How to start the Digital Transformation of your company

How to start the Digital Transformation of your company

Descubre los beneficios de la transformación digital para tu empresa.

Companies, regardless of their sector and size, need to face the new challenges of the digital economy in order to be competitive and not lose sight of the new rules of the game. However, when it comes to tackling a digital transformation project, you have to be demanding. What differentiates a good project is the ability to link this process not only to technology, but also to the business and with a clear strategy. One of the main problems is that most of these initiatives continue to focus more on technology than on the business needs and strategic objectives that support these business processes, which is why companies fail to see tangible results.

In a successful project, the benefits of digital transformation are clear: improved revenue, margin, market valuation and customer experience. All of these factors are business-related.

Digital Transformation may involve a single project or many, however, what is sought when digitally transforming the business is to seek efficiencies in internal or external business processes resulting in, among others, improved revenue, increased margins, market visibility, identification of new opportunities, improved customer experience (external and internal).

Access to information as a starting point

A recent study1 by Forrester Consulting, sponsored by Ricoh Company, Ltd., indicates that 89% of full-time customer-facing employees (Finance, Service Centers, BPO, Operators, Healthcare professionals, Wholesale/Retail managers...) are unable to deliver the customer experience they expect because they spend so much of their time searching for valuable information through inefficient information flow systems and processes. With this data, the report concludes that current systems consume a lot of analysts' time and resources, which could be used to provide a more satisfying and personalized customer service and experience. Currently, many organizations are looking for access to new technologies because there is a big gap between response time to customers, internal business processes and an immediate response that would be of great value to everyone involved in the business. Therefore, collaboration, instant messaging, mobile solutions and flexible workplaces are part of the Transformation in order to reduce the time spent on activities that do not add value to the organization or its end customers and do not allow workers to provide a personalized service to customers. It is important to mention that all these technologies depend on the socialization of critical business information.

Once this phase has been organized, the project must take into account the need that exists today to anticipate the needs of the market. To this end, it must be prepared to adapt to a changing context in which the supply, availability and use of data flows in an immediate and simple way are decisive. The basis is to analyze the management of information in the company, from the input, processing and production of information, in order to know in detail how it reaches the company, how it circulates and how employees have access to it when they need it.

One of the strategic objectives of companies is to thoroughly understand the needs of the market and to be able to supply any trend or new need that arises in them. To do this, it must be prepared to adapt to a changing context in which the supply, availability and use of data flows immediately and easily are decisive. The basis is to make an analysis of information management and the respective processes associated with the capture of information carried out by the company, from management, data governance, processing and analysis of this information, to know in detail how it reaches the company, how it is handled and how it can add value to the company itself and its customers.

Caring for the employee experience

Mobile devices have had a decisive impact on our daily lives, so much so that, in just a few years, they have become essential tools, also for companies: the revolution brought about by mobile technologies - with increasingly functional smartphones and more and more specific applications - has meant a real challenge to their traditional productive scheme. While the growth of cloud-based tools has redefined expectations regarding hardware and infrastructure (redirecting investments towards cloud computing), the new "tech" habits of workers have had an impact on their day-to-day work. Thus, different types of teleworking (total or partial) and new corporate attitudes such as BYOD (Bring your own device), which allow or encourage the use of personal mobile devices for work, have become popular.

Latin America is not on the fringes of these trends. The region has a high smartphone penetration rate (with 275 million mobile broadband connections in 2014) and encouraging projections for the volume of mobile data traffic, which will triple between 2015 and 2018. Simultaneously, corporate adoption of cloud-hosted applications is at the global forefront, with 39% of large companies in the region using cloud software, compared to much lower rates in Asia-Pacific (28%), the United States (19%) and Europe (12%). These indicators are redrawing the internal scenario of companies, many of which operate practically as paperless offices with people connected remotely. In this context, the management of corporate documents remains a fundamental issue, which can no longer be thought of without the concept of mobility. Important information, files with different levels of confidentiality and even sensitive data demand the same degree of efficiency for their management. The paradigm shift, on the other hand, has to do with the characteristics of documents, which are now irreversibly digital, necessarily mobile and, increasingly, multi-platform.

On this last point, the CIO's goal must be to empower the different ways in which workers wish to perform their daily activities, creating and aligning workplace processes with technology; from the use of devices and even the organization's IT infrastructure in order to collaborate and exchange information. Above all, the CIO's goal should be to help create an optimized and flexible digital approach and strategy for work style management that improves workforce productivity and engagement.

Lastly, and after considering the above in order to implement enterprise digital transformation, managers need to ask themselves these basic questions to know the state of digital maturity within an organization:

Business Vision - What are the business imperatives for success and how does a digitally optimized workforce directly impact growth and success?

People - What impact would smarter use of collaboration tools have on your company's day-to-day productivity?

Technology - Will IT infrastructure be a bottleneck in the future in terms of providing interactive solutions for collaboration and workforce mobility?

Customers - Will the use of digital services be able to work to gain better insight into your customers as well as the supply chain to deliver more value and loyalty?
Business processes - Will optimizing core business processes, from the mailroom to the customer transaction experience, materially affect the bottom line?

Workplace - Does an enhanced work environment with features such as digitized meeting rooms, interactive information displays, contemplation areas, self-service bars, etc., increase individual worker productivity and generate more output and greater customer service?

The answers that emerge from these questions should highlight the gap between what is good enough for the traditional analog workplace and what is required to create a digitally optimized environment that cultivates and prioritizes collaboration, knowledge sharing and information management.

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