In a world of increasing complexity, it is comforting to find something that is simpler than it seems and still complex enough to get the job done. Digital transformation, despite its high-tech image, is often less complicated and more easily achievable than one might think.
Let’s face it, businesses still existed before the introduction of 21st-century technology. Digitalization is nothing more than changing the way we see business, changing the way we do our jobs and changing the tools we are using. Businesses are already used to exchanging manual for digital, but people often don’t notice it. Physical letters became emails, numbers on a paper became Excel spreadsheets and none of those changes caused major shocks and radical changes in the way the business operated. Quite the opposite- technology was slowly but fully adopted in less than 5-10 years. All of these examples are digital transformation. Some have become so common that we forget to call them that- like for example the transition from ordinary mail to email to cloud digital transaction management The bottom line is that, if done well, digital transformation offers significant benefits to customers, businesses and employees.
The benefits of digital transformation
Many examples of successful digital transformation save time; a scarce resource in today’s world that is evolving at a breakneck pace. A world in which we have all gotten into the habit of ordering our next meal or a taxi with the touch of a cell phone.
A competitive advantage in any business can be something as simple as providing more convenience and faster access to the product or service. Current consumers expect a level of service that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago, and the lack of immediacy is a real drawback. We expect to get the response or service instantly or receive the product we just purchased from Amazon the next day.
Interestingly enough, 90% of consumers rate “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service or support question. (https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/07/real-time-response-to-customers.html)
In addition, HR departments risk losing talent because they are lacking the digital tools to facilitate their signature process. An HR manager can lose his/her next big rockstar just because of a competitor offering a faster recruiting and onboarding process. Because nobody has the time to go to the library, print, sign and scan a document and send it back…
Speed and agility are essential competitive advantages for any business. The competition is real, relentless and persistent, and consumers can make direct and instant comparisons at the touch of a button. That is why a business must go digital from the get-go. And what better way to kickstart your digital journey than the implementation of a digital signature solution. It makes a great digital first impression both for the new employees that you onboard (HR), the suppliers and distributors you work with because you save them tons of time and of course saving your current employees tons of time shuffling through folders upon folders of information. Sold on the idea of digitalization yet?
So how do you make sure that digital transformation is on top of your business agenda?
1. (Re)define your company’s values
A good place to start is value. What is the unique value that you and your brand bring? What do your customers’ and employees’ actions and comments tell you about it and how can you use the technology to scale it up or expand it? After all, businesses exist to serve their customers; their expectations should guide your business strategy and the goals you set for yourself in digital terms.
Clearly explain these objectives to staff and suppliers. Objectives must be well communicated and often must be repeated. You may also need to check with the employees that they understand what you mean! But don’t run after perfect execution: start small but start today.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound goals. For example, one goal for your company could be to reduce the manual processes of a transaction by 70%, by eliminating paper and forms to make the whole process digital in 10 months time. Clearly, this will save money, increase agility, and speed up transaction speed. The latter will skyrocket you into the world of digital transaction management which will improve customer experience and facilitate ongoing daily document transactions, which is worth its weight in gold!
3. Start small, but start today
Of course, changing everything at the same time can seem daunting. If that is the case, start by just introducing the digital signature: there is an immediate and practical aspect of this process that will be understood by everyone. Observe how your company reacts to that change and little by little start setting up custom document flows and automating the whole document journey until full business process automation is achieved.
At Penneo we have helped over 2.000 businesses to fully digitize and automate their documents and receive signatures up to 4 times faster, going from a lengthy 2 weeks process to just sending the document to the right people in the right order and getting the signatures back in just under a day.
This is the type of digitalization that transforms an organization and should be its priority: it brings value to both the customer and the business, giving them the confidence to move forward and consider other changes.
An electronic signature may seem like a small step. But it can be the starting point for a complete digital transformation.