Digital transformation is a phrase I frequently hear when organisations discuss using technology to drive efficiency, increase profitability and impact productivity.

In particular, many of HotDocs’ banking customers are utilising our technology to help with digital transformation.  As a document automation provider, we fulfil an important part of wider transformation projects such as customer on boarding, remodelling commercial lending or the creation of online portals where customers can self-serve.

Is digital transformation limited to banking? Not at all; organisations across many sectors, both private and public are utilising technologies like HotDocs to create efficiencies for the businesses and for their customers.  But what is digital transformation and should you be thinking more about it for your own organisation?

Amusingly, even the Wikipedia entry for the phenomenon that is digital transformation has a list of highlighted issues at the top, including the view that it’s written like an opinion essay and it may be incomprehensible or very hard to understand.

 

digital transformation

Screenshot taken December 2017

This goes to show that there is no clear, simple definition of digital transformation, and that it can be subjective.  However, big players such as ForbesCapgeminiPwC, the Financial Times and many others are publishing opinion or offering services around digital transformation.  The phrase and the process seem here to stay for the foreseeable future.

For the purpose of this blog, I’ve coined my own answer to the question “what is digital transformation?”. Let‘s work on the basis that digital transformation is harnessing the power of technology to improve customer relationships, increase business productivity and drive organisational efficiency.

And what forward thinking business wouldn’t benefit from that?  If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and increasing your use of technology to positively impact your organisation, here are five things you should consider before you get stuck in.

1.            What are your goals?

You’ve heard your competitor is digitally transforming and you think you better keep up.  Great, but look at your own business and set your own goals, don’t just jump in.  What are you trying to achieve?  Is it company-wide or in specific divisions that you can see potential for improvement?  Do you need to improve productivity or is it customer experience that could do with a boost?  Look to your own business intelligence to identify where using technology may help you to flourish.

2.            What does success look like?

You’re not introducing technology for its own sake, you’re driving business improvement.  Benchmark where you are now and where you hope to be after you’ve transformed.  Measure customer satisfaction, productivity, cost, environmental impact and all those other areas where improvements can ultimately boost the bottom line.  Whilst we would all like to be placed on a podium and recognised as leaders in technology, different companies develop at a different pace. It is crucial to remember to take a phased approach to any enterprise-wide transformation projects in order to minimise risk and increase success.

3.            Ignore the hype

There is so much hype around digital transformation, which can make the prospect of implementing a project of this kind seem daunting at best, or impossible at worst.  Don’t let some of the more common myths put you off looking at digital transformation for your organisation.  Some opinion states that digital transformation is just about customer experience, or won’t work for companies in specific sectors, or needs to be approached differently per industry, or is only for tech companies and businesses that sell to consumers.  In reality, digital transformation is about overall improvement; for your customers, for your employees and for your bottom line.  It doesn’t have to be disruptive to your marketplace or your organisation; it just needs to have clear business benefits.  The principles are the same for any industry or type of business – look at what you are doing now and identify where technology may be able to help you do it better.

4.            How will you resource and manage digital transformation?

As with any business change project, digital transformation will take time and money.  It will be critical that you establish a realistic budget and timeline, and set up a team with overall responsibility for co-ordinating and managing the various aspects of your digital transformation.  You’ll need a clear roadmap for change, with key milestones and time built in to measure and evaluate progress against target.  You’ll also need a degree of flexibility in your plan; technology changes, people move on, business goals adapt, so nothing should be set in stone and evaluation of work to date and future path will be key.  Your approach should be clear, but it should also include scope for evolving with any changes to the business landscape.

5.            Are you ready to transform?

Digital transformation can’t happen in a silo and must be led from the top down.  If major stakeholders haven’t bought in to the process and can’t clearly see the benefits then the project will be in danger of delay or cancellation.  In any business, people need to know what’s in it for them, the potential savings and the return on investment.  Whatever your role in the business, set out the current situation, transformation goals and overall benefits and sell, sell, sell to all stakeholders.  Remember that your IT team will be critical to the success of your digital transformation aims, so ensure that they are on board from the beginning.

Remember, while digital transformation is not entirely about improving customer experience, neither is it entirely about internal productivity and company profit.  Make sure the benefits of changes have balance between making the business better and making the lives of your customers easier.

HotDocs document automation software has been used within multiple digital transformation projects to improve the quality and accuracy of documentation for customers, while providing savings on the time and money spent producing business critical documents.

To find out more about how HotDocs can help your organisation to digitally transform, schedule a 30 minute demo.