Your Digital Transformation Doesn't Have to Hurt
One of the biggest challenges business executives face in a digital transformation is employees’ resistance to change. The COVID pandemic added another layer to the need for businesses to evolve, as well as accelerating the evolution timeline. The challenge of coming to terms with changes beyond our control can seem insurmountable for some organizations, but we are all learning to adapt.
As a result of the changes the pandemic created, many organizations are moving to a fully remote, or hybrid model of working. In many cases employees are no longer spending 40 hours a week in the brick-and-mortar building. This means that daily tasks such as collaborating with colleagues, processing documents, and sharing files is something that can no longer be dependent on physical paper, and a digital transformation strategy is vital. The idea of “going digital” for some can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
For a transformation to take place, it must transition. A transition, by definition, is a process or a period of changing from one state to another. It isn’t something that happens overnight, or all at once. Think of it as a growth cycle; we don’t expect a child to know how to walk from the moment it is born, they first learn how to crawl. Your move to a digital office will go through a similar process.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You don’t need to start with the biggest, most advanced technology available. Simply start by turning everyday paper documents into a digital file. Get rid of those big, bulky file cabinets that are occupying space in your office. Simply take your paper document, scan it, tag it with metadata (information about the document which will allow you to retrieve the document effortlessly), and store it in a centralized document management system that can be on premise or in the cloud. The paper copy can then be recycled or shredded. When you need to access this file again, retrieve it basing your search on the metadata you used to tag the document. Storage and retrieval, that's it...plain and simple, step one of your digital transformation is that easy.
Once you are comfortable with the storage and retrieval stage, step to the next level by implementing electronic forms. With this move, you will begin to eliminate paper altogether by producing a digital document from inception. Instead of handing a piece of paper to someone to complete, sharing a link or digital file allows them to manually enter the necessary information into a document, from any device. Upon Form submission, it can be injected into a workflow or stored in the document management system already tagged with metadata to be retrieved effortlessly.
A common example of this stage can be seen by visiting a doctor’s office. It used to be that when you arrived you were handed a clipboard and a pen and asked to fill out the information before returning it to the receptionist or the nurse when you were called back. From there, your hand-written information would be entered manually into the system before your form was placed in a file and put into a large, alphabetized filing cabinet. Depending on the size of the clinic, those file cabinets could occupy an entire room, or in some cases, more than one.
Now, going to the same clinic, instead of a clipboard full of paperwork, you are given an iPad (or, for pre-scheduled appointments, you may receive a link) on which you enter the necessary information onto the digital form, which is then automatically sent and populated into your online patient file. The patient information is now stored and secure in a cloud. It can be accessed by you (the patient) from your home portal, doctors, nurses, billing specialists and receptionists, all without having to pass around a paper file that has the potential to be lost, damaged or have the information compromised.
Think of the amount of time and money this simple change can save. No more trying to decipher someone’s handwriting, no more physical storage of thousands of paper files, no more payroll hours used for simple data entry. These employees can now focus on customers and patients, physical space can be used for business operation, and payroll can be used toward improvements and customer relations, just to name a few of the many benefits of making this first step in the digital business transformation.
The move from paper to digital forms is just the beginning. Once you have become comfortable “crawling,” you can look at the opportunities to start “walking”. The various stages of digital transformation are slow, methodical, and customizable so it is as smooth and painless as possible for your entire organization.
Training is Key
Some of the top reasons people resist change are feelings of uncertainty, doubts about their competence, and decisions imposed on the organization without warning. All these concerns can be minimized, or even avoided, if time is taken for proper digital training for employees.
Investing in this training period is a necessary and vital part of the transition process. It is not a time to be frugal. The integration of employee education, mentorship programs, and external business support systems can help to make the process manageable for everyone. These integrations bring an understanding of the process, with clear, simple steps and timetables for the changeover, which in turn can ease worry about competence and uncertainty. Taking the time and care in comprehensive training can enhance the efficiency and higher profit margins you will experience with the move to digital. On the flip-side, ineffective training can lead to wasted time and resources and will not allow the business to experience the benefit of the new system. Include adequate, effective training as a part of your transformation journey.
Do you have someone to appoint as the “Center of Excellence” for your organization’s new or updated document management system? Having an “expert” take charge of the system and be the point of contact to assist with troubleshooting and answering questions gives employees a sense of security.
If you don’t have the option for an internal expert, consider partnering with a business who specializes in document management. These companies take charge of the process and help you create a roadmap guiding the entire digital transformation journey. Why do it all yourself? These partners have the expertise to determine what is best for your unique situation and how to make it happen. A Document Management partner will ensure your organization experiences continuous improvement and maximum benefits at an appropriate pace.
The move to digital doesn’t have to be a painful process. Remember to start small, provide proper training, and reach out to external partners to help create your roadmap. If you are looking for a digital transformation partner, Loffler is here to help! Our experts will lead your organization down the right path.
Jacob is an Intelligent Automation Specialist at Loffler. His passion is to drive digital transformation in customer environments to help organizations realize significant return on investment and improve their team’s quality of work/morale. Jacob has been in the digital transformation space for nine years, and with Loffler for seven years. He is a father of four and enjoys coaching his kids’ baseball and softball teams, as well as spending time outdoors with his family, especially at the lake.