There is something very meta about Kofax Accelerate 2021 being an entirely virtual event. Kofax, a digital transformation and intelligent automation cloud solutions provider, held a virtual conference that was focused on digital transformation and cloud solutions.

Speakers included an astronaut and executives from Kofax. Col. Chris Hadfield delivered his aptly titled keynote address,  “Accelerate to Tomorrow.” CEO Reynolds Bish discussed the future of digital transformation, while CSO Chris Huff discussed the company’s strategy for innovation, and optimizing their customers’ experience. VP of Customer Success Kevin McKay hosted a session reviewing the company’s recent investments.

Other sessions featured insights from dealers, customer success stories, new product previews, demonstrations, and awards ceremonies for customers who made achievements in innovation and organizational impact.

Two topics you couldn’t avoid during Kofax Accelerate 2021 were digital transformation and the cloud.

Digital transformation 

In one session, Marc Ueckermann, Chief Technology Officer of Xenith Document Systems out of the UK told us that he wasn’t convinced that a pure-remote work environment is as effective as people claim. “95% of people say that in-person interactions are very critical,” he said. A more realistic prediction is that we will see a lot of hybrid workers doing certain kinds of work at home, and other kinds of work at the office. But customers will still want a consistent, seamless experience whether they are in the office, at home, or somewhere in between. “Finding the right mix of technology and creating culture that enables growth and innovation is the real challenge,” he said.

Ueckermann also worries about the added security risks that come with the rapid changeover towards hybrid working. Everyone rushed to make remote work possible for their employees so they could continue to operate their businesses, but in doing so, exposed themselves to a whole new world of threats that they never had to consider before. “Cyberthreats are up 600%,” he said. “It’s important that we fix the gaps that we’ve created.”

Nevertheless, he is a major proponent of digital transformation — with the right approach. Digital transformation requires a full understanding of the processes before one can make a change. One needs to consider the long term over the short, and avoid reinventing workflows, replacing systems, and overhauling user experiences. “You want to find those broken processes and information silos,” he said.

For dealers just getting their feet wet in selling digital transformation solutions, you have to remember that you are embarking on your own journey, too. You’re not going to come out making massive deals and overhauling your customer’s entire business on the first deal. You start small, and adjacent to your core competency. Ueckermann identified the MFP as a great place to start your customers’ digital transformation and business process automation journey. Only after you’ve digitized your documents and critical business information can you use them in automated workflows.

The cloud

Cloud was growing in popularity before the onset of the pandemic, but adoption rates exploded after the initial lockdowns last March. For many businesses, the cloud was the best way to enable their employees to work remotely. Those who had made no, or very few, investments in the cloud before the pandemic, started to do so after the world shut down, said Ian Story, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft. Those who had already embarked on their cloud migration journey before the pandemic pushed their cloud initiatives into overdrive during.

On-premises solutions are being phased out in most environments where the cloud is an option. Alas, governments, highly regulated or secretive organizations, and the more cautious will continue to deploy some of their stack on-premises. But even they will rely on the cloud where they can.

The “meta” moment aside, Kofax Accelerate made a very strong case for how effectively you can communicate with customers in a virtual environment. The show went off without a hitch, connected tons of folks, and was an effective way for Kofax to communicate with their customers. If Kofax can rely on the virtual realm to meaningfully engage so many customers at once, what can you do?

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Patricia Ames is president and senior analyst for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. As a market analyst and industry consultant, Ames has worked for prominent consulting firms including KPMG and has more than 15 years experience in the imaging industry covering technology and business sectors. Ames has lived and worked in the United States, Southeast Asia and Europe and enjoys being a part of a global industry and community.