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Overcoming a key roadblock to digital transformation

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Some might be quick to say that digital transformation is just another passing fad. But consider that according to the World Economic Council, the global flow of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is now 51% digital. For the first time in history, the way companies make money is more digital than physical. We are seeing, literally, a digital transformation of business – and yet many organizations continue to struggle with it.

The problem is big—really big

Real digital transformation is made more difficult because of the sheer volume and growth of information we must manage every day.  According to AIIM research, the amount of data coming into organizations will grow nearly 4.2x in the next 24 months, and that doesn’t account for the huge amount of data and information already present in organizations today.  A recent report by analyst firm IDC  predicts some 175 Zettabytes of data will be generated annually by 2025.

How do you transform a business with all that information? The reality becomes that organizations are often working to keep pace with, but are not necessarily embracing, digital transformation. Much of our time and energy is spent managing information instead of leveraging information.

Separate the old from the new for a better solution

It is increasingly clear that old-school approaches and common perceptions of records management and information governance are no longer adequate. In fact, legacy technology investments may well be hindering digital transformation and putting organizations at a digital disadvantage. So, as you are looking to transform your business with content, it's best not to follow that approach.

For modern organizations seeking a path towards digital transformation that will deliver greater efficiencies and drive the bottom line, investing in a content services platform (CSP)—one that was designed to meet the needs of today’s enterprises—can be the key to unlocking value and advancing digital initiatives. Here are a few of the key hurdles to digital transformation that a modern CSP will help overcome:

Slow content-driven interactions

Think about it: Many customer interactions begin and end with content. This is particularly true in industries like financial services or insurance. And many of these content-driven interactions can be streamlined, automated, or even eliminated with an effective content management strategy.

Similarly, with content management, companies can also provide ubiquitous, multi-channel access to critical documents, communications, and other customer content. Content improves productivity and drives efficiency. Ready access to the right information enables faster, more accurate decisions. Content often fuels business processes and facilitates knowledge work. Content can, in and of itself, be a work product.

In fact, content can enable companies to adopt entirely new business models. Once a company has digitized its information, it can expose this information through entirely new channels and to entirely new consumers.

Disconnected information sources

A modern CSP will integrate with legacy applications such as the enterprise content management (ECM) and other core business solutions. It will also map the metadata of the legacy system to the CSP, and ultimately serve as a centralized content hub that can manage information and content that still resides within existing legacy systems.

Once this is achieved, enterprises can build smart applications on this platform that enable them to quickly deliver highly-personalized content to their customers, which is exactly what they want.

And in the end there was automation

Organizations have historically used ECM systems to automate processes, including accounts payable and receivable processing, HR onboarding and employee file management, and digital mailroom management, etc. These processes were all largely back office and transactional, meaning they dealt with a high volume of documents and information within a well-defined process.

Automation delivered impressive results, but many organizations never delivered automation within the rest of their business—often because their own business processes were not well defined or rigid enough to be able to codify within an ECM system environment. Others failed because their processes needed information from multiple systems, and that level of integration was not possible at the time.

But this is all changing. Process automation is still the primary driver for using information management, but the way in which organizations are looking to automate is changing.

By definition most of the work that knowledge workers do within a business follows a process, but typically not a rigid one. For example, the onboarding of a new employee within a business always follows the same steps: creation of employee record, addition to corporate domain and email systems, etc. The recruitment of an employee, on the other hand, is an ad-hoc process. While there are phases to the process and key milestones trigger those phases, the collection of information and content—and the timing around these—is definitely not fixed.

These ad hoc processes need to combine information and content from multiple sources, and deliver it to the end user via a personalized interface and solution that can drive the process—at the appropriate time. This is precisely what a CSP can deliver.

An AI-driven CSP offers an even bigger opportunity to optimize organizational workflows. For example, these intelligence systems increase the capability and the ability to utilize metadata—information about information—much more effectively to help organizations better tag, manage and use their data in new and innovative ways. Suppose you have a legacy ECM repository containing customer documents. These contracts are poorly managed, and the only relevant metadata attributes associated with these documents are customer reference numbers. By using a CSP to pass that content through an AI enrichment engine, companies can potentially apply additional metadata attributes to each one of the files currently stored, which immediately injects more context, intelligence, and insight into an organization’s information management ecosystem.

No more head-in-the-sand syndrome

Those who still think “digital transformation” is simply a buzz-term, need to wake up. Digital transformation is an important topic that has captured the attention of executives, CIOs, and information management professionals in all industries and across the world. It is our new reality—and the impact has significant implications in terms of how organizations must operate in the 21st century.

Any digital transformation initiative should have one overarching goal: to connect disparate information sources within the business. Old-school approaches and common perceptions of records management and information governance are no longer adequate. A CSP takes organizations away from archaic and inefficient approaches to managing information and instead delivers greater efficiencies and bottom-line savings. Platforms with AI make it even easier to find and utilize content by automating the creation of high-quality metadatacreating new business opportunities we have yet to imagine.

As the currency that fuels and funds the digital transformation journey, information is an organization’s most valuable asset. To truly take advantage will require that organizations adopt new approaches to “records management” and a new notion of what information really means to the organization.

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