That’s one takeaway from a Xerox survey of 600 IT decision makers in large Canadian, USA and Western European organizations. The Digitization at Work report from Xerox shows the move from paper to digital processes is nearly upon us – however, many of those surveyed admit they may not be ready for it! The report found broad concern over paper-based processes, with cost (42%) and security (42%) cited as primary issues. About 40% of Canadian respondents said cost reduction was the prime reason for digitization, followed by improved data collection at 33%. Respondents predicted that an average of only 9% of key business operation processes will run on paper in the next two years.
But more than half (55%) of the respondents admitted that their organizations’ processes are still largely or entirely paper-based, and about one third (29%) are still communicating with end customers via paper, rather than email or social channels. This is despite the fact that 41% agree that moving to digital workflows will cut organizational costs, and that 87% should have the skill sets available to make this happen. The survey showed that Canadian companies are generally ahead of their global counterparts in digitizing processes in the areas of invoicing, contracts, customer engagement, HR on-boarding, new product development, and vertical and operational processes. About 44% of Canadian respondents said they’ll have all seven digitized in two years – the highest across all countries surveyed!
“Organizations foresee a lean and agile digital future, but current business processes are still weighed down by paper,” said Andy Jones, Vice President, Workflow Automation, Large Enterprise Operations, Xerox. “The disconnect between an organization’s vision and the steps required to achieve successful digital transformation has stalled the promise of digitization.”
Automation is key
When it comes to automating processes, almost three quarters of respondents said they already have identified areas for automation. More specifically, they cite accounting (38%), expense reporting (37%), accounts payable (36%) and customer care (35%) as the most likely functions to become fully automated within their enterprise. Yet the report identified a number of basics that many firms have yet to address to make automation and digital workflows a reality in key business functions. According to the organizations surveyed, 40% have not yet implemented solutions for the mobile workforce, 47% have not yet added or improved cloud services, and 45% have not yet incorporated or improved predictive analysis through big data.
In many cases, digitizing or re-engineering paper-based processes before they’re automated will lead to better results. Analyzing employee print habits, for example, provides an insight into hidden opportunities for digitization where paper use is high. The report also found that 90% of respondents said they have good tools to analyze employee print habits, but only half of them (45%) are using those tools to their full extent. Comparatively, 86% of Canadian executives surveyed said they have these analysis tools – but a third don’t use them fully. The key reasons Canadian executives said they’re still printing documents was for hard-copy reference (69%), signatures (65%) and sharing (48%).
Xerox added that it has introduced workflow automation services as part of its managed print services “offering to lead the way to greater productivity and digital transformation.” The company is also developing automation tools throughout its portfolio to support its full line of business – including customer care centres, finance and accounting processes and the healthcare sector. The full Xerox report on the study can be downloaded at: https://www.xerox.com/en-us/services/managed-print-services/insights/digital-transformation-strategy.