Digital transformation is something we’re going to be hearing a lot about in 2020. For many organisations, the conversation has shifted from why we need to, to what are the steps we can take given current challenges. These hurdles include a weakening local economy, deteriorating global conditions, and greater uncertainty than ever before.

As such digital transformation may not be an undertaking that many organisations can muster at this stage, but Werner Engelbrecht, GM at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa, believes that being able to manage information across the enterprise is an imperative.

“This idea of ‘digital transformation’ – especially in the finance sector – has gained significant momentum over the past years, to the point that it seems like that’s all we talk about these days. In my experience however, many South African businesses don’t know how to start going about it. They talk about it, sure, but there is very little commensurate action,” he explains. 

Greater access to information

So where to start? For Engelbrecht unsurprisingly, the first port of call is the digitisation of documents.

“The core idea is sound: to use digital services to improve efficiencies, refine processes, identify unnecessary expenditures, and really just refine everything a business does by using the right tools in the right places. It’s done in order to keep doing what they do, only better, faster, easier, for the benefit of customers, staff, management, and shareholders alike,” he enthuses.

“The digitisation of documents is a particularly easy example of how a document solutions company can help. By making all documents required inside a business, digital, and allowing for the fast and easy retrieval of those documents from an online repository that can be accessed from anywhere, there’s no chance to lose or mis-place anything. There’s no time lost in locating specific ones, either, everyone wins,” Engelbrecht points out.

Along with the savings in time, which itself will result in cost reductions, the Kyocera MD says the digitisation of documents could prove a real game changer for those who choose or need to work remotely. He recalls several instances in his own life where travelling required being able to access important documents when he wasn’t desk bound.

Demystifying automation 

Shifting focus to some of the tools that Kyocera has on offer, he notes that automation has its role to play in the digitisation journey of organisations.

“While every business’s processes and data are unique, Kyocera has added value to the digitisation journey, and we have the tracking tools and software capabilities with which to do that. By using products that have a proven track record, we focus on finding inefficiencies in any business’s processes and systems, and then we automate, improve, and digitise them to show a definite return on investment, almost right away,” says Engelbrecht.

He also acknowledges that many within an organisation may be fearful of what automation will result in, but savvy firms need to look at automation as an opportunity to bring much needed skills to the fore, as well as retain their current employees.

“I’ve found that automating processes offers staff the opportunity to be upskilled and redeployed into other areas of the business, usually into positions that are more ‘human’ than ‘data-entry’. It’s as much a win for employees as it is for the business,” he enthuses.

Getting compliant

One of the other considerations, which will become increasingly important moving forward, is compliance, according to Engelbrecht.

For South Africans in particular this means the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA), which is scheduled to commence later this month, and leaves a year for local organisations to get their proverbial houses in order from a data regulation perspective.

“The piece of legislation which stipulates exactly how data must be stored both from a sovereignty and a personal privacy perspective, with stiff penalties for non-compliance. Compliance is therefore very important to get right, and it’s a pain point that keeps CIOs, CTOs and CFOs awake at night – they know they must become compliant, and that digital tools can help them do that, but they don’t necessarily know where to start,” he says.

“Thanks to our own EMEA journey to GDPR compliance, my answer to clients is ‘let’s partner on this’,” he adds.

Taking the first step

Ending off, Engelbrecht notes that those firms wanting to begin their digital transformation journeys need to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve with this process, and keep in mind that the human element is something that will remain crucial for any thriving business.

“If the thought of digital transformation is something that’s on your mind, but you’re unsure of where to start, find an organisation that offers the right tools, has the experience, and the skills, to help improve any document flow throughout the business,” stresses Engelbrecht.

“We recommend aiming to improve lives and business by introducing new efficiencies, whilst not taking jobs or making people redundant. In fact, automation can be thought of as increasing that human touch in organisations,” he concludes.

If you’re interested in starting the digital transformation or digitisation conversation with Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa, you can contact the firm here.

[Image – Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash]