Is Your Business Future-Proof?
In general, the term "future-proof" refers to the ability of something to continue to be of value into the future. Future-proofing may sound like it requires a crystal ball to see into the future, but, I assure you there’s no fortune-telling required. If you stay ahead of the technology curve and workforce changes that are happening now, your business will be better able to minimize shocks and stresses as they develop in the future.
What this means is that you should maintain and upgrade your business infrastructures on a regular basis. While you don’t necessarily need to be the earliest adopter of new technology, it’s advisable to be in the first wave. By future-proofing legacy systems along with talent, companies can realize lasting success with today’s new wave of solutions, services, business models, markets and value propositions.
Unfortunately, too many companies take a “wait and see” attitude. By holding back on acquiring new technologies and talent, while focusing only on close-at-hand projects, these companies get only incremental gains. They stop short of getting full benefit, even when they improve processes, automate tasks and connect operations. This stop-gap approach won’t future-proof their businesses for the ever-expanding digital future.
Have a Digital Strategy
Let’s face it the world is digital and it’s not going back to analog. To move beyond incremental gains in today’s world, businesses must have a digital strategy. Digital strategy is the application of digital technologies to business models to form new differentiating business capabilities. Today, nearly all business strategy has some element of digital strategy in it. In the future, all business strategy will be digital strategy.
Understand what digital means for your company. Digital strategy focuses on using technology to improve business performance.
Choosing the Right Technology
A digital strategy requires digital information and data.
Organizations who have been “born digital” have the advantage when it comes to digital information, since much of their information has been created and is stored in digital form. However, unless they also have advanced technology that makes it easy to access and share the information, while incorporating it into daily processes, their advantage is limited.
Older, more established companies often have a combination of paper and electronic files with an over-reliance on paper-based processes, requiring electronic files to be printed out in order to be acted upon. This approach limits their efficiency and hampers customer service.
For paper-based and born-digital organizations a secure, robust cloud Electronic Document Management System should be the first step in their digital strategy.
- Paper-based companies, likely will need to digitize at least some of their paper files
- Some born-digital firms may already have an EDM. Their digital strategy should include a regularly scheduled review of their EDM to ensure that the technology it uses is up-to-date and meets all current security requirements.
Electronic Document Management
Organization should use a Cloud-based EDM. Mobility and remote access are crucial to today’s employees and customers. Fortunately, Cloud-based EDMs are cost-effective alternatives to older Document Management Systems that were maintained on internal enterprise servers that required extensive IT maintenance.
Business Process Automation (BPA)
Business Processes Automation (BPA) starts with a robust EDM. BPA is a systematic approach to improving and automating an organization's workflow to make it more effective, more efficient and adaptable. The goal of BPA is business process improvement to reduce human error and miscommunication and focus stakeholders on the requirements of their roles.
By creating business process rules within the EDM, documents move seamlessly from one person to another, as tasks are completed, reducing error and increasing efficiency. Advanced workflow mechanisms can manipulate content or signal external processes while these rules are in effect.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Today’s robotic automation is taking place in offices, businesses and organizations around the world.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) means that any work process that is definable, repeatable, and rules-based can be mapped out and assigned a software robot or “Bot” to manage the execution of that process, just as a human would. Humans simply monitor the performance of the robots, freeing the humans for more important tasks.
Artificial Intelligence (IA)
AI refers to the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
AI algorithms are not natively “intelligent.” They learn inductively by analyzing data.
Whether you want to cut costs and/or increase revenue, the power of Artificial Intelligence can be used to harness data, automate services, and improve workflow efficiency. AI is generating real value across industries, with businesses leveraging the technology at an unprecedented rate.
If your business is far behind the technology curve, it's time to prioritize digital changes in your organization. If you're well into the curve, then you just need to keep up and move further into digital technology. Regardless of where you are, in your digital strategy, our new white paper, Business Leaders’ Guide to Digital Transformation provides in-depth information from technology experts to help move you on your way.