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3 ways to drive business outcomes with a digital transformation

by Eric Stavola
 
When it comes to technology today, there's a disconnect between the conveniences employees experience in their personal lives versus how they get things done at the workplace. For example, using a virtual assistant like AlexaTM to help provide quick information, place orders and provide other conveniences at home can lead to frustration when technology at the workplace is limited in comparison.
 
To keep employees engaged, you need to meet the technological expectations they've become accustomed to outside of work by empowering them with user-friendly ways to:
 
  • Increase productivity.
  • Enhance collaboration with team members.
  • Improve communication with clients.
Otherwise, you run the risk of frustrating employees to a point where they become disengaged. According to Gallup's rolling survey of employees, only 30% are engaged at work.1 When employees aren't engaged, they struggle to improve client relationships — and when you can't improve the customer experience, your competitors will fill the gap.

Define & envision your ideal digital transformation

Learn to create a road map that helps you align your digital transformation with your business strategy — including goals like company growth, cost reduction, and process improvement, as well as specific project objectives.
 
The good news is that taking the right steps along your digital transformation journey can help you to boost employee agility, productivity and collaboration by creating a more engaged work environment. Your journey should begin with a close look at your business goals, the processes you currently have in place and how technology can enable these processes to meet your goals. Here, we'll consider three steps you can take to help drive your digital transformation toward a successful future.
 
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1. Examine the way you deal with document management

As with any journey, you need to assess where you are today to determine how to plan a path to your destination. Evaluating how your document management processes are currently working is a good place to start. This involves taking a close look at your current print infrastructure and document management procedures: Are you bogged down with paper workflows? Are overloaded file cabinets prolific throughout your organization? Questions like these help you to establish a maturity model — so you can better understand where you are in the digital transformation process while shedding light on how to move forward. You may find that you're currently:

 
  • Only equipped to maintain and defend core business with manual, paper processes and some level of digital data management.
  • Capable of nurturing emerging business by leveraging digital technologies and data that provide your team with actionable insights.
  • Empowered to create new business by transforming activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities that digital technologies can bring.
People working on computers in an office.

Of course, no business has a maturity model that falls exactly in line with one of these three scenarios. Some companies have yet to turn documents into digital data and work solely with print and manual processes. On the other hand, some companies have a number of digital processes already in place — putting them farther along in their digital transformation journey.

As you work to establish your maturity model based on how you currently handle document management processes, note that this step should complement the actions of validating your business objectives and developing recommendations for next steps. You might even consider all these activities as part of the same step, because analyzing where you are from a print infrastructure and document processing standpoint helps you to see future business goals in context with where you are today. Think about working with an experienced digital transformation consulting team that can help you assess your current print situation by coming at it from a more objective point of view. Whether working with a digital transformation consultant or not, changing how you view technology can help you make better decisions along the way.

 

Digital transformation experts understand that business technology has little value if it isn't effectively driving strategic business initiatives and helping to create more opportunities for innovation. Changing your perspective about technology to align with this — also known as establishing a new mental model — can help you to understand the value of technology based specifically on how it can drive business outcomes. But before you can fully recognize the business results that various technologies can provide, you need a thorough understanding of how data flows throughout your organization today.

 

Part of assessing your print situation is to consider if and how on-premises print infrastructures are tying up IT resources. In many cases, companies are not using this technology in a way that provides process efficiencies and helps IT staff to focus on driving business outcomes. You may find that moving print offsite can free up resources that can be better used for strategic initiatives. If you already have some or all of your print infrastructure in the cloud and have the capability to easily digitize documents by scanning directly to the cloud, you have a higher maturity level when it comes to a digital transformation than a company that handles all print onsite. In this case, you've already taken a step in the right direction, and once you have a good understanding of your present document management processes, you can start looking into digitization.

 
 

2. Digitize data to support more efficient process management

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), “87% of executives say digitization is a priority."2 Although many executives agree, in a lot of cases, they don't know why this is such a high priority because they think about digitization in terms of technologies and solutions rather than how it can help them reach their business goals. Looking for technology for technology's sake is a mental model that needs to be disrupted to truly understand how to put the right technology in place. Before seeking digitization technology, ask yourself:
 
1. How can we better leverage data to improve functionality and provide our employees with more speed to act?

2. What is our team currently doing manually that can be automated to give them more time to focus on strategic initiatives?

3. How can we create a digital workplace that helps to make our employees more analytical, mobile, innovative and creative?

Digging deep into these questions will inform you about how you need data processes to flow throughout your organization in user-friendly ways. In turn, this helps you to understand the most ideal ways to digitize your data for the sake of supporting user processes down the line. Let's investigate the value you can begin to build by answering these questions:


Question number one: Ascertain how well you are set up to maintain and defend core business. Traditional workplace models can't keep up with the speed at which ideas and information move today, but answering this question can reveal areas where speed to act is most important for your specific business — providing insight into what data processes need to be streamlined for improved efficiencies.


Question number two: Uncover how you can nurture emerging business by freeing both onsite and remote employees to move with more agility and focus on strategic initiatives by removing the burden of manual processes with automation. Once you see which processes need to be automated to free up employee time, you can start considering collaboration tools that can improve the way your employees and customers share ideas.

Question number three: You're ultimately considering ways that you can create new business in the future by enabling your employees to share ideas and innovate with more digital dexterity. With all the workplace solutions available today, you can put productivity in the hands of technology, and innovation in the hands of employees. This is a future-forward way to look at the value that both your team and the technologies that can help them meet your business goals can bring to your company through a digital transformation.

Another way to think about digitization is that it's a step that helps you move from slow, inefficient print processes to optimized user workflows. Once you've determined the best ways to store and make digital data available to your employees and clients, you can start planning how to optimize this data via user processes. In other words, you can start planning how to optimize your team.

 
 

3. Use your digital transformation to optimize your team's performance

Step two helps you to significantly improve the potential for technology to enhance user performance by enabling employees to use data more efficiently. Step three will inform you about ideal ways to optimize user processes throughout your organization, so you can:

  • Provide onsite and remote employees with the means and the time to collaborate more easily and effectively.
  • Improve employee performance and increase productivity by engaging your team with technologies that help to streamline workflows.
  • Measure data and provide employees with greater visibility into information that can help them make more informed decisions.

How you view this step is also important, and this is the time to disrupt yet another mental model: It's not so much about utilizing technology as it is about modifying employee behavior by enhancing user processes with the right technologies.

 

By focusing on the ways technology can enable employees to perform better by minimizing manual workflows and making data processes more efficient, you set your team up to end the frustrations of the disconnect between technologies they can use outside of work versus technologies available in the workplace. The key is to keep your focus on "the how" when it comes to user workflows: how do these processes need to change for optimal results? Answering this question will ultimately lead you to specific technologies that support your team's unique workstyles.

 

If you have yet to set out on your digital transformation journey, consider today's digital economy, and the importance of enabling your employees to utilize technology to help you stay ahead of the digital curve. According to John Chambers, Chairman of Cisco Systems, “At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years . . . if they don't figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies."3 So the call to action is urgent — the sooner you start taking steps on your digital transformation journey, the more likely you'll be set up to stay ahead of the competition.
 
Once you've worked through these three steps and your employees are more invested in using the proper technologies — empowered to move work and ideas more effectively — you'll want to start considering ways to provide them the insights they need to be more innovative via metrics and quantifiable data. We'll cover this in our next blog post, “How to engage your employees with a successful digital transformation."

 
 

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Eric Stavola
Eric Stavola, Director of Ricoh IT Services Ricoh USA, Inc.
 
Eric Stavola serves as Director, Enterprise Services Sales for Ricoh USA, Inc. In this role, Stavola leads a pre-sales team specializing in services that meet customer needs while working with sales leaders to grow Ricoh's services business.
 
Stavola brings more than 20 years of experience to the role of implementing technology business systems and customer-friendly processes while reducing costs, boosting employee morale and lowering turnover in under-performing organizations. Developing successful growth and digital transformation strategies highlights his extensive track record.
 
Prior to joining Ricoh, Stavola was CIO for a regional professional services company on the west coast.
 
Stavola has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and two master's degrees in Education and Computer Information Systems. He has earned MCSE, MCSA, CDIA+ and N+ certifications, and has had multiple articles published on technology and digital transformation.
 
 
1 “State of the American Workplace." Gallup, Inc. 2017. https://s3.amazonaws.com/external_clips/attachments/2131671/original/SOAW_Report_GEN_1216_WEB_FINAL_rj.pdf?1538591582
2 “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2018 Predictions." IDC. 2017. https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US43154617
3 “Digital Economy Compass." Statista. April, 2017. https://static1.statista.com/download/pdf/Statista_Digital_Economy_Compass_2017.pdf