As private and public organisations move to adopt and implement the latest technologies to build out their information management ecosystems and digitally transform their operational processes, there are challenges to be overcome in extending the capabilities—once confined to the desktop—beyond the corporate walls to comprehensive transactional processes. It is also important to remember that “digital transformation” involves more than just technology.
How would you best characterise your organisation’s journey in relation to Digital Transformation?In a recent research project by AIIM titled “2017 State of Information Management: Are Businesses Digitally Transforming or Stuck in Neutral?”, we found that many of our respondents’ digital transformation journeys are underway. Twenty-four percent report that many of their operational processes have been digitised, with twenty-six percent indicating that they are in fact taking a more holistic approach to digital transformation. (Figure 1) For these respondents, the focus is on integrating their projects across departments, creating a more integrated information ecosystem and breaking down the information silos.
Putting the pieces together
Information management practices are essential to digital transformation and should be considered part of the overall operations of a business organisation. The same as planning a journey, there must be a plan and procedural guidelines related to information throughout the lifecycle—from creation to disposition. Many organisations miss the mark or fall short by placing this at a lower level than technology, or not on an equal level as records, since non-records are often considered works in progress and not a risk factor.
Additionally, in order for our digital transformation journey to proceed, there must be some sort of infrastructure in place to help us keep on track and reach our destination—this is our information ecosystem. It can be made up of on-premise systems, cloud applications, and extends our reach through mobile device use. Each organisation will see things differently and the considerations they have will differ even between departments. Business requirements are really where this discussion should focus and the functional considerations should be driven from them.
Digital transformation is a journey that must be planned. There should be a clear vision of the end goal or destination with mile markers put in place to guide the way. It is also imperative that business organisations take a holistic approach to digital transformation by not relying on technology alone for their success. People, process, business rules, and technology must be aligned to carry out the vision, support project goals, reach mile markers, and engage the workforce and user community to improve adoption rates.
If unsure of where to begin or how to begin, seek professional assistance and/or training to help determine the right path. Look to current suppliers and service providers for guidance. Turn to professional associations and peers to find advice and training that will provide best practices. It is better to take a step forward and learn, than to take no step and fall behind.
About the author
Bob Larrivee is Vice President and Chief Analyst of AIIM Market Intelligence. Internationally recognised as a subject matter expert, and thought leader with over thirty years of experience in the fields of information and process management, Bob is an avid techie with a focus on process improvement, and applying advanced technologies to solve business problems, improve business processes, and automate business operations.