The Less-Sexy Side of Digital Transformation
By Mike Raia Posted October 27, 2017
While much of the digital transformation discussion rightly focuses on the customer experience and becoming customer-centric, there is another, less sexy focus of the movement, which is on the internal operation of a business. Naturally, the ultimate goal of any business is customer value but getting to the last customer mile often requires significant improvements in how businesses operate behind the scenes, even when the impact on customers is less direct.
For instance, the methods employees use to share information, collaborate, move ideas forward and interact with executive levels are often opaque and inefficient. For example, a supervisor has an idea to restructure their team, which will require executive approval and some capital expense (new furniture, equipment, etc.), a new hire, and some kind of software investment. It's a reasonable idea with clear ROI.
The process from idea to implementation has numerous hurdles to leap. There are approvals from three different departments as well as the supervisor's boss. There is a plethora of information that needs to be acquired and shared. There will be emails, phone calls, meetings, and countless hours spent re-explaining what, when, who, and why. After giving it some thought, the supervisor comes to the conclusion that the path of least resistance is to forget the whole thing. The opportunity for innovation is lost.
Implementing or correcting internal processes is no different. Project managers need to plan, communicate, analyze, develop, prototype, test, implement, train, and measure new processes. This is a significant effort in the best situation. But when the ultimate goal is to improve a process that while greatly improving productivity, accuracy, and efficiency of internal resources, is without a clear customer or sales impact pushback may be greater from an organization's leadership.
While every organization and situation is unique, there are clear business benefits to standardizing and improving internal-facing processes. We wrote a guide about it that's free to download, but here are some key takeaways you can use when pitching the "beautification" of your internal processes with workflow automation software:
- Faster Transaction Processing
- Greater Employee Satisfaction
- Significant Error Reduction
- Faster, Audited Approvals
- Stricter Compliance
- Reduced IT Development
Companies with smart, sophisticated internal operations driven by automated workflow are ultimately better able to focus on customer happiness as employees are relieved of busywork and other draining activities and given more time for value-added work and creative thinking. That's a beautiful outcome.