Going Beyond “Paperless:” True Digital Transformation
By Peter Fretty
The convergence of mobility and cloud have led to a digital explosion. Now that users have anytime, anywhere, any device access, they are generating mountains of data. In fact, IDC predicts that by 2025, the world will create 160 trillion gigabytes of it.
But more important than the volume is what companies do with that data – how they leverage it for heightened customer experiences, for improved day-to-day decision making, and to innovate.
And that’s what’s behind the rush toward digital transformation. As enterprises come to realize that to compete in this digital economy, they also understand they must effectively leverage and manage data.
For true business transformation, including increased efficiency and productivity, information or content must be easily searched, retrieved, and assembled. That’s why a comprehensive document solution — that integrates hardware and software — is critical.
First things first
Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. According to IDC, it is a five-stage process in which the enterprise moves from ad-hoc, paper-based workflows toward an intelligent, connected, and optimized workplace.
IDC believes that most organizations are firmly entrenched at the second stage, or opportunistic phase. Here there is document scanning and capture. Although data is typically connected to content management systems and repositories at this stage, the workflow is a manual process rather than an automated one.
Progression toward true digital transformation requires integration and automation, which means having the necessary tools in place to digitize content. Solutions such as multifunction printers (MFPs) with optical character recognition (OCR) software begin to streamline and simplify traditional paper-based processes. By integrating this hardware with a cloud-based document solution, businesses more effectively put the power of content into users hands, helping them work smarter and faster.
And this is where the promises of increased productivity and efficiency — as well as cost reductions — begin to take shape.
Putting content to work
Consider, for instance, a legal firm, which was spending a great deal of time and manpower scanning paperwork that was crucial for their casework. Every time a sheet was scanned — even when carried out in batches — the user had to enter the name of the document, assign it to a case number, and choose where to store it.
By embracing MFPs equipped with OCR, legal associates were able to automatically convert scanned documents into editable text. As a result, large batches of paperwork are now quickly scanned, accessible, easily searchable, and can be collated.
Understandably, reaching the digital goal only happens when the right mix of equipment and software are in place to make it a reality. This is why it’s important to take an enterprise-wide look at workplace printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines that are currently being used and consider their role in digital transformation.
Well beyond putting ink on paper, true multifunction hardware devices with print, scan, and email capabilities can and should serve as an on-ramp to the digitization of data. And once on that road, organizations can improve decision making, innovate more effectively, and deliver an excellent user experience for continued growth.