5 steps to digital transformation


If your digital transformation initiatives haven’t been as successful as you had hoped, this five-step process can help you get back on track.

November 3, 202312 mins
5 steps to digital  transformation

Digital Transformation: The good, the bad, and the ugly

When it comes to how successful organizations have been with their digital transformation initiatives, the news is decidedly mixed.

First the good: Companies are prioritizing digital transformation. In a 2023 KPMG survey, CEOs ranked digital transformation as their top priority, tied with attracting and retaining talent. In addition, 72% of those surveyed said that they have an aggressive digital investment strategy.

Also, many organizations are seeing benefits from their digital transformation efforts. When researchersat Baker McKenzie asked IT leaders about the benefits they have experienced as a result of their digital transformation projects, 87% said they have improved their cybersecurity and IT security. In addition, nearly three-quarters (74%) said they reduced costs and improved efficiencies, and more than half (58%) saw an improvement in existing business systems and processes.

On the other hand, there’s some bad. Namely, organizations aren’t seeing as much benefit as they had hoped. According to a McKinsey report, organizations are realizing less than a third of the value they had hoped to achieve from their digital transformation projects.

Some paint a picture that is downright ugly, stating that the digital transformation journey can take twice as longas expected, at double the cost than anticipated.

Organizations have different ideas of what digital transformation means. And efforts so far have been largely ad hoc and siloed, rather than enterprise-wide.

In the Baker McKenzie survey, participants pointed to a host of barriers, including budget (58%), expertise/ skills (43%), equipment/software (43%), and lack of clarity (31%). More than a quarter (28%) said they hadn’t been able to find the right partner to help them in their transformation journey.

To help overcome these challenges, Iron Mountain recommends a five-step approach, helping organizations set and achieve realistic goals that help them achieve quantifiable benefits.

1. Identify

Step one in the process is to identify what documents and data you have, and then determine what should be retained, defensibly destroyed, or digitized.

As a result of their efforts to date, most organizations are collecting and storing at least some records in a digital format. But most also have plenty of paper.

Before you can begin digitizing that existing paper, you need to understand what you have and whether you need to keep it all.

Why not digitize everything?

Storing records is costly. Storing documents you don’t really need can reduce productivity and increase your security risk. And in some cases, regulations actually require organizations to delete data after a set period of time.

The foundation to any successful digital transformation project is an understanding of exactly what your organization has. Yes, this step can be difficult, and it may take more time than any of the other steps in this process. But it’s the key to implementing a successful digital transformation initiative.

2. Digitize

Once you understand what you have and what you need to keep, you can begin the process of digitizing existing paper records and workflows. You have three different options for how to embark on the digitizing process. The one that’s best for you will depend on your organization’s unique characteristics and what you discovered in step one.

  • Digitize everything — In situations where your staff interacts with your paper files on a regular basis, your best strategy may be to digitize all your records at once. This carries some upfront cost, but it can pay off in the long run in the form of increased productivity and dramatically reduced physical storage costs.
  • On-demand — If your staff needs to access only some of your paper records on an occasional basis, you can take an on-demand approach. When someone accesses a file, they can take a few minutes to scan it, so it’s available digitally next time. This approach doesn’t carry the same up-front costs, but it takes longer to achieve maximum productivity.
  • Day-forward — If you rarely need to access your older files, you can adopt new digital workflows without worrying about your existing files. You may have greater physical storage costs, but you won’t have to digitize your archives.

In many cases, enterprises use a mix of all three approaches, applying different tactics in different situations as needed. No matter which strategy you choose, the ultimate goal is to maximize the potential benefit in terms of cost savings and improved productivity.

3. Store

After your records are all digitized, you need to decide how to store them. Again, you have three main options, each with their pros and cons.

Some organizations choose to keep their data in-house, managing IT infrastructure themselves. This can be the most costly and result in the most hassles.

Another option is to use a third-party data center. This alleviates some of the management burdens and reduces costs, but it might be limiting in other ways.

The third, and increasingly popular option, is to store your data in the cloud. This gives you the maximum flexibility, scalability, and reliability, but the organization may have less control.

The right choice for your organization will depend on your unique circumstances and the understanding you gained in step one. You may decide it’s best for your organization to mix and match the approaches for different workflows and datasets. In every case, you want to make sure the end result is data that is centralized, secure, and easy for your employees to access.

Download to learn more.

Elevate the power of your work

Get a FREE consultation today!

Get Started