Some call this the post-digital era, but many companies are stuck in digital transformation limbo.
While some businesses hold onto their printers, fax machines and file folders, others at the bleeding edge of technology are already using artificial intelligence to personalize content for customers.
The inertia of some companies is largely due to the lack of a sweeping -- yet achievable -- digital transformation strategy. Digitization involves significant changes in the way things are done -- moving from paper-based systems to digital documents and processes in every part of the business. But those changes can cut costs, significantly boost productivity and improve the user experience for employees and customers.
Take fax machines. They are still a thing in most enterprises, despite predictions as early as 2000 that they'd go the way of the dinosaur. Faxes require paper, toner and maintenance, and typically take more than a few minutes to use. Their digital alternatives, cloud fax or e-fax services, allow employees to send and receive faxes using mobile devices or desktops, wherever they may be, while meeting compliance standards. No standing by a machine waiting for it to warm up. No missed failed transmission errors for those who don't stand by the machine waiting for their fax sent confirmation to print out.
Ditching fax machines is just the tip of the iceberg in a digital transformation strategy. Companies need to replace other outdated platforms with tools that match their employees' and customers' demands for everywhere, anytime access. That includes modernizing websites, products and services using social software, mobile applications and, further, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to provide personalized content.
In this digital transformation strategy guide, we deliver articles that range from the first steps in digitization -- going paperless -- to the tools and platforms available to make that transition a success. We also offer case studies of companies that have made the move to digital, along with video interviews and a glossary of terms to know.
Steps to digital transformation
Companies that want to digitize their outmoded processes need to begin with a clear, well-mapped plan. Executives leading the digitization charge must begin by targeting specific processes they want to digitize and evaluating tools to make the transition work. It all takes time, and a fair amount of trial and error, but the result is a better user experience for employees, customers and business stakeholders -- plus operational cost savings, time savings, flexibility and more. In this section, learn about the risks and rewards of a digital transformation, the small steps to take when you begin the work, which technologies you should continue to use and digitization traps to avoid.
Most IT leaders are going digital through communications platform as a service and APIs to embed communications into business applications to improve processes, customer service and employee interactions. Continue Reading
As of 2016, about 50% of large global companies still communicate with their suppliers to order stock and process invoices using email, phone or fax, but they see digital processes in their near future. Continue Reading
2Paperless business -
Digital transformation begins with paperless processes
Even in the most digitized enterprise, you still hear the occasional hum of a fax machine, scanner or printer. Companies find it difficult to go 100% paperless, especially in industries subject to compliance rules. But there are cloud-based systems that allow companies to achieve their paperless goals and still meet regulatory and security rules. In this section, learn about the advantages of a paperless office and the tools to replace paper-based systems, including e-fax, e-signatures, digital transaction management and more.
Security is one of several forces driving the paperless office. Companies are trying to eliminate waste and cost and to develop more efficient ways of working. Continue Reading
Healthcare has a long way to go before it stops using fax machines altogether, but many are on their way with the use of integrated data management products that provide cloud fax services to migrate from paper to digital fax. Continue Reading
The first step in achieving a paperless office is admitting you have a paper problem. Then, go cold turkey by ditching the scanners and printers and moving toward e-signatures and other pro-digital practices. Continue Reading
Companies completing the long haul toward complete digitization are still getting tripped up when it comes to processes. Continue Reading
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3Digitization tools, platforms-
Digital transformation tools, platforms
Companies understand the need to embrace digital platforms, and, for many, that means using digital enterprise content management technologies, online document sharing tools and collaboration tools. In fact, according to a recent Forrester Research report content and data topped the list for 2016 investments, as firms said they planned to invest in web content management (WCM) and customer analytics as fixtures of their digital experience portfolio. In this section, learn about platforms companies can use to enhance their digital transformation strategy, from SharePoint Online to WCM with AI and context-aware content tools.
Enterprise file sync-and-share platforms offer businesses new options to streamline workflows, including e-signatures, document management and approvals. Continue Reading
Microsoft is pushing companies away from on-premises collaboration tools toward its cloud-based equivalent. Though many small organizations will have little trouble making the transition, large enterprises are likely to encounter challenges. Continue Reading
4Digitization in action-
Digital experience case studies
Perhaps the best way to learn is by modeling your digital transformation strategy on the success of others. In this section, read about organizations from different industries that have successfully implemented a digital strategy with a single transformative technology, such as e-signature or a deep investment in digital technologies to greatly improve the user experience for customers and employees.
Digitization permeates nearly every aspect of the Patriots football club, from keeping fans coming back for more to the broadcast deals the team will negotiate within the next few years. Continue Reading
By digitizing field service processes, one of Europe's largest commercial water pump manufacturers was able to decrease the amount of time required for maintenance and repair. Continue Reading
Implementing an e-signature application allowed an international insurance company to cut policy turnaround times from nearly three weeks to about 90 minutes. Continue Reading
Sam's Club was stuck in old technologies and processes, relying on paper and desktop computers to attract new members, and it had no official sales team or customer relationship management system. A digitized sales cycle allowed the company to successfully reconnect with its core customer base. Continue Reading
Inefficiency has long plagued records management, which has historically been anything but cutting edge. But wasted money combined with plodding, manual operations has forced organizations to update how they handle information. Continue Reading
5Digitization -- explained-
Digitization strategies -- explained
A successful digital transformation strategy begins with leaders who will push the envelope to ensure that their employees and customers get the best user experience with the tools available. Here, industry watchers and business leaders discuss their digitization strategies, as well as the challenges and successes along the way.
Most digital transformations are slow and difficult. Executive leadership is critical; in particular, the ability to rally the cross-functional teams required for digitization and to quickly find value for the company.
A Capgemini consultant explains how customer demand drives digital transformation and the differences among processes, business transformation and application modernization.
A successful digital transformation begins with leaders who understand the business model and can evangelize the use of digital tools to push the business forward.
In this video, Allison Mnookin, CEO at QuickBase, discusses how a digital redesign can result in a more connected, collaborative and creative workforce.
Extending digital capabilities to employees and customers is critically important to transforming AT&T operations from the inside, out.