SER Blog  Innovation & Technology

The new digital normal: Strategies & solutions moving ahead

Julia Pedak

Social distancing rules are still in place that make it difficult for employees to return to the office. However, many employees have become accustomed to working remotely – an option that was not widespread at many companies until just recently. This is the new normal, and it is proving successful. More and more companies plan to support working from home. Why? Because employees are often more productive and flexible when working remotely. To ensure this all works, companies have to create the right conditions so that employees anywhere can access information remotely, work on processes, and collaborate with colleagues and business partners regardless of their location. This presents new challenges for companies, and calls for new strategies and solutions.

New Normal

Teams meet virtually, employees work with vendors and communicate with clients online and digitally, and everyone is working from home. None of this is new anymore. In the past few months, the digitalization of these areas has increased rapidly due to social distancing requirements. Today, digital is the new normal. However, many companies still have quite a bit of catching up to do. Companies that had already digitalized their processes before 2020 were faster to adapt to new conditions, enabling employees to work from the home, and thereby ensuring business continuity. The attitude that “We've always done it this way” not only proved inadequate – it simply was no longer workable. Companies in the early stages of digital transformation were also forced to quickly find solutions for remote, digital work to keep their business operational.

Now is the time to take the next step and build on this moment. By pursuing a digital strategy for your business, you not only accommodate your employees who have discovered the advantages of working remotely, you also have an opportunity to better position your company competitively for future “normal” times. To benefit the most from this digitalization trend, we recommend that you first assess your current situation.

Reassess your digitalization level

Were employees in their home offices unable to work as productively as you would have liked, because they could not access information? How much paper does your company use, and have paper-based processes made it harder to work remotely for logistical or legal reasons? Take a close look at your business processes to identify where the snags are and where solutions work. If your inbound invoice processing ran like clockwork, e.g. thanks to digital documents and automated workflows, this is an insight you can build on: Can other processes such as inbound mail processing be automated in order to quickly provide new documents to employees digitally? What about electronically editing, managing and archiving documents? There is also potential here to provide information in processes – regardless of location – and make your workflows more efficient.

10 questions to help you assess your digitalization level:

  1. Can employees securely access all the information they need for their work from anywhere?
  2. How quickly do you provide paper mail to employees working outside the office?
  3. How many processes are still paper-based, making it difficult to work outside the office, e.g. for logistical or compliance reasons?
  4. Where are there information silos that could be removed or connected with each other so that employees can quickly find and edit work on information across departments in a traceable way?
  5. Does your company have a cross-departmental information management system that supports secure and transparent collaboration between departments and on in interdisciplinary teams?
  6. Do you have collaboration solutions in place for working together and sharing information with customers and business partners?
  7. Can employees participate in all business processes regardless of location or does your company have internal barriers to working globally?
  8. Do your digitized business processes experience interruptions, e.g. when changing business applications?
  9. How high is the willingness of employees to work digitally? Has this changed recently?
  10. How quickly can you roll out new digital solutions or adapt or expand existing ones when requirements change?

If you look closely at your business processes based on these questions, you will quickly find the areas where you can take steps towards improving your company’s level of digitalization. The next question to ask yourself is which strategies and solutions will help you best achieve your objectives in the current challenging situation.

Digitalization in the new normal

The past weeks and months have left no company untouched. However, this time has also had a positive impact despite the many challenges: Working digitally and at home have received an unprecedented boost that companies now seek to extend. According to Gartner, 74% of the CFOs surveyed are now planning for more employees to work permanently from home in the post-COVID 19 era. This strategy aims to reduce the costs of on-site work. It has also been found that employees working from home are often far more productive than in the office. This is especially true, for example, for employees who are able to use ECM solutions such as eFiles and automated workflows that connect information, provide it in business processes, streamline these processes, and thereby reduce manual, paper-based activities. In the future, solutions such as these will be more widespread or extended into further company areas.

3 solutions to boost digitalization

Yet, even as the current situation slowly eases, few companies will be able to finance long-term and resource-intensive projects after this challenging period. To quickly digitalize business processes, they will need solutions that can be implemented immediately – without extensive planning or internal IT resources. We see three viable solutions here:

1. Virtual workspaces

During the remote work period, have your employees struggled to transparently work on and share documents – and it doesn't function much better in the office? With virtual workspaces such as the Doxis Universal Workspace you can quickly correct this situation. This SaaS solution enables you to immediately save and work on documents in a structured manner in personal workspaces. With integrated version management, you can keep an overview of all current and past versions of a document. In addition, all information in the workspace is protected against unauthorized access. Let’s say, for example, you want to discuss a quote with a colleague: He or she simply invites you to their workspace – and you always know who the information has been shared with. This secure solution is ideal for both the workplace and home office, as it is easily accessible via web browser. It also allows distributed teams to set up shared workspaces, e.g. in projects, and to work together in a transparent and secure manner – also with external experts, customers and business partners.

2. Ready-to-go templates for eFiles & workflows

In departments such as HR, Purchasing or Accounting, business processes are complex, but they also always run according to similar patterns. For recurring activities such as invoice reviews, purchase requisitions or recruiting, workflows can support employees in document steering and processing. Depending on the level of automation, they can even take over tasks completely and free up employees to, for example, work on staff development or improve supplier quality. Electronic files help you to manage the resulting documents in a structured manner and find them quickly, which in turn saves valuable time. You can roll out such workflows and eFiles quickly with the prepared templates. These are tailored precisely to the requirements of the respective department as well as specific industries, e.g. for insured files or account opening processes. With Doxis, the solution templates are also based on a low-code approach, which means that, for instance, HR files or approval processes for contracts can be easily configured and updated at a later time, also if your requirements change.

3. SaaS & managed services

Whether templates, workspace or individual services, e.g. for classifying inbound mail and extracting content from documents: You can deploy your software solutions even faster if you use software-as-a-service offerings that save time and effort in implementation. You also have flexibility here, if, for example, the number of users or the volume of documents changes. It is also easier to keep tighter control of your IT budget in unstable times. Managed services are another way to save IT resources. You can leave, for example, administration and maintenance to the software vendor. This not only reduces your workload, but with your vendor’s support and expertise, you also ensure that your IT always runs smoothly.

Stronger for the future

Take your experiences gained during this challenging time as an opportunity to identify and remove bottlenecks and process gaps. With the right digital solutions, you can respond immediately to urgent requirements, and you will be better prepared for changing requirements in the future. What’s more, you will be able to continuously improve your business processes. It is never too late to strengthen your position for the future!

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