Digital Transformation's Increasingly Important Role

Digital transformation

Catie Kolander, product marketing manager at Laserfiche specializing in the Laserfiche Digital Transformation Model and Laserfiche Cloud, recently took time to speak with ECM Connection about the digital workplace, what’s enabling it, and more.

Q: What do you consider to be the essential components of a successful digital workplace?

Kolander: The concept of the digital workplace has been around for some time, and the definition continues to evolve with new and improved technologies. The components of a digital workplace go beyond being paperless, and now include enhancing communication and collaboration among and across teams, and opening up new avenues for people to work smarter and drive innovation. A digital workplace is also dynamic and easily adaptable to address changing organizational needs and customer expectations.

Although goals may be different for each organization, Laserfiche President Karl Chan often uses this analogy: People who are facing these problems feel like they are wandering in the wilderness. If they looked down, however, they would see a well-traveled path — with people ahead of them and people behind them. To achieve the digital workplace, everyone needs more transparency, more accountability and more productivity. Everyone is on the same path to digital transformation.

Q: How does Laserfiche enable digital transformation?

Kolander: We realized that our customers had great intentions for adopting technologies to manage information, automate and optimize processes, and ultimately transform their organizations, but many of them were overwhelmed and needed guidance. Many executives and IT leaders are unsure of where to start and how far their organizations can go. That’s why we developed the Laserfiche Digital Transformation Model, a roadmap of progressive improvements — five phases — identifying the challenges and benefits associated with each phase.

The model enables companies to assess their organization’s current state, and identify and implement the relevant solutions that eventually lead to an innovative digital workplace.

Following are the five phases of the Laserfiche Digital Transformation Model:

  • Digitize: Convert paper into an electronic filing cabinet for digital archiving and retrieval.
  • Organize: Categorize documents and manage information in a secure, central location.
  • Automate: Digitize processes through electronic forms to improve accountability.
  • Streamline: Gain visibility into operations and increase efficiency of processes across the organization.
  • Transform: Drive innovation by leveraging analytics to align processes with business goals.

In addition to the model, we developed an assessment tool that organizations can use to find where they are in their digital transformation journey. Oftentimes, organizations are not entirely in one phase — the organization might strongly identify with Phase 3, for example, while some areas or departments may still be digitizing paper documents, so they are not completely out of Phase 1. The assessment at transform.laserfiche.com takes this into account. It illustrates how much progress users have made within each phase, and recommends the improvements necessary to transform the entire organization.

Q: What industries are slow to digitally transform and why?

Kolander: We find that organizations in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, are often slow to adopt new technology for managing information. The public sector, also, faces regulatory challenges and the prevalence of deeply ingrained legacy processes that can be difficult to change. Despite the perceived obstacles, these industries stand to benefit tremendously from digital transformation. Laserfiche, for instance, can help with seemingly complex challenges by helping organizations maintain compliance with regulatory requirements by offering records retention and audit trail capabilities. We’ve seen many customers start with a vision of going paperless, and through thoughtful change management initiatives, they’ve been able to achieve new cultures of efficiency and innovation.

Q: What industries are benefiting the most? Can you provide some customer examples?

Kolander: Organizations of all sizes and across every industry need to evaluate their operations and assess digital tools. Every day, customers are empowered to implement solutions and automate processes for significant results. Below are some examples.

  • The Texas A&M University System implemented a shared services framework for ECM technology to be used by 520,000 staff, faculty and students, replacing siloed document management systems. The new technology enables the organization to automate and optimize processes, more easily collaborate and leverage shared knowledge across campuses, offices and departments.
  • North County Transit District, a vital part of San Diego’s regional transportation network, moves more than 12 million passengers annually. The organization implemented a solution to centralize document storage and improve records management processes and procedures. By automating the review, approval and archival of important documents, the organization created an intuitive, accurate and efficient records management program and saved approximately $650,000 paper-related costs.
  • TN Americas, a division of AREVA Inc., is a leader in the American nuclear dry storage market, an industry in which audits are a regular part of operations and compliance is essential to workplace and environmental safety. Centralizing access to digital records and standardizing document classification enabled the organization to complete audits more efficiently and reclaim time for projects requiring employees’ engineering, technical and logistics expertise.

Q: Where do you see the ECM industry five years from now?

Kolander: The ECM industry is constantly undergoing its own transformation as diverse customer needs continue to evolve. Even the way we refer to ECM is changing, with many users realizing that they need more than a place to store digital content, but rather a platform for retention and dissemination of business knowledge, process automation and optimization, and compliance and risk management. The digital economy is forcing organizations to change quickly, requiring them to leverage data analytics for insight into how to better manage content and better navigate challenges as they arise.

In the same vein, as a provider of ECM technology, Laserfiche has evolved over time. We remain committed to our customers, however, and dedicate significant time and resources to understanding customer needs and challenges, and developing ways to enhance the user experience. This ultimately helps drive our innovation and sets the course for the future.