The execute stage of the digital transformation path is all about putting actions in place. Having understood what processes can be digitised and educating others in the company, getting management buy-in along the way, you now have the opportunity to prioritise processes and take action.
If the current organisational culture is to print everything no matter what, you’re going to need a great business case to change it.
One of the best ways to encourage behavior change is to give people more ownership and control. That’s not to say let everyone print what they like, but rather, make them aware of the targets they should be working towards and how to achieve them.
There will be times when you need to be more proactive. For example, you may need to build awareness of the reasons for change, as well as what will change and what the associated business benefits of digital transformation are.
Email, intranet content and e-learning programs can all help to spread the word. A simple online “cheat sheet” could summarize the “dos and don’ts” of printing, or present a decision tree or Q&A flowchart to help people resolve helpdesk-style questions, or make decisions on how and when to print.
Sometimes, it might even be necessary to offer people incentives to change. For example, you could award a prize to staff or teams who perform best against their goals. This is a basic, but too often forgotten, aspect of change management.
If people aren’t actually aware of how much or how often they print, the challenge of digitising paper processes is only made more difficult. Therefore, before people can change their printing behaviour, they need to be more aware of it.
Xerox’s Print Awareness Tool is designed to do exactly that. It uses the principles of “gamification” to appeal to people’s competitive instinct and make desired behavior something they actively want to do.
The tool uses a simple graphical interface to show users their print history, key stats and how they compare with their peer group, their department and the entire organization. A flower graphic provides simple, “at a glance” feedback on how they’re doing that month – as they print, the petals fall away. Finally, helpful hints suggest ways people could change their behavior further.
A change champion should be able to use their abilities and profile within the company to build awareness and build support for the project, carrying the digitisation message beyond IT.
They could be a department or team leader who wants to make their department more productive and efficient.
A change champion is the public face of your digitisation project within the organisation.
When considering who might be a good a change champion, here are some of the qualities that matter:
For digital transformation to take place in your company, you need to have the right buy-in from the management team. The more transformative your project, and the more you’re attempting to change, the more important management buy-in is.
To get management buy-in, it’s likely you’ll need to cover these three areas: technical, business and finance.
Given the nature of the project, it’s likely you already have technical support, meaning you still need financial and business support. For this, it’s best to approach someone with high-level business authority (for example a C-level executive) and someone with financial authority in the business.
Effectively, you need a manager from each affected line of business to support you and get a higher-level management buy-in to move the project forward. Initially, it makes sense to focus on departments or lines of business that are print-intensive and have high visibility – human resources, accounting and compliance are good examples.
Paper is still widely used in many businesses, in fact, as much as 55% of businesses still largely rely on paper. But why?
When important processes are paper-based, people can’t easily access information, and it’s harder to share that information across teams – especially when those teams are global, mobile or outsourced. Paper imposes unnecessary barriers between people and their work processes; or between different functions within the organization, creating “silo” systems. It’s inefficient, and it’s frustrating to work around, too.
This is sometimes known as the ‘people-to-paper API’, taking the idea from computing in which an API (application programming interface) is a gateway between two digital services that need to work together or share information. The better the API, the smoother the operation – but the API between people and paper is rarely that efficient.
If you were setting up your business from scratch today, would you design paper into your processes? (hopefully not)
As part of the transformation from paper to digital, we want to disrupt paper and remove it from important and currently inefficient processes.
Managed print service providers, such as Xenith, are working with organisations to digitise paper processes. MPS serves as a connection across documents, processes, information, and users. In the right hands, MPS is a platform for innovation and a path from paper to digital ways of working.
Despite the fact that organisations are looking for ways to remove paper from their processes, people still rely too heavily on paper as a part of day-to-day working and processes.
Here are some of the reasons people use paper (and the digital alternative):
Either to keep them safe permanently (archiving) or to remember them for later use
Digital alternative: Secure cloud storage that allows backup copies
Adding comments, feedback or proposed amendments, or signing them for legally binding purposes
Digital alternative: Many word processes allow comments and tracked editing to annotate documents. If you really like the handwriting effect, there are tablets on the market that you can use a stylus/digital pen for handwriting.
To Develop thinking by writing out ideas and drawing out diagrams
Digital alternative: Using document programs, presentation programs and even just notes, there are plenty of ways to develop thinking and store ideas
Either now or later, perhaps somewhere users can’t access a computer or other device
Digital alternative: This is actually one of the tricker things to digitise as some people just prefer reading a physical paper copy. The digital alternatives are there, but this is more of a culture change and finding a solution that's suitable for all.
To Share with other people, meeting members, project teams, partners or customers
Digital alternatives: Digital documents can easily be shared via email and even signed using many programs and apps. Collaborative working on live documents is also possible with tracked changes and amends.
"Most organisations are looking to take paper out of their business." (Kevin Conder, Driving Organisational Performance - Understand)
Although there are plenty of digital alternatives for why and how people use paper, sometimes a cultural change is needed to get people onboard. This might be done as part of the educate stage of the digital transformation journey but it will also need to be reinforced when actually executing a digital transformation strategy.
In most cases, digital transformation can’t be done overnight. It can be a long and time-consuming process that involves the action of offering digital alternatives, putting policies in place and persuading the team to adopt the new ways of working.
As some processes are simply too large or complicated to change quickly, consider just targeting one stage of a process first. Once that stage has been transformed, move on to the others.
It may be a slower route to digital transformation but it can reduce the risk of disrupting business processes.
Selecting one stage of the process to digitise first also allows you to come across the challenges early on that can be dealt with and solved for future digital transformation projects.Next Step keyboard_arrow_right
Identify three potential change champions or senior sponsors, and consider how and why they’d help or support your project.