Reimagining business with digital transformation
Digital transformation has become one of the most time-honored motifs in business circles today. The mere mention of the term almost immediately conjures up images of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and digital agents predicated on the digitization of information.
Although far from a misnomer, digital transformation’s perception according to the above constructs puts, perhaps, an undue focus on the digital aspect of this tenet. The true worth of digital transformation, however, involves less emphasis on digitization and more on reshaping— while drastically improving—the very means by which business is conducted.
“If you want to begin to transform, you’ve got to begin touching on process,” said iManage CPO Dan Carmel. “This is where digital transformation differs from just digitization. Now, what you’re really saying is, ‘I’m going to look at a process of how I get something done, and I’m going to be reimagining it, based on digital technology.’”
That differentiation, of course, includes the use of the cloud, statistical and non-statistical AI, and digital agents to perfect business processes via automation, remote collaborations, fine-grained search, content enrichment, silo-elimination, and more.
Each of these outputs produces a pronounced impact on the discipline of knowledge management—as well as on how business is practiced by organizations. The outcome is the use of data to enrich content that becomes practicable knowledge. According to Carmel, “When we talk about knowledge, often you end up drifting to content, which is often augmented by data, to make it smarter, or to allow us to do more with it.”
The first step toward digital transformation is digitization itself, which can be effected in numerous ways. Traditional approaches simply involve scanning documents. More savvy ones entail optical character recognition (OCR) or intelligent character recognition (ICR), which functions similar to OCR, but is applicable to handwriting. These technologies manipulate non-digital content “and turn it into searchable content,” Carmel said. There are also numerous applications in the cloud that instantly digitize content. These applications can be anything as simple as emails, instant messaging, workplace tools like Office 365, and systems of engagement like Microsoft Teams.
Additionally, the cloud is useful for uploading unstructured content like images and videos. After uploading this content into what Cloudian CMO Jon Toor termed “cloud-native storage,” it becomes searchable by default due to the metadata capabilities of modern storage protocols like S3. “With object storage, which is the type of storage used in cloud-native environments, you really have an unlimited amount of metadata that you can store,” Toor said.
If the most forthwith boon of digital transformation is the capacity to search for content, thereby making it accessible to a broader and more diverse range of users, such search is only as good as its enrichment process. There are many methods of enriching specific pieces of content (documents, images, videos, etc.), including these:
♦ Manual approaches: Manual enrichment methods have not been outmoded by digital transformation. People can annotate content to increase its overall enterprise utility in instances in which “someone’ s gone through it and said this is a best practice document,” Carmel said. “This is now a knowledge document and a reference we can use. They may have cleaned it up, added citations to it from a new piece of work, and it becomes a benchmark or a template.”
♦ Machine learning: There are numerous solutions, several of which are accessed via the cloud, that employ machine learning to automatically tag content with descriptive metadata to increase search accuracy.