It’s only natural to feel a sense of fatigue at the mention of digital transformation. The constant buzz surrounding the term has dimmed its once-glistening allure. Yet, you can’t deny that its changes have been profound. And now, the relationship between business and technology is changing. Thanks to several advancements, technology, once seen as just an enabler, now emerges as a strategic force. In fact, IDC mentions that this new relationship between business and technology is “digital-first.”
"Digital-first” was once limited to products and services, but now it weaves into our workplace fabric. It’s bringing agile working methods to industries that need a shake-up, introducing communication, collaboration and work culture changes across sites and borders.
Together with IDC, SS&C Blue Prism launched a survey to find out just how much is changing thanks to digital workplace transformation.
What is Digital Workplace Transformation?
Digital workplace transformation is the use of integrated digital technologies, such as those in office automation, to improve business operations.
Specifically, it uses advanced technologies to improve efficiency, increase collaboration and streamline processes. This can be the use of software robots that automate digital activities, also known as robotic process automation (RPA), or a combination of cognitive technologies, known as intelligent automation (IA), that includes RPA, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), business process management (BPM), process intelligence, no-code development, natural language processing (NLP) and more. You may have also heard of business process automation (BPA). You can think of BPA as the larger parent of RPA, where BPA software allows you to manage complex processes through further AI-powered technologies.
IA helps relieve your staff from monotonous, repetitive and manual work so they can focus on more engaging, value-driving for your organization.
Digital transformation should be viewed as a journey rather than a fixed destination. It’s a continuous process in which organizations can consistently enhance and identify improvement areas. In the context of digital workplace transformation, it’s about establishing improved working environments.
Why Is Digital Workplace Transformation Important?
While it may sound cliché, the world is constantly changing. Competition in all industries is intensifying – not only for market share and customers, but also for talent. Additionally, technological advancements have also changed how people interact with each other forever; organizations need to keep up with these changes or risk becoming slow and unproductive. Some examples of changing workplace norms accelerated by the covid-19 pandemic include hybrid working, and flexible and remote working arrangements.
Digital workplace transformation helps organizations remain agile and competitive. By leveraging and incorporating these technologies, organizations can boost productivity, enhance collaboration and ensure they attract and retain top talent — and more organizations are realizing this. Our study finds that the top three drivers for digital transformation in the workplace are employee experience, operational efficiency and employee productivity.
What are the benefits of digital workplace transformation?
The importance of digital workplace transformation is complemented by its benefits, including improvements in:
- Employee engagement and productivity — With IA, your employees have more free time in the workplace to focus on value-adding activities instead of manual tasks.
- Cost savings — Digital workers ensure processes are optimized and efficient to save costs.
- Collaboration — Technologies help facilitate seamless communication among staff regardless of their location to foster better teamwork across the company.
- Competitiveness — IA helps organizations respond faster and better to market changes and meet customer demands more effectively.
- Talent attraction and retention — A modern and competitive workplace attracts talent and can retain employees more effectively as they’re able to work on more strategic tasks, rather than manual, repetitive ones.
- Customer experience — As your employees are freed from monotonous work, they can now spend more time with your customers and focus their efforts on delivering outstanding service. They have more time to build stronger relationships, understand their needs and provide truly personalized solutions.
- Employee satisfaction — Increased collaboration, reduced/eliminated time on monotonous tasks and improved workflows and processes translates to a more engaged and satisfied workforce.
- Innovation — Access to the latest technologies and the ability to implement them encourages innovation, as employees have more time to spend experimenting with new ideas and solutions.
- Scalability — A digital-first working environment can adapt and change easily according to the increasing needs of an organization. It scales in tandem with the organization’s growth trajectory.
What are the main areas for digital transformation?
It can be said that workplace transformation is still a work in progress. There are significant efficiency gains to be found, but companies will start by focusing on the low-hanging fruits: communication, employee experience and training.
Most companies have realized the shortage of specialist skills. Upskilling and even reskilling programs are initiated to empower existing staff, rather than finding new talent through the traditional (and expensive) recruiting and hiring process. Our report highlights key areas where companies are actively enhancing employee experience, many of which can be further strengthened with the strategic integration of automation:
What Are the Challenges of Digital Workplace Transformation?
Beware – the challenges remain. Like other technologies, the lack of budget and expertise turns up as main inhibitors, followed by staff resistance and lack of management understanding.
For all of you thinking about automation adoption – make sure you find the right partner with the right experience. You should also spend effort preparing and educating your staff and management. Automation can be more of a hindrance than a success if badly managed. And future projects that could be accelerated with automation will be jeopardized by its previous results.
Our report also revealed the main challenges in implementing automation, with lack of skills and experience, and staff resistance being the top two reasons.
The best solution here would be to ensure employees are educated and upskilled. We recommend following a business process management (BPM) methodology, such as the SS&C | Blue Prism® Chorus BPM. Chorus is a comprehensive tool that helps organizations build and orchestrate agile, intelligent operations that deliver better business outcomes.
What Industries Can Benefit From Digital Workplace Transformation?
Digital workplace transformation can be used to address and improve several industries. Here are some examples and use cases.
- Manual loan processing and paperwork.
- Slow and manual compliance checks.
- Error-prone new client onboarding documents.
- Automate loan processing to accelerate decision-making and loan disbursement.
- Document digitization to speed up the process. Identify anomalies and suspicious transactions in real-time.
- Digital forms and e-signatures help reduce effort for employees and clients, expediting account creation.
Learn more about transforming finance with intelligent automation.
- Slow and manual new employee onboarding.
- Error-prone and miscalculations in payroll.
- Manual talent filtering is repetitive and mundane.
- Streamlines and standardizes onboarding, from paperwork to IT setup, reducing administrative burden.
- Systems automatically calculate salaries, deductions, taxes, etc., accurately and efficiently to produce timely and error-free payments.
Learn more about transforming HR with a digital workforce.
Energy and utilities
- Aging infrastructure that is manual and costly to maintain.
- Regulatory compliance.
- Overwhelming amount of data from sensors, meters and equipment.
- Tracking all equipment is made easy with insights automatically pulled. Employees are automatically reminded to schedule maintenance and checks.
- Real-time monitoring and control of infrastructure.
- Automated reporting and documentation to streamline compliance.
Learn more about transforming operations in the energy and utility industry.
How Do You Use Automation for Digital Workplace Transformation?
Digital workplace transformation can lead to streamlined processes, improved efficiency and enhanced employee experiences. Our report revealed the most common technology used for automation projects is workflow automation, with around 35% of respondents using this.
But you can use other automation tools to support digital workplace transformation. We’ve mentioned some examples before, but here are a few more:
- Desktop process automation, or robotic desktop automation (RDA), helps automate repetitive, rule-based tasks that are performed on an employee’s desktop. SS&C | Blue Prism® Desktop enables your employees to run desktop automations responsibly with centralized governance, and effortlessly through friendly user experiences.
- Digital documents help streamline the creation, management and distribution of documents. SS&C | Blue Prism® Document Automation is an example that turns handwritten documents into decision-ready data. SS&C | Blue Prism® Decipher IDP is another example that helps extract data that is locked in paper documents. It uses optical character recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to accurately extract information at speed.
A New Way to Work
To sum it all up, employee experience is one of the key driving forces behind the adoption of digital transformation strategies. When organizations step up to ease the manual, repetitive and mundane aspects of their employees' work lives, they're not just making the workplace more enjoyable — it's a productivity booster too. It's a win-win: Organizations continue to accelerate their success and employees are right there supporting them.
If you want to learn more about the other challenges and trends in digital workplace transformation, download the full report here.