July 19, 2021
A down-to-earth guide to digital transformation
(Sponsored by Canon USA)
The phrase “digital transformation” was introduced in the last decade, has quickly grown in popularity, and is only going to become more important as we enter the 2020s. But what does it mean? Why is it important to transform digitally no matter the size of your business? What are you doing, or what can you do, to become digitally transformed?
Digital transformation means integrating digital technology into all areas of your business, changing how your business operates, and delivering higher-level, more competitive value to your customers. Harnessing digital technology and directing its beneficial effects appropriately and wisely can improve overall operations, make your business more competitive, help you comply with business and government regulations, and secure your business information more effectively.
Since the 1980s, the mass introduction and subsequent cost reductions of digital technology let businesses embrace the use of the internet, desktop and laptop computers, cell phones and other digital devices to create, capture and digitally store information necessary for business. While the paperless office has not yet fully come into existence, customer records, supplier invoices, legal documents, employee records, business communications and more have been digitized. During the past decade, the world achieved the capability to store virtually all information digitally. Data from the internet of things (IoT) needs capturing, storing and analyzing, adding more reasons for businesses to undergo digital transformation.
While digital transformation is multifaceted, managing the vast amount of digital information your business now has is a critical starting point. Recently, Canon U.S.A. Inc. released a whitepaper titled “Information Revolution” that provides some guidance on best practices to begin a digital transformation journey. Along with data from the Canon Lean Information Management and Governance Study, the paper applies the concept of “lean thinking” to business information management.
Valuable insights are gained by properly managing and accessing your digital information. You can find opportunities to better meet customer expectations, automate inefficient workstreams, and identify security gaps to better protect your business data. Yet, according to Canon’s study, 64% of executives reported that their organizations must wait for information and 63% said they get excessive information or over-documentation. In other words, they don’t get the right information at the right time or they get a “data dump” that isn’t valuable to any decision-making actions.
Over the past 30 years, lean thinking has been used to improve manufacturing processes by mapping the flow of materials and how workers interact with those flows to create processes that produce higher quality products faster, more efficiently and at less cost. That same lean thinking can be applied to business information flows and workstreams in the office.
Mapping the flow of information into and out of your business, and identifying who sends, receives, stores, modifies and acts upon the information is a key step in digital transformation. This locates bottlenecks, stretches of inefficient waiting time, duplication of efforts and areas of security and compliance gaps. You can then redesign and automate workstreams to be more efficient and better meet all critical requirements. By gaining control of the digital information you create and receive in your business you will be able to analyze it, ensure the right information is getting to the right people at the right time and begin to transform your business into a digitally powered business.
There are a variety of tools, solutions, and services available that enable you to incorporate the lean thinking approach to the capture, management, distribution and security of information flows in your business. These include:
- Multifunctional devices (MFDs) to digitize and intelligently capture information from paper documents.
- Information management software solutions that can capture information anywhere and any way it enters your business (paper, email, PDF, audio, video, CAD, etc.), automate workflows, store, and implement information governance so you have the right information at the right time.
- Dashboards that give views of workstreams, processes such as accounts receivable or accounts payable and other data to help you run your business more efficiently.
- Cloud solutions for ubiquitous and secure availability of business information.
- Professional services experts to assist in workstream mapping, security and compliance audits, solution implementation and continuous improvement.
Working with Superior Office Systems, Inc., that provides these solutions will help you get started developing a digitally transformed business based on lean information management practices.