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The Digital Transformation Process: Phase One, Going Digital

Chances are that your company has gone digital to some degree. You use email to communicate internally or with clients, your paychecks are direct deposited, or maybe you place orders through an online store. Whatever the case, implementing digital processes is important for increasing efficiency and managing workflows in today’s modern economy.

By Lisa Croft

If you or your business leaders are discussing going digital in one or more channels of your business, there are some important things you should consider first, least of which is that going digital is simply the first step to true digital transformation.

The Move to Digital: Not One and Done

You’ve decided to take the first step toward becoming a digital company. It’s important to know that it will not be a one-size-fits-all approach, nor will it be a one-time implementation. You can’t set it and forget it. Going digital often has unforeseen hiccups that can push back your target completion date. In this first step, you can determine the amount of time needed by creating a chart of everything the software and processes will touch and how they will interact with each targeted business segment.

Teamwork Required

Culture can often stand in the way of efficiency gains in the workplace. Managers and executives who’ve been with the company for a long time and are used to a certain way of doing things often don’t see the benefits of new technology. As you start going digital, make sure to get feedback from everyone who might influence the final product. Try to espouse the benefits, along with the learning curve or potential difficulties, to anyone that appears skeptical.

It’s also important to make sure that team members feel their input is valued. The IT technician, who probably isn’t interested in running the company or doing the books, might have substantially more knowledge on a certain process and how it affects the company as a whole. Likewise, other team members will know the quirks and oddities of their sector and how a move to digital would affect them.

Know Your Options, Use What You Have

Keep in mind that this is step one in going digital, and your business may have many facets to onboard. Even if you only have a few, it’s important to make sure that you only use trusted, reliable outside vendors and that you consider integrating with existing software that the company has already invested time and money in.

When Sonoma County decided it was time to cut the overhead costs of printing, filing, and storing paper documents related to its services and expenditures, they wanted to ensure a smooth transition that benefited both the county and its constituents.

“The first step was digitizing documents, but to fully transform the government, cut costs, and provide more efficient services, we need to completely digitize the process,” said Carolyn Staats, Records and Project Manager at Sonoma County.

To do that, they built upon what they had already implemented with Adobe Acrobat to create fillable forms and added Adobe Sign, which they felt would integrate smoothly with their existing processes. Rather than find new software to fully digitize their processes, they used what they had as a base to iterate on, saving time and money.

No matter which processes you want to make digital, there is likely a product that can accomplish your task. If you are looking to handle the process internally, assign someone to identify parallel efforts by other companies. In most cases, other organizations will have gone digital in the same ways you wish to, so don’t be afraid to reach out to companies that have successfully made the transition to ask how they did it and what challenges they ran into along the way.

Establish a Solid Base

Going digital can often seem like a large task. Make no mistake, it usually is, but your organization will benefit if you plan appropriately. It’s critical that at this step you take the time to understand your business needs and how going digital will affect each part of your business, from employees to customers and clients.

More detailed planning can ensure that the initial stages of going digital establish a strong base for you to iterate and build on later. Making existing processes digital is only the first step to creating true digital transformation for your organization. We’ll explore the next stages of digital transformation in future articles.

Lisa Croft is the Group Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Document Cloud

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