16 March 2022
Enterprise-wide digitization: The first step is the most important one
by Olaf Holst
During the Corona pandemic, many businesses had to face the painful reality that their various digital approaches, workflow solutions, and cloud strategies, when viewed in isolation, were of little use to them. This is because they frequently lacked the foundation for a comprehensive DMS strategy. Even for the most ambitious enterprise-wide digitization projects, the first step – transitioning away from paper documents – is critical.
This is supported by a recent Bitkom Research study. Between the end of September and the end of October 2021, over 600 businesses with 20 or more employees were surveyed by phone. According to the study, the Corona pandemic has sparked a digitization surge in the German economy: The topic has risen to the top of the agenda for 92 percent of respondents. This figure was still at 84 percent a year ago.
It’s worth taking a look at the specific measures that have been put in place: In addition to the introduction of digital tools to maintain communications and the purchase of appropriate hardware for the home office, many processes have been digitized. According to the study, 66 percent of respondents switched from paper to digital documents, and 60 percent switched from handwritten signatures to digital signatures.
These companies recognized that an employee in a well-equipped home office with fast internet can hardly work meaningfully if he or she cannot access a large portion of their documents because they are in paper form on the office shelf. To ensure that employees can continue to work in a location-independent, regulated manner in the future, companies must digitize paper documents and make them available for use in their business processes.
Simultaneously, they should collaborate with customers and suppliers to transition to a paperless mode of operation, or at the very least, scan and make paper available as soon as possible after it is received by the company. During this process conversion, it is worthwhile to consider solutions such as yuuvis® Momentum, which can provide additional savings potential in this area through machine learning, depending on the volume of documents generated on a daily basis.
For many years, technologies and best practices for mobile ways of working have been available. These have been deployed numerous times and are now nearly optimal in terms of efficiency and utility. Unfortunately, people still prefer to take the third step, such as transitioning processes from analog to digital, before the first, which is the nearly complete elimination of paper in the process. Then there is the possibility of frustration because the digital conversion is not really usable due to a lack of access to paper documents.
And yet, it would be so simple: First, get rid of the paper, then introduce digital back offices in a sensible, comprehensive manner, replacing all hand files, circulation folders, stamps, or whatever else has been treasured over the years, so that business processes can be digitally prepared and optimized in the end. Then, instead of being a frustrating project, digitization becomes a pleasure project that makes everyone’s life easier.