documents moved to digital and implement document management as part of the normal workflow. Be sure to make changes for specific document types or processes as needed to get the most productivity gains.
Starting the discovery and rollout of this new approach today will get your enterprise moving toward digital transformation. Each day you wait means your organization will be that much further behind the competition. By digitizing documents through scanning, your enterprise can soon see both cost and time savings to scale across the business.
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