Digital transformation (DX) has been a hot talking point for some time now, but it seems that a tipping point has been reached, with organizations picking up pace to get onboard. According to IDC 72 percent of the top 1000 enterprises in APAC will have DX at the center of their corporate strategy by the end of 2016, with more than half of them creating an independent position to oversee the DX strategy implementation1.
Beyond the hype, what does DX really entail? First, DX should span the entire organization. Aside from providing an engaging website, great service, or excellent content, DX should be an organization-wide exercise in creating great customer experience (CX) from end-to-end.
This requires attention to the user experience (UX) from customer acquisition and transaction, to on-boarding stages. A mobile-first approach is key in delivering optimal UX across devices, especially as consumption of data via mobile has been increasing in Asia Pacific. According to Transparency Market Research, Asia Pacific is expected to be the largest market for mobile data traffic from 2012 to 2018, and is primed to lead the global mobile traffic data market in the same period.
The question on the minds of many organizations today seeking to make the transition to digital is — “How?”
Digitizing Document Workflow – One Step Closer to Digital Transformation
Digitizing document workflow is one of the most natural step towards achieving a fully-digital user journey. According to IDC, 77 percent of businesses agree that improving their document management and processes would increase customer satisfaction. Document digitization also delivers agility, efficiency and cost-savings that are especially beneficial for resource-scarce small and medium businesses looking to do more with less, in the midst of rising business costs and intense global competition.
Here are some advantages of switching from paper-based to digital workflows:
Speed and agility
While documents are part and parcel of everyday business, there is still room for improvement when it comes to documenting workflow processes. A survey by IDC of over 1,500 line-of-business executives across sales, human resources (HR), procurement and more, estimates a 36 percent increase in revenue, a 30 percent reduction in cost, and a 23 percent reduction in business or compliance risk, that will result from the ability to streamline document processes.
In a connected, fast-paced marketplace, document approval and contract turnaround timelines that used to be seen as the norm are no longer acceptable. Paper-based processes and wet signatures are fast becoming obsolete. Time is money, and with digitization, the entire signing process can now be completed in minutes, instead of weeks.
Locally, SMRT – one of Singapore’s major public transport providers – took efficiency to the next level when they implemented Adobe Sign to digitize document workflows for sales agreements, internal procurement documents, and invoices. Across departments, teams saw an immediate impact. With documents being sent electronically, SMRT was better equipped to keep track of the documents through their respective workflows, and could even quickly restart approval processes whenever changes arise.
Overall agreement processing time also came down to about 16 hours, from three weeks previously. In addition, SMRT was able to turn around the approval for urgent documents in just seven minutes.
The positive impact on the bottom-line is evident. After going digital, SMRT observed savings of more than SGD$100,000 in man-hours. Beyond quantifiable terms, digitization can also positively impact qualitative aspects such as employee morale and satisfaction.
Greater workforce morale and productivity
In Adobe’s “Paper Jam” survey of office workers worldwide, 61 percent of respondents would change jobs if they could handle less paperwork. According to the same survey, 55 percent of office workers feel the burden of mundane and inefficient processes, which detract them from their core job functions. Executives surveyed by IDC in a separate study echo this phenomenon. According to IDC, workers spend 36 percent of their time on administrative tasks, and less than two-thirds on their core job function.
This is not at all surprising, given the sheer amount of documentation involved on a day-to-day basis. In HR for example, documentation is necessary at every stage of an employee’s lifecycle – from contract signing, to performance reviews; and clearance checklists when employees exit a company. The dramatic time-savings that can be gleaned from document digitization provide agility to businesses in the intensive war for talent, especially in meeting the UX expectations of millennials who have grown up as digital natives.
Given the wide range of use cases for documents – the next question to tackle is often where one could begin. Here is a checklist to get started:
- How does your organization’s workforce operate in the mobile environment today? Do your employees have the same set of capabilities to work on documents inside and outside the office?
- How does your business send out sales contracts today?
- How can you speed up documentation processes and be more agile?
- How can you ensure traceability of documents, especially for confidential documents?
The confluence of high mobile, smartphone and internet penetration rates puts us at the inflection point at which digitization is set to take off. Coupled with the expectations of a workforce that is increasingly time-strapped, the demand for digital documents will soon rise exponentially. Getting onboard the digitization journey is not an option, but an imperative for businesses who plan to stay ahead of the pack.
This article was originally published in Entrepreneur’s Digest.