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Automating business processes is essential to digital transformation

Automating business processes is essential to digital transformation 41

By Colin Dean, Director, Western Europe at M-Files

Information management, business processes and business systems need to come together and align to deliver efficiencies, improve customer experience and put content in context. At its heart lies the need to digitise document intensive processes, which in turn enhances customer experience and drives your competitive advantage. Furthermore, a digital workplace not only supports process owners, but it helps compliance teams, partners and users focus on core business tasks.

Digital transformation is here to stay. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey, the pandemic prompted companies to accelerate their digital journeys, speeding the adoption of digital technologies that support customer, supply chain and internal operations by three to four years.

For businesses to truly embrace digital transformation, they need to unify their back and front office operations.  Customers want a seamless experience regardless of contact channel or person.  No matter how they are interacting with the business – ordering goods, filing complaints, or requesting information – the customer wants a positive service experience.

This is only possible by automating processes and removing silos between customer service applications, customer data, and related documents and content.

Digitising business processes not only automates existing processes, but it can also lead to reimagining processes. The best way to handle a process might not be to just transfer the formerly manual process to a more automated process. It can call for a total rethink.

The number of systems and applications within a business keeps growing. For example, a recent report from BetterCloud suggested that  SaaS applications make up today some 70% of total company software use. No single system can deliver all the functionality required. To make transformation possible, information management must step up to support it.

Bridging the gaps between individual, siloed applications is the key element of digitisation. Improving customer experience, gaining cost savings, expediating efficiency, and improving compliance are typically correlated with how information management processes work. Furthermore, intelligent information solutions enable employees to find and use the information they need with the context that matters to boost productivity and drive better business outcomes.

Often when workflows and processes are digitised, it is done by adding more single-use systems and applications. This is problematic because it results in increased information chaos as these applications remain siloed. That said, end-to-end instead of single use workflows ensure that documents are always correctly routed from one person to the next as needed, which heightens collaboration. Furthermore, metadata-driven permissions and access controls provide secure collaboration in turn.

Smart usage of information, based on a 360-degree view of all data stored across all systems and repositories, is necessary to gain business efficiency. This is dependent on employees having both assurance that they are working with the latest version of a document as well as access to all relevant information needed to support improved decision-making.  There is no place for siloes; employees need easy access to pertinent information when they need it.  Afterall, information – and access to it – needs to support their working processes.

Businesses are today inundated with information – including content created internally as well as documents and files received from customers, partners, and suppliers. Employees that spend less time searching for documents or focusing on manual, repetitive tasks, do indeed, have more time to dedicate to billable hours. Without an information management framework, time is wasted searching through file folders and various disconnected business systems for critical documents. This is often compounded by a proliferation of multiple versions of the same file, which results in errors and repeated work.

The use – and archiving – of information can be more efficient by automating user and access rights, information categorisation, version control and archival.  Additionally, the inefficiency of manual work can be removed by automating information workflows that support business processes. Manual work takes time, creates costs and is prone to human error.

It is very instinctive to want to stick to familiar ways of working. Therefore, information, and how to access it, needs to support a change in employee behaviours.  This behavioural change is a vital element of any potential business transformation.  Employees will only accept new ways of working if they understand the need for change and feel involved in that journey.  Additionally, the systems used to digitise business need to be easy to use.  This will enable the employee to embrace new ways of working.

By removing these barriers and silos, there is more potential for increased productivity, improved regulatory and legal compliance and a best-in-class customer experience.

Enterprises across the globe are today exploring opportunities for modernisation and digital transformation — be it mobile applications, e-commerce functionality or the integration of data analytics solutions – all of which are based on business rules and processes.

To maximise the impact, organisations should centre their efforts on opportunities based on their value in delivering improved experiences for customers and employees, greater cost efficiencies, productivity and business growth.

Automation represents the golden goose of digital transformation. Ultimately, it is what every organisation is striving for. Automation enables the rollout of new digital strategies to deliver cost savings, improve customer service and generate new sources of revenue.

Leading organizations are turning to intelligent information management solutions that enable employees to access and use content anytime, anywhere and on any device. Today’s solutions go way beyond managing documents. They provide the levels of automation and capability required to improve navigation and security, whilst addressing the constantly evolving regulatory environment, delivering improvements to both document search and collaboration.

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