Customers now expect every company to deliver products and services very fast. Many traditional organizations can’t meet these expectations but Customers are demanding from companies in many industries a radical overhaul of business processes. Intuitive interfaces, around-the-clock availability, real-time fulfillment, personalized treatment, global consistency, and zero errors—this is the world to which customers have become increasingly accustomed.
To meet these high customer expectations, companies must accelerate the digitization of their business processes. But they should go beyond simply automating an existing process. They must reinvent the entire business process, including cutting the number of steps required, reducing the number of documents, developing automated decision making, and dealing with regulatory and fraud issues.
The benefits are huge: by digitizing information-intensive processes, costs can be cut by up to 90 percent and turnaround times improved by several orders of magnitude.
In addition, replacing paper and manual processes with software allows businesses to automatically collect data that can be mined to better understand process performance, cost drivers, and causes of risk. Real-time reports and dashboards on digital-process performance permit managers to address problems before they become critical.
Companies in most industries can learn from the practices employed by firms that have done this successfully. Here are some of the factors that can help them :
1- Start at the end state and work back
Digitization often enables a process to be fundamentally reconfigured; for example, combining automated decision making with self-service can eliminate manual processes. Successful digitization efforts start by designing the future state for each process without regard for current constraints—say, shortening a process turnaround time from days to minutes.
2- Tackle the end-to-end customer experience
Digitizing select stages of the customer experience may increase efficiency in specific areas of the process and address some burning customer issues, but it will never deliver a truly seamless experience, and as a result may leave significant potential on the table. To tackle an end-to-end process such as customer onboarding, process-digitization teams need support from every function involved in the customer experience.
3- Build capabilities
Digitization skills are in short supply, so successful programs emphasize building in-house capabilities. The goal is to create a center of excellence with skilled staff that can be called upon to digitize processes quickly. Still, many times companies must search for talent externally to address the need for new skill sets and roles, such as data scientists or user-experience designers. Given its importance, the first managers selected to lead the transformation should be carefully chosen, well trusted in the organization, and ready to commit for a long period of time. It is also important that the team has the skills needed to build the required technology components in a modular way so that they can be reused across processes, maximizing economies of scale.
4- Move quickly
Traditional IT-intensive programs deliver a return only at the end of the project, sometimes years after the project’s kickoff. Digitizing end-to-end processes one by one, however, can deliver improved performance in just three to five months.
Companies that digitize processes can improve their bottom lines and delight customers. The value at stake depends on the business model and starting point but can be estimated by allocating costs to end-to-end processes and benchmarking against peers. To kick-start the approach and build capabilities and momentum, organizations can undertake one or two pilots and then scale rapidly.