We're a few weeks into a new year and “transformation” is once again a word being thrown around by a lot of people. There's the “new year, new you” folks talking about transforming your diet, your health, your habits, and all the other “things you should be doing better.”
On the information technology side, “digital transformation” is a phrase that gets kicked around a lot; mostly because it can be used to cover about any new buzzword or IT “new way of doing things” that comes down the from the thought leaders of the day.
If you pay too much attention to it, you can become paralyzed by indecision. Currently, you'll find “digital transformation” discussions around big data and the Internet of Everything (IoT), the cloud, mobile, artificial intelligence, and a few others. Not only will these technologies transform your business IT, but your culture, how you interact with customers, and all good things under the sun.
Just for fun, I did a quick search on Google and found this “definition”:
Digital transformation is the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind.
Who talks like that? It's no secret that technology has changed and will continue to change how we work and play. You don't need to sound like you swallowed an MBA to say that though.
I find it's a phrase often used to mask a lack of knowledge.
I also tend to think that as you dive into digital transformation efforts, they begin with a mundane, centuries-old challenge – how do I get the right information to the right person at the right time in my business? And since paper still dominates in many businesses for communication, digital transformation begins with – how do I automate my paper-based business processes?
Digital Transformation and the Digital Copier
I've often mentioned this, but paper documents can slow your business down. Paper files can be
- lost or misplaced,
- only accessed by a single person at a time, and
- require longer retrieval times – often a walk to a file cabinet.
While large companies with huge volumes of paper need dedicated scanners to convert paper documents to digital documents; many SMBs can effectively use the scanning functionality of their digital copiers to remove paper from their business processes. You can read the three steps to remove paper here; 3 Steps to Remove Paper and Automate Business Processes.
Digital Transformation and Document Management
While a file share may be good enough for some businesses (and your digital copier can scan documents directly into one), document management software (from software companies such as Laserfiche and others) provide additional functionality such as faster search (and thus retrieval) through information, access trails to improve security, and more. Many document management software products include capture software that helps to simplify and improve the scanning process. They also often include process management/workflow software that can automate business processes.
Combined with a good strategy for implementation, digital copiers and document management can digitally transform your business – and without worrying about the cloud or the Internet of Everything.
They can also transform your bottom line, as I wrote about last month – SMB Business Priorities – Digital Copiers and Document Management Help Fatten the Bottom Line.
Stop moving at the speed of paper – it's time to use those copiers for more than making copies!