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Digital transformation, or not

Digital transformation is a much-touted phrase without a precise meaning. However, in one way or another, content is nearly always part of the transformation. At a recent conference of Laserfiche customers and partners, a model of digital transformation was introduced, which breaks digital transformation into five phases:

Phase 1. The creation of an electronic repository or electronic filing cabinet.

Phase 2. Categorizing and managing content to make it easy to find information.

Phase 3. Development of content-related process and automation of internal processes.

Phase 4. Full automation of processes, including optimizing and streamlining them and developing shared services.

Phase 5. Future state in which machine learning takes on the role of developing and improving processes.

In the model, process enters the picture relatively early, but a surprising number of organizations are still working with paper, according to Katie Gaston, Laserfiche cloud product manager, and therefore may only be in the first stage. “The speed with which they can move through the stages depends mainly on their ability to handle change management,” she says. “The mindset may not be there for how to process information electronically.”

Horizontal processes using Laserfiche tend to have a high focus on human resources, with employee onboarding being a popular initial application. Opening new accounts is also a typical starting place. “We encourage people to begin thinking about Phase 2 while they are still in Phase 1,” Gaston adds.

Organizations that are storing their documents on site and are moving to Laserfiche’s cloud can use a utility that allows them to migrate the information quickly. “It’s a streamlined process, with the only limitation being the bandwidth of the connectivity,” Gaston says. “Some of our resellers put the data on a hard drive for the migration, and sometimes the customers do it. Setting permissions and determining metadata is the same process whether it’s being done on premise or cloud.” Documents that have been imaged when they were converted to electronic form are automatically OCR’d when they are moved to the cloud. The Quick Fields feature lets users populate metadata easily.”

Scanning is time-intensive while automating processes is strategically intensive. Gaston says, “It’s a different skill set and one organizations must consider when deploying process automation.” They need to think through in a holistic way the vision they have for how the business will function when they enable automated processes. That vision is at the heart of digital transformation and needs to guide the transition.

The future of content services will be a form of “organized chaos,” according to Hobert. “Unstructured content is created, managed and used in different ways by different people for different purposes. People want to be able to use it whether they are in the office or on the road, in whatever application they want.”

Enterprise content is a strategic resource that organizations must manage proactively and use to advance their missions. The combination of process-centric content applications and accessibility via the cloud are two critical ingredients for that change.

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