We all know that giving customers what they want – even if they have to find it themselves – is the fastest route to customer satisfaction. So how does the average business create the seamless customer experience epitomised by Amazon et al? It all comes down to “digitisation” yet many of us still struggle to know what this is exactly. In this blog, we look at the 5 key elements of a digitisation platform and provide an overview of the benefits.
Whether you’re checking your bank balance online, reviewing your gas/electricity consumption or filling out a mortgage application, you’re doing a job that someone used to do for you. (Remember the days when you called the bank to get your balance read over the phone?)
No matter whether you’re viewing data (checking your balance) or painstakingly entering it yourself (in the case of a mortgage application) , we’ve come to accept that self-service is simply the fastest and most convenient way of getting things done.
And of course this didn’t happen by magic. These products and services have only been made possible through a company’s dedication to delivering the “optimal customer experience” which in turn requires re-engineering processes. So what are the key elements of a digitisation platform?
- A Digitisation platform does everything that workflow and automation did.
The idea of turning analogue (paper, manual) processes into electronic digital ones is not new (we’ve been doing it since the 90s) yet remains fundamental to the success of a company’s digitisation initiative. Not only does automation cut costs, it reduces inefficiencies and errors. Workflow – the idea of adding tools such as notifications, triggers and reminders – to ensure work takes place at the right time, by the right people, is also key. A little context:
In the days before workflow and automation, you had to remember to produce an update, and to carry it out. Workflow prompts you to carry out that update/task. Automation takes this a step further by sending the update for you. Automatically generated text alerts from your bank show the benefits – both back office and end user – of automation in action.
- A Digitisation platform incorporates electronically held documents.
Reducing the number of documents needed within a process is another key element of digitisation. An Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) function therefore allows documents to be created, captured, stored and retrieved electronically. These may exist as standalone systems for archiving files and documents, integrated into a transaction-based back office software (often to streamline invoice processing), or as a Business Process Management system. When combined with workflow and automation, the enterprise-wide EDMS becomes a key element of the digitisation effort, enhancing communication, providing central storage and removing the need to email information between systems.
- A Digitisation platform provides electronic records management.
Records management covers the process of managing a company’s records from creation to disposal. Not all documents are records, although they often are. A record can be created (web site content) or received (application for a loan application).
A digitisation platform will use technologies to connect disparate records, improve access to them and alternatively tighten compliance over who has visibility over what information.
- A Digitisation platform enables customers and suppliers to interact.
The ability to download payslips from a central portal, submit expenses or holiday or update your personal details – these are all great examples of self-service in action. A digitisation platform takes this a step further by enabling customers and suppliers not only to access data held in business processes, but to interact with it as well. So as customers, we’re able to update our accounts data online, view our energy usage as opposed to phoning up about it, apply for a mortgage and other types of loan without speaking to anyone.
On the supplier side, a self-serve digitisation platform can provide a secure central portal where suppliers can submit bids and upload invoices (all in a format of course that makes it easy for the customer to process). These are simple examples yet illustrate how digitisation removes the one-sided nature of business relationships and empowers the supply chain to deliver a more competitive service.
- Digitisation platforms transform how we view data.
The art of automation – replacing spreadsheets etc with electronic software – automatically delivers a wealth of information into the business which can be gathered and harnessed for business insight. With digitisation, this benefit is extended across every process, document and record, providing an end-to-end view of what is happening in the business.
Instead of anecdotal information, the digitisation platform provides hard-evidence, real-time reports and dashboards which can be interrogated according to the type of information needed by the end user.
Key benefits of a digitisation platform
By digitising information and super-charging our processes, our customers and suppliers get more than a nice new interface to our website.
- We’re able to cut how long our processes take, and reduce the time we spend on tasks within them.
- We increase transparency, and optimise positive outcomes.
- We share best practice and increase collaboration. And most of all, we create happier customers.
How can I digitise my business processes?
The good news is that digitisation isn’t just for the Amazons and the John Lewis’s of our world. In fact, there’s a new breed of software designed to do everything we discuss in this article – and it needn’t cost the earth. To learn how LEAP can transform your processes for the digital age, check out our Introduction to LEAP or get in touch to book a demo.