Getting started with digital transformation

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Digital transformation may mean different things to different organisations. However, the result is the same.

14 September 2023 mins

Digital transformation may mean different things to different organisations. However, the result is the same. Financial institutions using machine learning to detect and predict fraudulent transactions? Digital transformation. E-commerce retailers searching for new ways to serve personalised customer recommendations? Digital transformation. Government agencies converting paper to digital for easier access to public records? That, too, is digital transformation.

To modernise your data and information management processes, having a solid digital transformation guide is key. Here, we outline our five steps to help set up your team for success in its digital transformation or acceleration.

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Let’s be honest: most organisations still have some distance to go on their digital transformation journey. “Business as usual” can be a significant roadblock to your success in the evaluation and reconfiguration of everyday business processes. From our research with Economist Impact, we know most leaders believe work and business will remain digital. But while 80% are optimistic about their digital transformation, only 26% shared that their CEO is directly responsible for driving resilience initiatives.*

According to research from Deloitte, “while 85% of CEOs accelerated digital initiatives during the pandemic, most can’t articulate their overall strategy and progress beyond that they made a tech investment. The imperative for change is increasingly the creation of an adaptable business— one that can thrive in the digital economy. If CEOs can’t say their digital transformation resulted in new business advantages or adaptability, then they haven’t really transformed.”

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

Digital transformation. It encompasses any initiative that uses technology to improve business resiliency and performance.

Today’s tech-savvy and digitally native consumers expect immediate engagement. As a result, businesses should upgrade their core operational processes if they want to continue to grow and thrive. Otherwise, they risk being left behind.

Not every industry has the same consumer needs, so digital transformation may mean different things to different organisations. However, the result is the same. Financial institutions using machine learning to detect and predict fraudulent transactions? Digital transformation. E-commerce retailers searching for new ways to serve personalised customer recommendations? Digital transformation. Government agencies converting paper to digital for easier access to public records? That, too, is digital transformation.

HOW TO DIGITALLY TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANISATION

Most business records today are “born digital.” While paper records may always be required for certain purposes depending on local regulations, it’s important to seek balance between the physical and digital files your business keeps. Any unnecessary use of paper results in a hybrid physical and digital information landscape, which can be difficult to manage. It duplicates efforts and increases risks to your business and its bottom line. The good news is our research conducted with Economist Impact shows that 93% of organisations surveyed have implemented initiatives to clean up legacy physical and digital documents, files, and data.*

To modernise your data and information management processes, having a solid digital transformation guide is key. Here, we outline our five steps to help set up your team for success in its digital transformation or acceleration.

STEP 1: IDENTIFY

DETERMINE WHAT SHOULD BE RETAINED, DEFENSIBLY DESTROYED, OR DIGITISED

It’s not surprising that 67% of leaders said identifying documents to be digitised is a top factor when it comes to cleaning up paper records for digital transformation.** You can’t make good business decisions if you don’t know what you have in your records and information inventory. A well organised and culled inventory is a critical first step to a digitally transformed organisation. With a well organised inventory, you can make the right decisions about what records to retain, defensibly destroy, or digitise.

An extensive project? Yes, but worth it.

If you don’t need it, destroy it. Organisations should have retention schedules in place based on legal, regulatory, and operational requirements for their specific industry to inform their decision-making process. Records that have met compliance obligations based on these rules can be defensibly destroyed. While the notion of keeping everything may be tempting, it’s also potentially damaging and here’s why:

  • Increased cost: Storing records that have met their compliance retention requirements only adds to your organisation’s information management expenses.
  • Compliance risk: Certain regulations require destruction once records have met their retention requirement.
  • Lost productivity: The average employee spends 25% of their week filing, copying, indexing, or retrieving paper records.

After you’ve determined which records must continue to be retained, you can then decide what to digitise.