Automation and digital transformation: How to unlock business growth
Digital Transformation or Automation: Is there a Difference?
Although the terms “automation”, “digital transformation” are sometimes used interchangeably, they mean very different things. Automation is the application of technology to automate processes, increasing efficiency and transparency as well as reporting capabilities. Automation is a tool to achieve a goal, and digital transformation is the desired outcome.
Gartner asserts that digital transformation involves more than just making existing processes more efficient. It also requires creating or unlocking new value to customers.
Customers’ expectations change rapidly with new technologies. Businesses are increasingly adopting digital transformation to keep up with these expectations.
This is however a limited view of digital transformaion. It excludes benefits that aren’t directly beneficial to the customer. For example, transforming company culture and giving employees more job satisfaction by allowing them focus on interesting projects instead of repetitive administrative tasks.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation refers to the use of technology to transform your business in order to create new revenue streams or business models, and avoid disruption.
Digital transformation is more than just moving things to the cloud or adopting various digital processes. George Westerman, the author of Leading Digital : Turning Technology Into Businesses Transformation says that digital transformation requires a radical rethinking how an organization uses technology, people, and processes to transform business performance.
Digital transformation is more than a single IT project. Digital transformation is not a single project. It’s a combination of many projects that transform every aspect your organization into digital-first.
Let’s take a look at how this could play out.
Upgrade your underlying technology (renovating and replacing legacy systems).
Change the way you service your customers (mobile or via multiple channels)
Automation can increase efficiency and productivity.
Integration with third parties to provide better customer experiences
Digital transformation means using all digital tools available to you – including data analytics and automation – in order to transform the way your business operates and makes decisions.
This means that you foster a culture of innovation, and constantly iterate your offerings and business model in order to provide the best product for your company and your industry.
Digital transformation must be proactive and not reactive. It is the territory where businesses are leading the charge in their sector, not just responding to disruption.
Companies like Uber and Netflix are often cited as the leaders in digital transformation. They have disrupted industries by using technology and data to reimagine products and address customer demands that customers didn’t know existed.
You can do the same in your industry, even on a smaller scale, if you keep your fingers on the pulse of your company and your customer relationships. Data analytics provides invaluable insight.
Digital Transformation is all about process automation
Digital transformation requires process automation. Automation can be implemented and socialized across the business to benefit all employees, not just IT.
The key to digital transformation is automating daily workflows. It’s worth looking into a workflow automation solution if your company doesn’t have one.
You can digitize forms for customers and employees, automate routine processes, and measure their effectiveness using such a platform. This data can be used to reduce pain points and drive real change. It also helps improve business performance in many ways.
Without workflow automation, manual processes are still being used. In this case, the risk of being interrupted and rendered ineffective is real.
You can bet that your higher education institution still relies heavily on manual data entry and paper-based documentation. Your competitors may have automated these processes and offer better value to their customers through faster processing times and better communication.
Although optimizing work processes to increase productivity and efficiency can be a desirable goal, process automation should be integrated with a larger business strategy.
What do you want automation to accomplish? What will automation do for your customers? You can take automation one step further by offering value that really differentiates you from other competitors or changes the industry parameters.
These are just a few of the ways that automation can help you get on the right path to digital transformation.
Provide world-class customer service
To increase your revenue, the most important thing is to provide excellent customer service. Consumers will move quickly to other companies if you don’t provide customer service.
Customers today are used to being able interact with companies online at any hour. Customers will feel frustrated if they can’t access information during business hours. Automating information allows customers to have an easy experience, allowing them to access it when and where they want it.
Employees who spend too much time chasing down approvals can make it difficult for them to provide excellent customer service. Automated approvals allow them to free up time and invest it in what’s most important: students, customers, or patients.
Employees can focus on the important work by increasing efficiency and accuracy
Automation can help you speed up operations and reduce errors. It also allows you to automate repetitive tasks that were previously done manually. Increasing efficiency means greater capacity which makes it easier to scale up operations as you grow.
How might a modern, transformed business application look? It will, undoubtedly:
Automate forms and workflows to eliminate the need to print, sign, and scan.
To reduce manual data entry, integrate systems and databases.
To ensure business constraints are met, intelligently route documents to the correct person at the right moment.
Automated support for all mobile devices. Provide 24/7 access from anywhere.
A better work environment and more rewarding work are two things that can be done.
Automating allows your employees to do more creative or challenging tasks. This makes them happier and more engaged. Engaged employees care more about their work, which leads to greater business success.
A workflow automation solution that uses a visual and low code approach can make developers’ lives easier. This allows you to add business functionality to web-apps, and then spread the development amongst more people in your company – the “citizen developer” group. This reduces the pressure on IT teams and allows them to concentrate on business priorities.
By breaking down silos, you can encourage teamwork and collaboration
Automated workflows that integrate can be used to bridge the gap and disintegrate silos, and promote collaboration among different departments and business units. This will facilitate cross-functional cooperation.
You can give your employees a greater understanding of the business by exposing them to different functions. This will encourage innovation.
A process automation solution that integrates well can help you automate workflows between different functions, such as sales, customer service management, support, marketing, and finance.
Transparency and Strategic Oversight – Improve Transparency
Automating business processes gives you access to a lot of data you may not have had before. This gives you a better understanding of which processes are performing well and which could be improved.
This data can also be used to improve your strategic positioning and risk assessment. It will allow you to stay ahead of the curve and create value propositions that are in line with the promise of digital transformation.
Boost Security and Compliance
There are many ways automation can help with security and compliance. A recent RedHat survey found that 47% of respondents believed that automation was a key driver for improving security and compliance.
Automating vulnerabilities can be identified and fixed quickly. This allows businesses to be proactive in addressing potential security breaches before they occur. Intelligent software can detect security policy violations and learn what normal usage is.
Automating can help you trim the fat. You can cut the fat by automating and digitalizing processes such as data entry, finance, approval workflows and document management.
Although automation does not in and of itself equate with digital transformation, it is a crucial part of the process.
Meet your customers at their preferred channel
Mobile traffic accounts for 52 percent of internet traffic, while desktop usage is steadily declining. According to projections, 72 percent of internet traffic will be mobile-based by 2025. Accordingly, 84% of customers-centric companies are now focusing their attention on mobile customer experiences. According to a 2020 PWC survey, businesses are investing more in omnichannel experiences. The number of companies making this change has increased from 20% to 80 percent. Mobile apps are not the solution. Consumers no longer need an app that does everything. 61% of consumers won’t download an app to connect with businesses.
Customers should be able to reach you via mobile, regardless of what mobile browser they are using. It’s becoming easier to make your website responsive to mobile devices. Workflow automation systems such as frevvo can help you create forms that are optimized for mobile display.
Get your business more agile
Automating your business allows you to quickly adapt to changes in the market. Two key capabilities are:
Allow employees to do the right things at the right times. This will reduce business complexity. Stop wasting time with paperwork, errors, missing signatures and other paperwork. This will help to improve employee productivity (let them work from any place, any time and on any device), as well as encourage collaboration (access to information and people wherever they are needed).
As business conditions change, it is easier to roll out new business initiatives faster. Introduce a new product or modify existing processes to meet customer demand changes quickly. This could be as simple as allowing customers to take a selfie and confirm their identity while still holding an identity document.
These capabilities provide a significant competitive advantage which is the ultimate goal of digital transformation.
To automate key business processes for digital transformation success.
We’ve seen that automation can be a crucial part of your digital transformation journey. It streamlines and optimizes operations, promotes collaboration, grants greater oversight, and generally helps to foster innovation.