Published on March 20th, 2017 | by Louella Fernandes0
Bridging the paper and digital gap: why MPS providers are driving digital strategies
By Louella Fernandes • on March 20th, 2017 • in Articles • 734 views • No Comments
Organisations that are ahead of their peers in the digitisation journey are outperforming them in profitability, customer loyalty and employee engagement, according to Quocirca’s Digital Maturity Index. A digital transformation strategy that is geared towards improving process efficiency across both paper and digital information pays dividends – but achieving this level of maturity is a challenge. How do you know what technologies and delivery models to adopt, for example?
Leading managed print service (MPS) providers are exceptionally well positioned to become an organisation’s strategic partner in the drive to accelerate the digitisation process. Their offering has evolved beyond its traditional roots of print, into broader solutions and services that automate business processes and optimise workflows.
Re-defining the paper and digital boundaries
Successful digital transformation extends beyond simply digitising paper documents and paper-intensive processes such as invoicing. This is a vital starting point, of course. The use of scanning and capture technologies increases operational efficiency, reduces storage costs, and enables rapid access to timely and relevant information.
A mature approach must broaden out from digitising paper, however, to the optimisation of information management through business process automation. This may require the complete re-engineering of a process through the leveraging of workflow automation technologies and platforms. Automating information-intensive processes enables organisations to realise valuable wider benefits such as improved collaboration and an enhanced customer experience.
The enduring paper trail
Despite almost 70% of organisations recognising digitisation as a key element of an information management strategy, businesses remain reliant on paper-based processes. Almost 60% of those surveyed for the Quocirca Digital Maturity Index report that up to 30% of their processes use paper, with the most cited reason being the need for physical signatures.
In addition to being inefficient and costly, this dependence on paper leaves an enterprise open to security vulnerabilities and compliance issues.
Where are we on the digitisation journey?
More than 80% of companies believe increasing business process efficiency to be a very important factor in driving digitisation. Almost two-thirds have already digitised several business processes, with the most common areas being records management (41%), claims processing (32%) and accounts payable/receivable (30%).
The most mature organisations in the survey – those Quocirca identified as ‘digital leaders’ – combine a clear digital transformation strategy with investment in business and workflow automation tools.
Implementing integrated, enterprise-wide policies to control and manage both paper and digital information is essential. While 44% of businesses have done this, only 15% report that paper and digital workflow integration is very effective.
The other key driver of digital maturity is the implementation of workflow solutions which enable more effective information sharing, collaboration and efficiency. The digital leaders in Quocirca’s survey have invested in a range of solutions such as e-invoicing, e-signatures and document capture.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for digital transformation, and it requires significant cultural change for some. Business process automation typically demands strong employee and executive commitment, supported by governance and change management. The biggest challenge is securing employee commitment, cited by 46% of respondents as their main hurdle. Justifying investment is another common obstacle, resulting in silos of automation around the business which cannot be integrated.
The sheer scope of digital transformation projects is a major challenge. Each organisation must take action across a number of areas, including paper digitisation, automating back-office applications, information management and collaboration, and implementing new digital customer engagement models.
This complexity is driving enterprises to look for partners that can support the entire digital transformation journey, augmenting their strategic capabilities and enabling full business process automation by implementing solutions that can be integrated with existing infrastructure.
Their breadth and depth of experience gives managed print service (MPS) providers an edge as a trusted and strategic partner for long-term digital transformation. Partnering with an MPS provider brings organisations deep technical expertise, best practice, scale and flexibility and best-in-class service levels.
A strategic partnership that builds maturity
MPS is an established approach to reducing the cost, complexity and risk associated with an unmanaged print infrastructure. Leading providers have extended their capabilities to encompass broader information management and business and workflow automation offerings, including software and services.
This gives them the unique advantage of being able to provide a strategic, holistic assessment of the complete information lifecycle – both paper and digital – and to recommend opportunities for automation.
Drawing from their extensive solutions portfolios, they can then provide tools and software to improve workflow efficiency. Through proprietary technology and strategic partnerships, they are able to offer solutions and services that cover most areas of digital transformation – document capture, processing, workflow integration and automation, content management and customer communications.
Almost half of the businesses in the Quocirca Digital Maturity Index survey currently use an MPS provider for digitisation/workflow automation, with a further 32% planning to do so. The findings reveal that those which use MPS already are ahead of the curve when it comes to their digitisation and business process automation strategy: 77% reported that they were effective in integrating paper and digital workflows compared to 56% of those not using MPS.
Organisations that succeed in accelerating their digital transformation strategy can significantly boost business value, profitability and efficiency. There is a big opportunity for businesses in the UK to improve their maturity in this area: 40% of US organisations are ‘digital leaders’, compared to just 16% of UK organisations.
A business must evaluate potential MPS partners on the basis that they can support ongoing digital transformation and continuous innovation. Providers should be assessed on requirements including implementation expertise, commitment to SLA quality and scalability of offering. Ideally, they will have a broad spectrum of third-party partnerships with joint technology integration to ensure interoperability, and use analytics to identify opportunities for continuous improvement.
MPS providers, meanwhile, should perform a more proactive role in supporting digital transformation. They need to build the capability to provide a strategic roadmap for organisations – one which involves benchmarking and maturity assessments, and the detailed evaluation of business processes to prioritise business needs. They should offer a flexible, modular and industry-focused portfolio of solutions that supports a phased approach. Above all, MPS providers must be able to align with the customer’s business strategy approach, and retain a sharp focus on delivering business outcomes and value.
Read more in Quocirca’s Digital Transformation Report