By Antony Biondi, Head of ECM
Digital transformation is a massively overused term in the IT and business world. Potentially covering everything from getting a team to use Zoom while remote working, to digitizing an entire hospital, the definition of “going digital” can be a little ambiguous. But despite the breadth of the term, the action of going digital is increasingly important for modern businesses.
We live in a world where more information is “born digital” every year but many of our business processes are still designed for the paper documents of yesteryear. Larger UK organisations are already leading the digital charge with 90% of 2500+ employee businesses believing that they are well into their digital transformation journey.
But the story is a little different as company size reduces. Is this because smaller organisations have unique needs and desires around going digital? Maybe — but often the challenge is simply finding good quality information to help them justify the move to digital systems and processes. This blog aims to address that challenge by revisiting the three key reasons every business should go digital.
1. Remote working doesn’t work if you’re not digital
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a seismic shift in the way we all work. According to recruitment firm Globalization Partners, a tiny 12% of companies supported remote working before the pandemic. Almost overnight, this rose to 75% during and following COVID. The reality that came with this shift is that, for many types of business, remote working doesn’t work unless you have digital access to systems, files, and other workers via collaboration tools.
And now that staff have got used to working remotely, they don’t want to go back to the office — at least not in the same way.
According to Buffer, 99% of people would like to work remotely for the rest of their career, even if only part-time, and 75% want to keep working remotely because there are fewer distractions. If your business is not digital, imagine the conversations if you tried to recruit one of these people.
The fact is that remote working is here to stay — and it is reassuring to see 30% of the respondents to recent Crown research who see allowing employees to work at home efficiently as a key driver for their digital transformation.
2. Going digital is good business – for all businesses
Digital transformation helps businesses achieve three of their core business goals: increasing productivity, driving cost-effectiveness, and delivering compliance. Recent research from Crown, that shows the three key drivers for UK organisations wanting to go digital perfectly mirror these goals: Compliance – 31%, Productivity – 34%, Cost savings – 27%.
Each of these areas impacts businesses of all sizes — small businesses need to maintain records, ensure their employees are productive and keep costs to a minimum — just as much as large enterprises. However, smaller companies do not always have extra resources to commit to digital transformation projects. That doesn’t mean they can’t do them — it just means they need to be micro-focused on what they want to achieve and execute accordingly.
3. Privacy and security is stronger in the digital world
It may sound counterintuitive to say that information stored digitally is more secure than paper equivalents, but it is true. Yes, you can lock paper records in a filing cabinet to secure them, but as soon as you do that, they become unusable. In addition, paper can only be accessed by one person at a time, unless you make a copy — which doubles the security and privacy risk instantly.
Digital information on the other hand can be accessed by multiple people at the same time, from any device, anywhere in the world — but with the business in full control. Enterprise content management (ECM) systems provide the ability to control access to folders, individual documents, and even parts of individual documents — based on departments, teams, organisational roles, or individual users. In addition, they provide comprehensive reporting on who has accessed what, when, and for how long, include version control capabilities to manage changes to documents, and come complete with incredibly detailed audit logs.
With increased data privacy concerns and recent regulations such as GDPR, it is no surprise that enhancing data security was named as the number one driver for digital transformation for 37% of UK businesses. Going digital is an essential activity for any business wanting to effectively govern privacy and security.
Are you ready to go digital?
Going digital might sound scary. The prospect of new systems, new processes, and massive change all make people nervous — it is human nature. But going digital is not like jumping off a cliff to get from the viewpoint to the beach. A good digital transformation takes the well-worn path along the hillside, taking everyone along at a comfortable pace and ensuring that you get to where you need to be at the appropriate pace for the whole party.
You know that your business needs to go digital —this blog was just a way to remind you of the three key reasons. Now the action is on you though. You need to decide that you want to go digital.
The digital transformation of your business will be one of the most impactful and rewarding projects that you and your company will ever take. We look forward to joining you on that journey.
We know that making that first step is challenging, so to help you out we’ve created a series of resources and services to make the process a lot easier.
You can find all of these via the Digital Transformation section on our website: