To avoid the pitfalls of digital transformation, think INSIDE the box

Today’s digital-first world demands that we rethink the way we work to remain competitive. Data and content are at the heart of everything we do, from sales to customer service, from finances to design, and the Cloud era has changed how we manage, share and collaborate on content, like never before. Having a robust content management strategy that connects your people, processes and data is essential to protect the growth and security of your business.

Professor Klaus Schwab, the author of The Fourth Industrial Revolution, calls on us all to;

shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.”

The utopia of this people-first approach to digital transformation is clear, yet research cited by McKinsey & Company suggests that 70% of large-scale projects don’t reach their goals, and the most recent data suggests that this may actually be as high as 86%! With investment in digital transformation programmes estimated to reach $2 trillion by 2022, that’s a very expensive failure!

To avoid being one of the businesses missing the mark in how they’ve adopted cloud technology, we believe businesses need to start by thinking inside the box. Blue-sky thinking is great when you want to generate completely new ideas, but when you need to identify and improve inefficient processes to improve ways of working, this isn’t a practical approach. Business leaders need to focus on the art of the possible, so it’s essential to look internally at how to align your business goals, processes, culture and IT to make technology work for your business and your people.

What’s going wrong?

In less than two decades, the way we work has changed beyond recognition and the accessibility of cloud technology has created countless opportunities for business to meet the needs of the digital-first, always-on end-user. But in a majority of cases, mass digitisation isn’t delivering on the ‘work smarter, not harder’ promise.

In 2019, we commissioned an independent survey with our strategic partner, Box, the leading Cloud Content Management Platform, asking more than 2,000 UK employees how well their business has adopted digital working, how people shared data and what frustrations were felt by employees.  The results were astonishing! We found that an average SME with 150 employees is wasting more than £500k in unproductive man hours! Read the engaging research findings here.

So what’s going wrong? Here are four common reasons why the proliferation of cloud platforms designed to streamline work aren’t necessarily making work easier.

ISSUE 1Digital transformation happens through necessity, not design. It’s now so easy for anyone to buy cloud software, and pay as they go, that the traditional route of IT requests for new business software no longer apply. Teams frustrated by legacy systems, with poor usability, search for cost-effective, time-saving digital solutions. Employees working remotely find workarounds to enable them to access content when they’re away from the office, often resulting in Shadow IT. And sometimes the latest technology trend is introduced simply because everyone else is doing it! This results in cloud platforms being downloaded and used throughout the business that the IT team doesn’t even know about!

This platform sprawl means data is stored in various siloes and duplication of information is rife. Even completing simple tasks often requires access to multiple platforms. Ultimately, employees are suffering from too many open tabs!

THE SOLUTION: In order to be successful, any digital transformation strategy needs to be informed and driven by a collaboration between IT and the C-Suite to ensure it meets business and end-user goals, now and in the future. IT departments need to engage with employees to understand their needs and be empowered to say yes to requests more easily. This strategy, goal and people focussed approach will reduce the need for individual departments to look for solutions themselves and reduce the risk of Shadow IT.

ISSUE 2: IT no longer have control of software around the business so this introduces compliance and cybersecurity threats. Data sets held in different platforms across the business each have their own access permissions and there’s huge potential for inconsistently in how data is stored and copied between systems. This is a compliance nightmare! It also means that there is no single source of truth accessible to all, so outdated information may still be in circulation long after it’s defunct.

In a world that is more informed than ever about how businesses must manage and protect data, this has to be one of the greatest concerns for any business today.

THE SOLUTION: IT departments need to become enablers, involved in every technology-based investment decision in a collaborative way. This not only protects the business but also enables the needs of end-users and customers to be met. To regain governance, avoid data duplication and reduce the risk of cyber threats, a clear content management strategy needs to be in place to effectively control business data. Introducing a single content hub where everyone can access the most up-to-date information in one place protects companies and employees as everyone is working from one source of truth. This can be achieved by a strategy driven by IT to identify opportunities to simplify work and increase collaboration and security using cloud technology.

ISSUE 3: Many of the cloud platforms we use daily don’t talk to each other. Cloud-based tools offer a world of opportunity and have enabled more agile and flexible working. However, most applications don’t talk to each other, making workflow automation extremely difficult and expensive. This hampers work, slows decision making and introduces unnecessary human cost and error, resulting in businesses not getting the full benefit from the digital transformation initiatives they’ve embarked upon.

THE SOLUTION: The biggest opportunity for success in digitalisation is intelligent automation. This cognitive-based automation is designed to mimic”‘human” work, reducing mundane tasks that usually require human input. Through intelligent automation, you can connect your people, processes and platforms to automate common business processes, and remove the barriers to success in your digital transformation. Intelligent automation has captured the imagination of business leaders everywhere, and it’s clear that it can streamline time-consuming business processes and dramatically improve ways of working. However, many organisations don’t know where to start.

The key to success is to align your automation strategy with your business goals. We can help to define your strategy and implement integrations and AI to increase productivity and automate time-consuming tasks throughout your organisation, putting your people in control.

ISSUE 4: Change is not embedded in company culture, so people are not engaged in the transformation process.

Any business transformation will only be as successful as the people implementing it. If your people aren’t engaged, your strategy simply won’t be delivered well. Change is always challenging and making a change as significant as introducing completely new ways of working will cause friction, at least in the short term.

THE SOLUTION: To be successful, employee and end-user engagement needs to be at the heart of a well-planned strategy. The long-term benefits need to be made clear to all, and friction must be addressed with effective communication and ‘change champions’ in place to aid the adoption of new ways of working. Sharing informing and engaging users in the transformation journey will make the path to success much smoother and faster.

Intelligent Automation is the future of work

According to McKinsey & Company, intelligent automation promises, radically enhanced efficiency, increased worker performance, reduction of operational risks, and improved response times and customer journey experiences.

Intelligent automation is the choice for businesses who want to deliver above expectations and be the best in their field. This is not about replacing humans with machines; it’s about freeing teams from repetitive, mundane tasks so that they can be empowered to do the best work they can.

The Synaptek intelligent automation solution rapidly connects people, processes and applications to streamline work and create endless process efficiencies, supercharging the speed of work and electrifying the customer experience, no matter what the industry or business. Using cutting-edge technology and the power of AI, we can release the power of cloud technology for truly smarter ways of working for all. Repetitive and mundane tasks are automated so teams have more time to spend on value-added tasks, and collaboration is improved across the business, creating the future of work.

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