When new digital technology brings value to multiple areas of your business, it makes your return on investment even sweeter. Yet a recent report from Xerox reveals that less than 50 percent of IT decision-makers currently use processes that are mostly or fully digitized. Even so, of those 600 IT decision-makers, 85 percent could readily identify workplace processes that were ripe for automation. Automation technology cuts out manual, time-consuming steps and frees your business from bloated processes that perpetuate inefficiency and cost. Investing in automation solutions can ultimately lead the way to greater productivity and digital transformation.

Here are four tips for businesses seeking to introduce a greater degree of automation into their workflows:

Bite-size chunks: Take some time to plan your transformation before leaping right in. Looking at every process can be overwhelming, however when you break the workflows down into bite-size, more achievable chunks, it’s easier to find areas that can be optimized and improved. This allows organizations to focus on developing a smart, strategic plan that will guarantee successful transformation in a specific area. From there, you can bring that tactical thinking and learning to different parts of the business.

Slow and steady wins the race: Many businesses look for fast fixes, but these band-aid solutions aren’t long-term. It’s imperative to dig deep to find the root of a problem and identify ways to solve it, versus fixing part of it quickly. Putting time into finding a solution that is customizable to meet your organization’s workflows and goals will ensure it truly solves inefficiencies. Leadership needs to understand the challenges and commit to alleviating them. Employees must be engaged throughout the process to ensure the solution and new processes will work seamlessly within their day-to-day job.

There is no ‘I’ in team: Not all CIOs are experts on automation. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to seek out consultative partners to identify the bottlenecks and opportunities. These partners can suggest a variety of solutions to meet unique business needs. A good partner should have a roadmap for digital and paper integration, as well as workflow automation expertise to streamline processes, and integrate paper and digital workflows. Additionally, they should work with you to develop transition and training plans for a smooth transformation. Since organizational workflows typically center around business-critical data, it’s also important that your vendor continues to analyze your business environment and information to make additional recommendations for further process optimization. After the solution is deployed, the work doesn’t stop and your vendor should continue to help you evolve.

Invest in agile: When selecting a solution to turn inefficiencies into opportunities, make sure it is adaptable and can map back to your business’s custom processes and operations. Automation technology should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Every business has different processes and procedures in place, and the solution should be personalized to fit into the workflow seamlessly. Lastly, business processes change over time, and you don’t want to invest in technology that can’t change as your company evolves.


About the Author: Joseph Hanania is senior vice president of Global Document Outsourcing at Xerox.

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