Digital Transformation

How paperless is your Digital Transformation strategy?

How paperless is your Digital Transformation strategy?
By : George Mathew

Published : November 19th, 2021

Digital transformation is a new reality – regardless of the type of organization, the need to digitalize core business processes is imperative to remain competitive. Consider a typical mailroom of an organization in financial services, insurance, or government domains. You will notice that it is vastly resource-centric; where the workers manage tasks such as sorting, scanning, and indexing documents. Most of the time, the employees must upload the scanned documents to a document management system and key in details to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application.

What does Digital Transformation mean for paper-based documents?

The pandemic has accelerated investment in technologies to reduce cost and improve productivity. The key component of digitizing the mailroom workforce is to go paperless. Although the total elimination of paper may not be feasible for every business, even a small reduction will yield cost savings and increased efficiency. It does not matter if your company is in the startup phase or has developed well-established policies and procedures, there are always advantages to reducing paper usage.

Before we get into the ‘how?’, let us understand the ‘why?’ Here are a few reasons why going paperless can benefit businesses of all sizes.

  • Better Customer Experience – Implementing digital documents provides a better customer experience as customers can complete the document anywhere, on any device, and at any time.

  • Improved Service-Level Agreement (SLA) and Productivity – Implementing digital documents will reduce customer turnaround from days to hours by eliminating all human tasks and hence improve the SLA and productivity.

  • Seamless Integration – Most of the digital document products provide out-of-the-box integration with popular Customer Relationship Management applications. Even if your organization uses a homegrown Customer Relationship Management application, integration is possible with APIs provided by the digital document products.

  • Collaboration made easier – Going paperless also increases your ability to collaborate internally and externally. Automated form filling or Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of PDFs are a few methods that can cut down processing time and increase efficiency.

  • Opportunity for Continuous Improvement – With the reports and statistics that come along with digital documents, organizations can identify the bottlenecks in processes and correct these.

  • Enhanced Security and Legal Compliance – By going paperless, organizations can adhere to new data compliance requirements, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), by restricting access for any file to specific users only. Multiple backups can also be created, on and off-site, while data recovery and protection capabilities are significantly improved. Digital documents and electronic signatures are now legal in the United States, the European Union, and many other countries like Australia, Canada, Israel, Ireland, China, Kuwait, India, etc. Most of the digital document products are HIPPA, FERPA, and COPPA compliant.

  • Reduce operating costs – As digital document implementation eliminates or reduces human effort; operational cost is significantly reduced. Physical storage costs are one of the main reasons to go paperless. You can eliminate a considerable amount of storage space and reduce costs.

  • Environmentally sound – In our ecologically-conscious society, it is essential for organizations to factor in the business implications of their environmental impact. Going paperless dramatically reduces an organization’s consumption of valuable resources and its carbon footprint.

Document digitization can be approached in two ways –

  1. Guided forms and electronic signature
  2. OCR based document processing

Guided forms and electronic signature – By digitizing the document/form using guided forms and e-signature, the form can be shared with the customer by embedding the document to a website or by sending an email or even by sending an SMS, where the customer fills the details and signs the document electronically.

OCR-based document processing – If the total elimination of paper is not feasible, the next best option is to implement OCR-based document processing. OCR-based document processing automates data extraction from handwritten or printed text from a scanned document or image file.

As part of undertaking a major transformation initiative, an organization must fully understand and map the investments and changes that will be required. It must define the applications, hardware, security requirements, and workflow adjustments. Depending on internal resources, the organization will need to either assign the implementation team or, in some cases, decide what outside resources are required. While implementing digital documents, embrace agile principles to make sure the process is improved, benefits are defined and achieved, and the return of investment (ROI) is realized frequently.

The future of digital

Technology offers businesses across industries an incredible potential to engage with people around the world in an instance. Prior to the pandemic, many organizations were just beginning to see the potential that many of these capabilities offered their businesses. However, when in-person meetings and work were limited as a response to Covid-19, they quickly realized just how powerful technology can be. The pandemic helped to accelerate the digital transformation and created a landscape that will continue to encourage innovation and technological adoption moving forward. As businesses begin to better understand the capabilities of these types of modern technologies, they will also begin to understand the opportunities that lie before them, lasting into their future.

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