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  • Writer's pictureDan Sheehan

Are Your Digital Transformation Efforts Doomed to Fail?

Companies are struggling to make digital transformation a reality. Study after study shows that the vast majority of digital transformation projects either fail completely or deliver much lower-than-expected ROI. A 2020 study by the Boston Consulting Group demonstrates just how many digital transformation initiatives fall short of their intended goals – a staggering 70%!

No matter how diligently you plan or how big your budget is, it may seem like the odds are stacked against you. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

At the core of these failures is a singular focus on the "customer-facing" part of the business process being transformed. The customer-facing portion of the process – the “request” – is streamlined and automated, but the rest of the process, taking place behind the scenes – the “fulfillment” – is still a manual, time-sucking, disorganized mess.

For example, you’ve spent a ton of time and money transforming the customer experience. It’s easier and more efficient than ever for customers to buy your product or secure your service. You’ve revamped and streamlined order placement, payment, and post-sales service and support.

But there has been no transformation whatsoever to the tasks that the customer doesn’t see. Activities related to product design, manufacture and delivery may not be directly visible to your customers, but inefficiencies and delays in those processes will still have a very negative impact on a customer's experience with your company.

Why Complex Documents Matter

Failure to address "back-office" tasks and processes will create countless obstacles on your road to digital transformation. Problems will be further exacerbated when complex documents are involved. Complex documents are needed to memorialize business agreements and outcomes – most often if your organization sells very complex or intangible services.

The current state of complex document creation is less than desirable. Long creation cycles and manual tasks and reviews drain limited resources and create bottlenecks. Poor visibility and auditability create security and compliance risks. And errors, such as missing or inaccurate data, can put your business transactions at risk, resulting in delayed or lost revenues.

In spite of these challenges and the importance of complex documents in moving critical business transactions forward, document collaboration and generation are almost always overlooked during digital transformation initiatives.

Yet the very nature of complex documents makes them ripe for digitization. They’re highly flawed, relying on information that resides in disparate unstructured formats like emails, phone conversations and spreadsheets. Additionally, individual judgement and knowledge – which is often unreliable and inconsistent – is the primary means of controlling process flow, notifications, document inclusion and document construction.

Ignoring these processes during a digital transformation effort means that companies will continue to waste time and money, and the quality of their documents will continue to suffer. And that will, undoubtedly, impact the bottom line.

The Path to Digital Transformation Success is Clear

No matter how seamless your customer-facing order process is, customer satisfaction and loyalty – and ultimately, revenues and profits – are bound to take a hit due to the delays and issues caused by outdated, cumbersome manual processes taking place behind the scenes.

In order to truly realize value from your digital transformation efforts, you need to streamline your processes from end-to-end – not just the parts that your customers see - and create operational efficiency. Failure to include back-office or “fulfillment” tasks will diminish your returns and put your initiative on the road to failure.

And no digital transformation strategy is complete unless document generation is included. Automating and streamlining the collaboration and generation of the critical documents that drive successful execution of revenue-generating transactions will ensure you get the most value from digital transformation.

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