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Introducing Digital Transformation
In a dream business world, each and every task employees undertake runs like clockwork. Front and back-office operations have set protocols that workers navigate with efficiency and ease, making them able to manage straightforward workflows with as little limbo, bottlenecks, or ambiguity as possible.
What’s more, these cross-department tasks can be accomplished from one place—a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) or content-management system always a few clicks away. Sound too good to be true?
For many business-process owners, this scenario remains more fantasy than reality. Yes, they want strategic enterprise workflow automation to free employees’ time and talent. Yes, they want cost-savings without service sacrifices, and they want everyone and everything working smarter, not harder. But how do you ground these goals to see positive, daily process change across the entire company? Introducing digital transformation.
What Is Digital Transformation? A Brief Overview
Digital transformation is the act of harmonizing business processes with current, automation-based technology to make your entire breadth of cross-enterprise workflows expedient, optimized, and less erroneous.
In other words, it shifts tasks from being siloed, department-specific, and manually done to being streamlined, universally accessible, and strategically automated. It does this by introducing new software to your current ERP management systems.
This software acts as an extension of those already in place, performing many of the repetitive and monotonous functions that would have previously fallen on multiple employees across multiple departments.
Such was the principal cause of business-process lag times and chokepoints as parts of that workflow stalled between departmental queues. However, with digital transformation technologies in place, employees spend less doing things “the old way.”
Bolstered by automated technology and streamlined, cross-department software, they can now pivot attention onto higher-level, high-order work. The results? A fine-tuned enterprise workflow process that minimizes waste and maximizes resources, all from a single integrated software synchronizing the work of multiple people in multiple departments.
The Importance of Digital Transformation for Today’s Business Processes
Just consider the landscape of today’s common business inefficiencies that stand to see improvements from this kind of synchronization:
Employees lose 20 to 40 percent of their workday manually looking for misplaced paperwork and documents or combing through poor filing systems—print and digital.
It takes 18 minutes for a worker to find a needed document. As document searches add up, so do lost minutes.
Nearly 40 percent of employee productivity is lost due to unorganized task-switching.
Less than half of companies surveyed have internal processes set up to catch early payment vendor discounts. Even those that say they do capitalize on less than 10 percent of those qualified discounts.
Manual invoicing, data entry and data management produce error rates between four and 10 percent.
Over 60 percent of companies will experience an attempted or successful payment fraud scheme. These schemes specifically manipulate manual-based business processes and systems.
The Business Benefits of Embracing Digital Transformation
These numbers paint a sobering picture. Business processes that implement cross-department software and tools mitigate these concerns and optimize nearly all angles of operations, not just solve single department’s inefficiencies. With a digital transformation strategy, your business will:
The best way to prove how much you value your employees is by letting them perform valuable work. This is both intuitive and in everyone’s best interest, as the benefits of employee morale are proven.
Slow data entry, validation bottlenecks, document archiving and retrieving, contingent task assignments, and generating reports from disparate documents, spreadsheets, and logs—these are the culprits plaguing business processes. What do they all have in common? They’re manual departmental tasks, consuming valuable time and energy, and they are prone to human error.
Simply put, organizations cut operating costs and free cash flows when they implement automated digital tools. Businesses that commit to going paperless slash expenses dramatically. A full suite of enterprise workflow automation software across domains pays for itself in 6 to 18 months.
With reduced steps to complete back-office tasks, unsiloed departments and employees empowered by multifunctional technology, you can accomplish more in less time. You’ve created a new, highly scalable productivity pipeline without any intensive capital investments, system downtimes, or overhaul.
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What Does Digital Transformation Look Like?
A digitally transformed business is one that looks like this—newly selected software used in multiple applications, by multiple people, in multiple roles and departments, all harmonized to improve the company’s entire enterprise workflows. Such a digital transformation will come modeled on the specific tasks or departments an organization wants to be optimized. While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to do so, there are critical steps for what digital transformation will look like:
It starts small
Stakeholders must take a microscope to the daily, routine operations that fuel the delivery of their goods and services—but are not the goods and services themselves. Things like invoice processing, inventory reordering, employee training, and much more are all viable candidates. Then they adopt software to complement these daily tasks as a whole, not just single solutions.
Goals work when they are actionable. The best business process improvements don’t introduce their digital tools and updated steps all at once, but prorate changes and find ways to integrate, not dispel, in-house technology with the new.
It’s evolution — not revolution
Too many make the mistake of assuming digital transformation means a complete overhaul or revolution of their current ERP or core management software. While the cross-function improvements ushered in will be significant, the steps to get there don’t need to be. With those tenets in mind, here are two common approaches to implementing a digital transformation strategy:
1. Vertical Automation
Vertical automation says that to improve workflows and systems, an organization needs to start from scratch. Employees are trained on brand-new software, new hardware, and new applications while the legacy ERP likely gets scrapped.
Pros of Vertical Digital Transformation
Ideal for young or start-up companies, or those with only a handful of employees, all committed to making a complete process pivot for single-use or single-function problems.
Cons of Vertical Digital Transformation
Higher system acquisition costs, tighter implementation timelines, and increased likelihood of system blunders and downtimes during migration.
2. Horizontal Automation
Horizontal automation takes an integrative approach, finding ways to merge the new process-improvement software with the existing ERP. Companies seek out digital tools that are platform and application agnostic, meaning they don’t disrupt current systems, don’t require extensive employee re-training, and don’t need to migrate the tremendous amount of data and files stored on legacy systems across individual departments.
Pros of Horizontal Digital Transformation
Low cost and low risk for the implementing business. Changes are gradual. Finalized business processes and workflows are maintained on familiar platforms and operating systems.
Cons of Vertical Digital Transformation
Higher system acquisition costs, tighter implementation timelines and increased likelihood of system blunders and downtimes during migration.
MHC specializes in horizontal digital transformation. We help our partners implement new software technology while retaining their critical existing platforms, meaning they can work smarter—not harder—to see business-processes improvements across every role and in every department.
Key Workflows to Automate That Lead to Digital Business Transformation
With digital business transformation, employees across the organization use cutting-edge software to make their jobs quicker, easier, and more in sync. Important files and documents are accessible and shareable, applications communicate locally, and departments are no longer siloed based on limited access to or awareness of another’s procedures.
Organizations looking to digitally transform are those elevating their workforce from the individualistic, repetitive, and mundane into the collaborative, resourceful, and meaningful—right where they should be. The most common domains where businesses begin their digital transformation process include:
Accounts payable departments are distinctly suited for automation-backed digital transformation. As the backbone to the business’ back-office financial operations, everything from invoice receipts to proof of delivery requires meticulous document tracking, data entry, vendor-relationship management, and compliant, transparent transaction trails. What’s more, manual accounts payable operations are some of the most expensive and inefficient for a company to maintain. It takes nearly 20 days and 15 phases for an invoice to pass through a complete, validated manual workflow. AP automated technologies bring that timeline down to three days and saves the organization $16 per invoice.
Customer operations departments are critical to every organization. If your employees can’t support your customers well, how will you grow and add new customers? Customer operations teams handle large volumes of documents and information coming in and going out of the organization. It is really important to make sure the employees who support those operations have access to the information they need and can control the communications with customers. Increasing numbers of business users want to take over the control and management of how documents and communications are exchanged with customers so that they can improve customers’ experiences and increase customer engagement.
Field Services and Management
Many businesses rely on field teams and personnel to deliver their full scale of goods and services. From subscription grocery boxes brought to customers’ doorsteps to electricians and similar tradespeople, these industries require new forms of task management and operations-aiding software they can use on-site, in-the-moment. Field-service mobile workforce management apps are today’s digital transformation solution. When installed on phones, tablets, or any other devices already used, these apps give field reps instant access to work orders, inventory information, data directories, quote management resources, customer contracts, and more. Employees back in the office work in that same software to dispatch and monitor field operations and relay any other logistical business processes as needed.
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AP Invoice Automation Solution Overview
Let MHC Be Your Partner in
Complete Digital Business Transformation
A business bettering itself today is a business poised for success tomorrow. MHC partners with companies looking to transform how business gets done. We work with you to provide the software and technology necessary to unlock strategic, automated enterprise workflows and realize your holistic digital transformation. Request a custom product demonstration today or reach out directly with questions on how to achieve company-wide digital transformation.