5 things we have learned from the digital transformation in the last 5 years

What has 5 years of practice taught us about digital transformation?

For years, digital transformation has been an established term beyond the IT world. Reason enough to take a closer look at what has happened in practice since the emergence of this ongoing trend and what role intelligent technologies play – and will play in the future.

Customer expectations have changed considerably over the last five years. Today’s customers expect personalized answers in real time, greater ease of use and easily accessible digital and mobile channels. As customer expectations have changed, so have companies’ strategies for digital transformation and their understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Between digitizing documents in real time, leveraging mobile capabilities, empowering employees with new technologies and accelerating business automation initiatives, organizations in a variety of industries have evolved their digital transformation strategies to meet a changing world. Here are five of the most important lessons we have learned from digital transformation over the past five years.

1. Desktop automation is not equal to digital transformation

We have left behind the days when desktop automation was synonymous with digital transformation. Today, digital transformation initiatives are holistic. They encompass different workflows, connect different systems and are integrated across the enterprise. They also encompass more demanding use cases that impact an organization in business-critical ways, from customer engagement, financial operations and compliance to the customer experience.

Digital transformation has evolved from isolated, ad hoc and small-scale automation projects to initiatives that are more strategic and impact every facet of the business.

2. Mobile channels are no longer just a “Nice-to-Have”

While mobile offerings were a luxury five years ago, they are now an indispensable channel. Many organizations used to view mobile services as a kind of nice-to-have or as an offering aimed at a younger generation of technically savvy consumers. But now, where contactless operations are the norm, offerings that include mobile capture and mobile onboarding are a must to meet the needs of the new Digital First consumer.

From check deposit to application, mobile services can make a huge contribution to convenience, accessibility and simplicity. Companies that leverage mobile capabilities and seamlessly connect them to back-end systems are well positioned to improve the customer experience and increase customer loyalty.

3. Artificial intelligence has created new possibilities

… especially new possibilities for Process Mining and Process Discovery

Five years ago, it was not uncommon for an organization’s process identification methods to be defined through one-on-one interviews, first-hand observations and manual analysis. It was not untypical for managers to map processes using post-it notes.

Now, however, companies are turning to machine learning and predictive analysis to discover and analyze their processes more accurately. According to a Forrester study conducted in the first quarter of 2020, 28% of companies plan to expand the use of process mining and process intelligence technologies. It has become clear that such technologies are needed for reliable, real-time and data-driven process understanding.

Process intelligence technologies have made process discovery and analysis fast and comprehensive, enabling organizations to make strategic, fact-based decisions rather than simply relying on assumptions in their digital transformation initiatives.

4. Document processing takes place in real time

In the past, many companies believed that it was enough to simply digitize content. It is now common knowledge that digitization is only the beginning. Organizations also need to know how to generate the greatest value from their digitized documents, including how to transform unstructured content into data that is tangible and can lead to visible business results.

Today, document processing takes place in four phases. The first is digitization, which involves the elimination of paper and the digitization of archives and incoming data. The second and third stages involve classification, extraction and optimization: this involves the reduction of manual activities and the use of machine learning technologies capable of continuously learning from the content within documents. To reach the fourth level, it is necessary to integrate intelligent automation into business-critical workflows in such a way that continuous processing by content intelligence tools is possible.

Advances in technology have made document processing a real-time process rather than a function that runs separately from core workflows. With the capabilities of content intelligence technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and optical character recognition (OCR), document capture and processing is no longer an afterthought, but is now integrated directly into processes. Document capture and processing is now increasingly taking place directly during customer interaction – where fast and seamless access to data is essential.

5. Business users play a greater role 

The introduction of digital transformation is no longer something for technically savvy people alone. Thanks to no-code and low-code solutions, users in everyday business life will be able to play a greater role in digital transformation initiatives. Low-code solutions make it easy to set up, implement and optimize projects while working with a digital workforce, even without programming skills or technical experience. These solutions provide greater independence from the IT department, shifting the focus to centers of excellence and empowering employees to use advanced technologies to transform their organizations.

The outlook for the next 5 years

Intelligent technologies will continue to play an important role in digital transformation strategies and influence the way we work. They will also impact the way we identify and execute high-value initiatives that have the greatest impact on operational efficiency, service innovation and customer loyalty. Organizations that continuously embrace new technologies and develop integrated and holistic digital intelligence strategies will be in the best position to become market leaders over the next five years.

    Markus Pichler ist Vice President of Sales Europe und verantwortlich für die Entwicklung von Lösungsstrategien für den direkten und indirekten Vertrieb bei ABBYY. Markus verfügt über mehr als 20 Jahre Erfahrung in der Softwarebranche mit Fokus auf ECM, Informationserfassungs- sowie Daten- und Dokumentenmanagementprojekten. Er ist Experte auf dem Gebiet der Digitalen Transformation und bei der Analyse und Automatisierung traditioneller Geschäftsprozesse mithilfe KI-basierter Technologien.

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