by Sid Bhattacharya, Kodak Alaris Information Management
Digital transformation, or DX, is set to continue dominating boardroom conversations. In fact, analyst group IDC forecasts that by the end of this year, two-thirds of the CEOs of global 2000 enterprises will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy.
Information is our most valuable asset, which makes improving how we manage it a key focus for both public and private sector organizations. There is a universal requirement to improve business process efficiency, increase productivity and build better practices to support growth, and this is driving the DX economy.
The exponential growth in the volume of content that flows into and out of an organization — current estimates predict that by 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second for every person on the planet — poses a massive challenge. The ability to seamlessly capture, manage, control and retrieve information efficiently, is essential to grow the bottom line and boost market competitiveness.
The introduction of new technologies will have far-reaching effects across organizations, as they begin to understand how digitization can automate and simplify business processes, improve customer relationships, increase agility, boost productivity and generate long-term cost savings.
Document capture technologies have become more sophisticated. Modern scanners include intelligent features that help track paper documents, such as image addressing, indexing and patch counting. The latest models take jam protection one step further by “listening” for potential document damage during scanning and stopping the scanner to allow appropriate action to be taken. Fast speeds, reliability, superb quality, and functions such as the ability to separate documents with a barcode and “read” its value for a reference for database look-ups or file naming for example, support organizations of all sizes in their goal to master data chaos.
There’s also an increasing demand for intelligent software solutions that seamlessly process and manage documents, ensuring the highest quality image first time, every time. Easily integrated into existing capture environments, these solutions make capture faster, smarter, more secure and more productive.
Centralised management of document capture using cloud-driven technology solutions helps maintain the tight controls necessary to ensure compliance. Scanning and capture profiles can be set up and monitored by central IT, and data entry errors and rework caused by complicated, difficult user interfaces can be reduced. Documents can be digitally monitored throughout the organization and companies can take further steps to secure information by setting up access rights and establishing a complete chain of custody by end-to-end monitoring of all access and data manipulation.
However, adoption of new technologies can present challenges - from equipment failing to meet customer requirements, to employee opposition to change. By keeping in mind existing workflows and end-user needs, businesses can avoid roadblocks to new technology adoption and realize a full return on investment when upgrading equipment.
Here are the most common technology implementation errors, and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Slow, costly integration
While new technology should signal positive change for C-suite decision-makers and end-users, it can also mean headaches for IT, if integration isn’t seamless and cost-effective. Connecting scanners to and installing capture software on every computer can take a significant amount of time, driving up implementation costs and delaying full deployment.
The advent of laptops, mobile devices and access to Wi-Fi, has transformed the traditional workplace. Today’s workers are no longer tied to a dedicated workstation, instead they have the flexibility to work where and how they want.
Enter wireless scanner technology, which offers versatile, cost-effective and convenient document scanning. Wireless connectivity enables true mobility, network flexibility and maximum resource utilization, without incurring significant cost.
There are many reasons why businesses shouldn’t miss out on the power of wireless network scanners. Wireless models are not dependent on PC processing power, can connect to desktops, tablets or smartphones, and since they are cloud-friendly, end-users can organize documents in cloud applications like Box, Evernote or SharePoint, at the touch of a button.
Wireless scanners can produce high-quality imaging output and can be shared across multiple users, across customer service windows, or in small workgroups, to leverage investment. They’re ideal for collaborative workspaces and because they don’t have cables, they are easy to move around.
Scanners that function wirelessly within existing infrastructure, make adoption simple and fast. When equipped with standard drivers, they can be easily integrated within legacy business applications, eliminating extra steps in the capture process and complicated software installations, which helps reduce IT costs. IT administrators also have the ability to set security levels and disable wireless and mobile if required, for more efficient device management.
In addition, thin-client software can be deployed and managed centrally via the web. This not only allows for a fast launch, but also minimizes costs associated with upgrades and ensures they take place simultaneously.
Mistake #2: Technology isn’t user-friendly
Across industries, employees face pressure to complete processes efficiently and accurately. While they can benefit from new technology aimed at helping them work faster, when presented with a new solution they often turn to the legacy tools they’re comfortable using. If scanning technology has even a slight learning curve, the perceived cost of taking the time to become familiar with the device or software, can override the downside of continuing to use time-consuming, tedious, manual processes.
Conversely, the more intuitive solutions are, the more quickly they’ll become part of employees’ day-to-day routines. Modern scanners, which feature user-friendly touchscreens and can be configured to offer one-touch scanning, allow workers to automatically start or continue a business process directly from the device. Because the technology is easy to use and integrate into existing workflows, it can be adopted - and start producing results — immediately.
Mistake #3: Ignoring BYOD
New technology needs to be compatible with the devices employees use every day. The growth of cloud adoption and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies has contributed to the consumerization of IT, and shows no sign of slowing down.
According to Tech Pro Research, 76 percent of organizations questioned said their companies have a BYOD policy. Allowing employees to work with devices they are familiar with not only makes them productive, but also helps reduce businesses’ IT infrastructure costs.
Advanced desktop scanners offer wireless connectivity to mobile devices. Rather than having to power up a PC and connect to their organization’s server every time they need to scan documents, employees can easily sync with the scanner from their smartphone or tablet. Mobile apps mean users can access the scanned documents on their phones and cue up the associated business process at the touch of a button. This not only allows employees to be more efficient, but ensures processes start sooner and are carried out faster - a win for the business and its customers.
Mistake #4: Ineffective change management
An investment in hardware and software may streamline workflows, fuel productivity and meet mobile needs, but if it’s not introduced strategically, businesses risk employees not fully adopting it. A study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting, revealed that while the clear majority of employees feel digital transformation is imperative, most believe it’s happening too slowly at their organization, suggesting a gap between how decision-makers and employees view these changes.
Derik Timmerman, co-founder and CEO of insights services provider Spreadsheet Sherpa, says there are ‘three Ms’ to prioritize when leading technological change: the message, the messenger and the method. Before crafting a message, he recommends the businesses consult with their employees and identify their frustrations with current technology.
“It’s not just any message that might make sense. It’s understanding how to craft that message in a way that is directed like a laser right at the pain points of the people that need to adopt [the technology],” he says.
Equally important as developing messaging that resonates with employees is selecting a messenger who’s respected and trusted. “Someone who works alongside staff on the front lines is often a stronger choice for this advocate role than a manager, because he or she can serve as a relatable example to the rest of the staff,” Timmerman says.
Finally, the method by which the transformation is communicated and executed is crucial to its success. Timmerman suggests maintaining the focus on the common pain points discussed and how the technology alleviates or eliminates them.
Digital transformation won’t just deliver businesses a competitive edge - it will be crucial to their future success. Advanced information management solutions are central to lean, competitive operations. By taking measures to ensure smooth implementation and adoption of scanners and capture software, businesses can begin seeing results sooner, and ultimately achieve a greater ROI.
Kodak Alaris Information Management
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of The Imaging Channel.