Rossum Digital Transformation Series, Part 3: How to Develop a Successful Digital Transformation
Welcome back to the Rossum Digital Transformation Series. In the first part, you learned it’s much more than simply adding new tech tools to your company’s software stack. Part two provided you with an explanation of why digital transformation is crucial to your organization’s growth. Now, as we bring our 3-part series to a close, you will get guidance for developing, deploying, and optimizing your organization’s digital transformation program.
A lot can go wrong during and after the deployment of transformation programs, as multitudes of companies and institutions have learned. When we say “multitudes”, we’re not exaggerating: a paltry 30 percent of change initiatives achieve their objectives.
At the same time, your enterprise can’t afford to disregard, put off, or abandon the very idea of digital transformation. It’s vital to gaining and/or maintaining your competitive advantage. Established and up-and-coming talent need the right digital tools, processes, and cultures to thrive in – and when they thrive, your organization thrives. And, above all else, your customers expect it of you during every stage of their journey with your company.
With a clear understanding of what digital transformation is and why it’s important to your enterprise, you’re nearly ready to get your program up and running. To help you prepare for deployment, we’ve prepared a brief set of digital transformation guidelines.
This list is by no means exhaustive. It presents steps that are fundamental to planning, deploying, and optimizing your digital transformation program.
Set Clear Goals
Projects that lack even one clearly defined goal are doomed to fail. In some instances, you may not even have a precedent or use-case to refer to. So before you dedicate resources and budget to planning your digital transformation, take the time to set your program’s goals.
While doing this, don’t limit your focus to your long-term goals. Incorporate smaller short-term goals into your transformation plan. Once achieved, these quick wins will help motivate teams and employees to propel your program towards its end goals.
Also bear in mind that digital transformation should ultimately help you achieve business goals not technology goals. Therefore, you need to understand the distinction between the two. For example:
- creating a paperless office is a technology goal
- increasing profitability is a business goal
- eliminating manual data entry is a technology goal
- boosting productivity is a business goal
Keep Everyone Focused on Your Customers
Maintaining a customer-centric approach across your organization may not be as simple as it sounds. For instance, your accounts payable (AP) team may perceive customer experience as outside of their scope of responsibilities. However, AP can have an indirect, yet profound, impact on the service you deliver.
An inefficient AP team that uses slow, error-prone manual data entry to process invoices increases the risk of late or missed payments. It’s all downhill from there: as relationships with vendors deteriorate, your supply chain suffers from delayed or canceled goods and services. So you’re not going to get your products or services out to customers when they expect them. Even worse, you won’t be able to deliver anything at all to your customers.
To prevent this nightmare scenario, you can replace manual invoice data entry with automated data capture that will help ensure your vendors get paid on time. This component of your digital transformation program, and AP’s understanding of the reasons for its deployment, will empower AP to improve the customer journey.
This is but one example of how your program can give everyone in your workforce valuable customer touchpoints.
Prepare for Culture Change
Your digital transformation program should also transform your corporate culture. Without this critical change, you could end up with a disconnected heap of tech, teams, and processes. Your organization needs to be aligned across the board, without exception.
Your transformation may require your organization to abandon a top-down approach to decision-making. Plan and nurture an inclusive culture that empowers employees to play proactive roles in executing your digital transformation program. Eventually, you’ll create opportunities for improvement and innovation, ultimately leading to business growth.
“Without addressing culture, transformation will probably fail. At its heart, this is a people challenge. Do you have the right culture to adopt change? To accept risk and tolerate failure? To embrace new ways of doing things, like new ways of working or new technologies? To accept speed over perfection for some (not all) initiatives? Overlooking cultural change is the biggest mistake in a digital transformation.”Michael Wade, Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD (source: Digital transformation strategy: 7 key pieces)
Run Pilot Tests
You’ve got your digital transformation goals. Everyone in the company is on board with it. You’ve chosen your starting lineup of tech suppliers and a kickass consulting team. So, let’s get this party started, right?
Slow down there, tiger. Have you run any tests? If you haven’t, then you’ve got to ask yourself one question:
“Do I feel lucky?”
Without testing, luck is pretty much the only way the full, company-wide deployment of your digital transformation plan is going to succeed. Your company may be the most agile, failure-accepting enterprise on the planet, but it’s highly unlikely that it can adapt to an untested full-scale transformation unscathed. Remember, 70 percent of transformations fail.
Running pilot tests will help ensure your digital transformation program is among the exalted 30 percent. Employee feedback will not be manageable, and you’ll be able to optimize your transformation program more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, you’ll have a clearer view of which parts of your program will deliver the best results, enabling you to better prepare and adjust your transformation roadmap.
Start by testing technology in one or two smaller departments responsible for back-office processes. For instance, in AP you could deploy automated invoice processing to get an idea of how automated data extraction from other types of business documents can benefit other functions and your organization as a whole.
Roll Out the Tech Gradually
If your organization takes a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses approach to adopting new technologies, it’s setting itself up to fail. While agility and willingness to experiment and learn from failure are essential to transformation, your organization has got to know its limitations. A sudden deployment of bleeding-edge tech may benefit some functions, but it could cripple others, or clash with your company’s culture.
To avoid any of these pitfalls, when your pilot tests are complete, fine-tune your transformation roadmap. Then introduce digital tools gradually so you can track, measure, and optimize your program gradually. This will enable you to resolve any issues that may crop up more easily than trying to put out fires across the organization on a daily basis.
Kickstart Digital Transformation With Rossum
Rossum eliminates reliance on manual data entry, delivering fast, cost-effective document data extraction. Its ability to read documents like a human and capture data with increasing accuracy is an opportune way to start your digital transformation initiative.
Automated document processing can help you advance the four types of digital transformation we covered in the first part of our series. Starting with business process transformation, you can, for example, dramatically reduce the cost, time, and manpower that manual data entry requires. The “test-and-learn” aspect of cultural transformation comes into effect here, and frees up staff and financial resources to help transform your business model and domain.
See first-hand what Rossum can do for your digital transformation program by registering for a trial account. Process up to 300 documents per month, free of charge, with no obligation. If you need to capture data from a higher quantity of documents, or if you need customization to meet your specific business requirements, get in touch with our automation experts.