What steps can lead to digital transformation?

by Daniel J. Power

Digital transformation is an ongoing and evolving process of change that is focused on generating, analyzing and using digital data to improve the overall functioning and success of an organization. Organizations are at various stages of adoption, innovation and implementation. Digital transformation maturity refers to how much progress has been made by a specific organization. Sadly, the endpoint is a moving target for most organizations. What seemed remotely possible a few years ago is often now taken for granted as a standard or routine change. Managers do need some benchmarks, but transformation is a journey more than a static goal. Anticipate the possibilities.

Solis (2016) identified six distinct stages he had observed: 1) Business as Usual, 2) Present and Active, 3) Formalized, 4) Strategic, 5) Converged, and 6) Innovative and Adaptive. His report advocates "six key elements within the organization that must undergo simultaneous transformation, Analytics, Customer Experience, Governance and Leadership, People and Operations, Technology Integration, Digital Literacy."

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) company Laserfiche developed a 5 step model to help companies adopt technologies to manage information, automate and optimize processes, and ultimately transform their organizations. Many other vendors of technology products that might potentially help transform how a company does business have also suggested digital transformation steps, phases, life cycles or approaches. Kolander (2017), product marketing manager at Laserfiche, noted "The concept of the digital workplace has been around for some time, and the definition continues to evolve with new and improved technologies." Let's examine the Laserfiche Digital Transformation Model.

The intent of the model is to help managers "assess their organizationís current state, and identify and implement the relevant solutions that eventually lead to an innovative digital workplace." The 5 steps include:

1) Digitize: Convert paper into an electronic filing cabinet for digital archiving and retrieval.

2) Organize: Categorize documents and manage information in a secure, central location.

3) Automate: Digitize processes through electronic forms to improve accountability.

4) Streamline: Gain visibility into operations and increase efficiency of processes across the organization.

5) Transform: Drive innovation by leveraging analytics to align processes with business goals.

Sadly, digital transformation is about much more than eliminating paper. That strategy is meaningless unless managers have a vision for the transformed enterprise. Managers must have some idea about needed changes in the current business model and processes that must change to support the new business model. Paper is a cost, but the real benefit comes from using digital data to help make better decisions.

Laserfiche did develope an assessment tool for managers to use to evaluate progress on the "digital transformation journey". Some of the questions raise issues that are worth thinking about and answering. Especially useful questions are starred ** in the following list:

1. Do you have a content strategy to digitize your documents?

2. Have you eliminated paper filing cabinets by storing your documents digitally?

** 3. Do you have a disaster recovery plan for your information?

** 4. Does your digitization process capture and extract keywords, while automatically filing documents into their final location?

** 5. Can your employees easily retrieve documents from a digital repository?

6. Do you have one secure and centralized digital content repository?

** 7. Have you automated your business processes to minimize time-consuming and manual steps?

8. Are your digital files maintained in accordance with a records retention schedule?

** 9. Have you integrated your content and process systems with one another?

** 10. Do you have visibility into your business processes and activities?

** 11. Do you have a sound data governance plan to ensure security and quality of data?

** 12. Do you have strategic insight on how to effectively utilize your resources and optimize employee performance?

** 13. Can you electronically analyze past data to systematically predict future outcomes?

** 14. Have you aligned your content management and process automation strategies with your organizational goals?

Have you become an industry leader by implementing innovative and technologically advanced process solutions?


Kolander, C. (2017), "Digital Transformation's Increasingly Important Role," Q&A at ECM Connection at URL

Solis, B. (2016), "The Six Stages of Digital Transformation," April, at URL

Last update: 2017-11-11 06:57
Author: Daniel Power

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