The phrase “digital transformation” can mean different things depending on who you’re talking to. C-level executives might hear, “increased budget.” IT users might hear, “time-consuming implementation.” And business users might hear, “lengthy training process.” Because digital transformation can mean different things to different people, getting everyone on the same page requires a culture change.
While it might not be as easy as flipping a switch, digital transformation doesn’t have to be scary. When you implement a document and forms management solution, the ultimate goal is worth it: transforming the way your company creates, captures, manages, and distributes business documents and data so employees can focus on higher value activities. The alternative is staying stuck in the mundane, manual tasks of filing documents, filling out forms, or doing data entry into your business systems.
To inspire the necessary culture change that makes digital transformation achievable, it’s best to break down the process into four easy-to-implement phases. Start off by taking a look at specific areas where you can optimize your processes internally and externally, to customers and vendors, and make an impact even if you choose to do only one phase of digital transformation.
Here are the four phases of digital document transformation:
- Going Paperless
- Automation of Processes
- Forms Management
- Document Creation and Delivery
You can do any of these phases in any order to start your journey to digital documents—whatever works best for your company. The key is to pick a phase that will develop some quick wins that will inspire employees to embrace the smarter way to work, thus changing the culture.
1. Going Paperless
In many companies, the “going paperless” phase can be the first logical step in the process that brings the biggest return. Companies have a wide variety of documents that they work with daily from paper files in filing cabinets, incoming documents that you get via mail and fax, electronic documents that get created by users like PDFs, Word or Excel documents, and even emails and attachments. All these documents are being collected every day and filed somewhere on the network in the hopes they don’t get lost or misplaced, often without a single location for storage.
Beginning your digital transformation with a centralized document management solution, lets you go paperless and start implementing more efficient document processes. As soon as documents are captured in the system, you can easily implement streamlined workflows that keep track of who is using the documents and who has signed off and approved them. You can also enforce greater security on documents by controlling who can access them and seeing who has opened or made changes. With version and audit control, you can make changes to documents in one spot without having to make copies, so everyone has the most accurate and up-to-date version.
Going paperless is just one step in modernizing your processes, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the future—cloud enablement. If your company is already moving towards the cloud, or plans to in the future, it’s important to consider a solution that is enabled for both the cloud and on-premises that can be run on your local server and VMs or on your Microsoft Azure or AWS instances.
2. Automation of Processes
Process automation is key to the growth of any business. An easy-to-use document automation solution helps optimize and streamline time-consuming tasks by removing the manual intervention that takes place daily. Look at your most difficult processes for ways you can standardize them through automation—whether through automatically capturing documents from email or automatically downloading files from website portals or simply automating the basics of how users capture documents.
In addition to rethinking document capture processes, also take a look at the review and approval process at your organization. Automatic routing can ensure documents flow through your company in the most efficient way. Some of the most common departments utilizing this technology are accounts payable, accounts receivable, and human resources. Transformation could be as simple as taking your system generated content that your ERP creates and capturing and delivering it to your users or customers. Or taking your AP department processes to the next level and automating the capture, matching process, and approval of documents, and then automatically updating your ERP with the data—no manual rekeying of data needed.
You can start with any level of automation, big or small. Every process you automate helps move your company in the right direction towards digital transformation and lets you eliminate errors, and most importantly, save time.
3. Forms Management
Does your organization create forms for internal or external use to capture key information? Creating and printing forms takes time. And once stakeholders complete the form, someone has to manually key in the data to one or even multiple systems. The process is slow and prone to human errors. But with web-based forms capture software, you get an easy-to-use solution that transforms your forms processes by speeding up data capture and integrating with your critical business systems.
Instead of creating more paper to manage and more data to enter, create web-based fillable forms that you can guide users to fill out and automatically kick off the review and approval process. Plus, the information from the form can go directly to your systems—like ERP or LOBS— without having to key it in manually. Simplify your forms management process by taking it beyond paper and creating a collaborative, web-based environment for designing and accessing forms.
4. Document Creation and Delivery
Digital transformation goes farther than just creating efficiencies for internal processes. It should extend all the way to your customers and vendors. Creating and delivering professional documents with your business data like POs, invoices, packing lists, and bill of ladings is a big part of doing business and the perception of looking like a company that is staying up with the times.
With an electronic document creation and delivery solution, you can take data directly from your ERP, whether Windows or IBM I, and create and deliver professional documents via Email, FTP/SFTP or even push them to your customer or vendor portal. With one solution, you can simplify your process and deliver documents the way you want and need them, all while providing better service to customers and vendors.
Inspiring a culture change can be hard. But breaking down your these efforts into easy-to-tackle phases can make the changes more seamless and comfortable. At Fortra, we’re ready to help you implement an effective document management solution. Our experts can take a look at your processes and determine the best places to start to begin your digital transformation. As your partner in the process, our goal is to make your journey as painless as possible so you can keep your focus on doing business.
Ready to Start Your Digital Transformation?
If you’re ready to take the first steps, contact us for a personalized demo to see how our electronic document and forms management solutions can take your company to the next level.