The pandemic has forced companies to chuck their 5 years plans and transform their work environments within 5 months. For good or bad, many theories regarding digitalization have been busted as businesses felt the urgency of transitioning to automated work environments overnight. This goes to show that we are indeed capable of meeting our 5 year goals sooner; what was missing was the sense of urgency to move to a modern workspace soon enough. And we are in fact already witnessing the benefits of automating a lot of the routine processes that are indispensable & critical to the running of our organizations.
“Companies looking to get onboard with digitalization must keep one thing in mind — digitalization cannot be part of the IT forecast you have set for the company, rather it must be part of your overall business strategy. Any subsequent project developments in the IT space should be a result of and match the business plans and goals you have set for your company”
The past few months have been a real eye-opener for many companies, especially SMBs, which have always wanted to get onboard with digitalization but nevertheless postponed their plans for another year. Contrary to the mindset that it could take months for work spaces to be transformed digitally, and that it may even disrupt existing operations, the pandemic has proven that in the need of the hour, technology comes to the rescue sooner than you might imagine. The key takeaway from the pandemic for corporations has been the fact that technology is indeed a driver for growth and sustainability.
Of course, those who have managed to jump on the digitalization spree soon enough, the ‘digital-first’ companies, have managed to upend established business management paradigms — AI-driven applications and processes have been a mega trend in 2020 in various sectors including supply chain, insurance, finance & accounting, and retail. Not surprisingly, these uncertain times have propelled businesses to adopt technology solutions, and with them, management models that will ensure certainty in business operations in the long-term. This is a good thing. However, the pandemic, in a way, was the final whistle that signalled companies to change their working models and adopt digitalization — the need to transform was there for sometime, especially given the frequent recession-like situations most globalised economies have gone through over the past 2 decades. Social and economic disruptions like COVID-19 have, in fact, proven the saying that adversity is the mother of innovation. ‘Digital-First’ companies such as Etsy, DoorDash, Turo, Uber, Lululemon, DocuSign, etc. have witnessed rapid ascension during the pandemic.
Besides, there has been a huge demand for intelligent automation technologies that drive basic mission critical operations in the SMB space. This new digital reality has also accelerated the development of smart processing applications, built on open architecture, ensuring easy integrations with existing applications. Also, we see many AI-driven applications replacing repetitive, labor-intensive document-base processes. In the B2B space, REST is the dominant software architecture adopted for complex technology integrations on a large scale. All these developments point to one thing: the need to make business processes, systems, and departments more agile, responsive and connected than ever before. The developments over the past few months, without doubt, paved the way for a connected enterprise, ensuring greater sustainability under any kind of social or economic disruption.
Companies looking to introduce digitalization in their workplace must keep one thing in mind — digitalization cannot be part of the IT forecast you have set for the company, rather it must be part of your overall business strategy. Any subsequent project developments in the IT space should be a result of and match the business plans and goals you have set for your company. So, start by asking why you need to go the digital route and what do you want to achieve by modernizing some aspects of your business.
Your digitalization efforts must match your business goals. Common pointers to keep in mind when deploying digital transformation technologies like AI and machine learning is to find out if these solutions are
Scalable: do not agree to static technology tools that do the job brilliantly for now but cannot accommodate for changing business needs. Your IT infrastructure should be able to support your growth plans and help you draft a sustainable, long-term digitalization roadmap that can be tweaked to accommodate future changes.
Compatible: This energy firm made sure the AP automation and Invoice Processing Software they were sourcing would integrate well with their existing Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP system. This eliminated the need for their AP staff to do double data entry to get transactions approved and then enter them into their ERP. Make sure whatever transformation efforts you are trying to bring in, they complement your existing IT infrastructure and not disagree with it. New deployments must fit in with both your existing IT and business frameworks — the thought of revamping your entire setup to replace it with new automation models is expensive as is unrealistic.
Transformative: for businesses, transformation is a tangible metric! It could be measured in terms of operating costs, efficiency, and/or productivity. It cannot be considered a digital transformation if your automation efforts are not helping lower processing or manpower costs. Look for testimonials from your competitors or ask for credible metrics that they can share, which should give you an idea of whether the product will work for your business or not.
There are many checkboxes you will need to tick off before making a sound IT purchase, but the important thing to remember is digitalization in itself is a journey. It is unfeasible to expect a complete overnight overhaul of your systems and processes. Moreover, it is a business decision rather than an IT decision, and so must come from the top management after having weighed in the pros and cons of going digital. Remember that there have been colossal IT project implementation failures and most of those had to do with the following reasons:
Get your top management involved in your digital transformation plans for a more sustainable, long-term solution.
In the intelligent automation space for document-based processes, this sort of deployment framework and implementation is provided by Artsyl. Contact Us for a more detailed discussion.