In the first blog of this 2-part series, we cautioned that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to tackling the digitization process.
The reality of budgets, timelines, the status quo, risk tolerances and other variables make it even more of a “choose-your-own-adventure” than a step-by-step edict.
Part 1 covered the first 3 steps in the process, including how to understand the current state of your information management program through the lens of digitization and how to kick off a pilot project.
This post picks up from where Part 1 left off to focus on how to present your business case, building bridges with stakeholders, and where to go after your initial project is executed. We recommend reading Part 1 ahead of this one for full context and understanding of the first 3 steps in the process.
Step 4: Present your Business Case
Your map to digitization success can be found in an odd place: the organizational chart.
First, you can use it to identify the key constituents who should be involved in your project – your list of people you need to get buy-in from. As your supporter base broadens, so will the likelihood of the project’s success. Throughout the organization, there will likely be some pushback on adoption of a new process because people are resistant to change and departments are often set in their ways.
So where in the organization might the roadblocks be found? It could be department heads, vice presidents, or end users who could potentially undermine the project.
In order to overcome the challenges when implementing a digitized approach, it is important for you to identify which departments have the greatest needs and are most willing to utilize new technology.
Since you’ve already completed a pilot project by this point, be sure to share any data or wins from that project loudly and proudly.
Step 5: Implementation
Success in the implementation phase relies heavily on the preceding steps.
Simply adding technology to a less-than-perfect business process won’t achieve the desired results such as reduced costs, improved productivity and increased security.
During the implementation process, you should cycle through these three steps:
Communication is a major component of a successful implementation process. Take advantage of internal communication tools at your disposal such as intranet, social media, newsletters or lunch-and-learns.
Designing a strong change management approach will help to educate users about “what’s in it for them” and it will go a long way to securing support and building realistic expectations.
This step, in conjunction with a strong training program and ongoing support and encouragement, will maximize potential for a successful implementation.
Actively seek out feedback from users. Some valuable questions to ask as you’re progressing through the implementation phase:
- Is the new workflow process intuitive? Are staff buying in and using the new process?
- Is the training sufficient?
- Did users experience productivity improvements (or other success measurements
- that were identified at the outset)?
- Is the new system aligning with key performance indicators identified in your
- business case?
- Are further process tweaks or optimizations required?
Then repeat the process and continue to engage until you’re satisfied that the new business process has maximized adoption across the organization.
The Final Step: looking toward the future.
This final step requires looking beyond the present to consider possible future data needs of your company.
Reflect back on the reasons that inspired your first steps on the digitization journey.
Was it increased efficiency/productivity, heightened data security, mitigated risk, enriched compliance, improved bottom line, enhanced competitive edge? Whatever the motivation, it was most likely driven by an existing and present need.
While it’s important to consider how your organization may change and evolve in the future, it’s equally valuable to understand how technologies and document management platforms are progressing. Implementing a scalable system takes your strategy to the next level and further reinforces return on investment.
Using improved access as our example, do you want to digitize your records simply for convenient access, or would you eventually like to enable any of the following?
- Simultaneous remote access by multiple users
- Improved information sharing between departments
- Advanced text level searches across large data sets
- Integration of digital documents
- Data analytics through the extraction of digital content from a document
- Digital workflows using evolving platforms (e.g. blockchain) to complete smart contracts
It’s difficult to argue that any one of these doesn’t provide your organization with a competitive advantage by recognizing unstructured data as an asset.
To maximize your investment, it is essential that the digital transformation program developed for today is adaptable to the anticipated information formats and platforms of tomorrow. It is not inconceivable that once the extraction of data from unstructured sources becomes a more prevalent practice, the appetite for paper records and even digital documents may slowly be replaced by pure data as the source of truth.
With this will come the realization that it is the content and not the format that most matters.
How that content is accessed and leveraged for the maximum benefit of your organization begins with removing the restraints of traditional barriers–both real and perceived.
The roadmap to your digital transformation requires the correct combination of decisions, processes and technologies be applied through every stage of the document lifecycle.
For a more in-depth look at how to move to a digital-first process, check out our eBook, Accelerating Digitization to Meet Today’s Remote Work Requirements.