Enterprise Digitalization: How Workflow Automation Can Reinforce Post-Pandemic Business Success

The need for digitalization among enterprises has only gotten stronger with the advent of COVID-19 as people took a turn for a predominantly digital way.

From buying goods and services, to corporate employees now working from home, to executives and business owners operating their companies remotely—the world has fully embraced this highly digital landscape that we now call “the new normal”.

These developments only heightened people’s digital maturity. And as customer habits continue to change, so should the way winning enterprises operate. 

Companies, particularly in Saudi Arabia, have been pushed to fast-track into the future by innovating, changing operating and business models, and leveraging emerging technologies. 

In fact, according to the most recent Digital Transformation Index, 90% of enterprises in the UAE and in the KSA accelerated their digitalization initiatives in a matter of months. This just shows how the majority of business leaders in the region perceive the value of digitalization to stay afloat and develop resilience.

Essentially, companies that resist change are at risk of being left behind by their competitors and customers.

Thus, in order for businesses in the KSA to remain competitive in this new normal, they need to digitalize the entire enterprise through automated workflows that address their particular challenges and are aligned with their business goals.

What does it mean to digitalize your enterprise?

Digitalization is the process of procuring and implementing technological solutions to improve business operations. It aims to enhance and simplify internal and external processes by using IT tools that are capable of directly resolving your specific challenges in the organization.

In the new normal, digitalizing your enterprise means automating workflows in order to meet the evolving needs and expectations of your employees and customers. The overarching goal is to develop streamlined processes that will drive productivity, efficiency, and business growth in this highly digital landscape. 

Workflow automation can help you achieve this goal by ironing out bottlenecks in each area of your organization with a digital tool that integrates processes across the enterprise.

Now, you’re probably thinking, why should you automate your enterprise workflows even if basic, manual processes are working for you already? How exactly can automation support your business goals?

We’ll answer that- and more – in the next few sections.

DIGITALIZING YOUR ENTERPRISE

Benefits of Digitalizing the Enterprise Through Automated Workflows

Automated workflows provide numerous opportunities that will enable your organization to rise to any challenge and achieve business goals.

Here are 8 benefits of digitalizing your enterprise through workflow automation:

Minimize Operation and Labor Costs

With today’s new digital workflow tools, it is estimated that approximately 45% of work activities can be automated. This amounts to roughly $2 Trillion in wages which could potentially be incurred as savings particularly for large enterprises.

However, it’s important to note that workflow automation doesn’t aim to eliminate certain roles in the job market. Cost optimization happens when key employees are able to get more work done in less amount of time. This reduces overtime pays, operational costs beyond typical work hours, and additional expenses on material resources across the organization.

In a broader perspective, this also saves enterprises from bloating their manpower roster. The tendency of companies operating on manual processes is to create several roles for each specific departmental task just to accomplish a single request. But, with a digital workflow that integrates the right tools, a lean team of employees can do an impressive amount of work. This saves your organization from having to hire more people than your payroll can handle.

Increase Employee Productivity

Enterprises are facing a great deal of challenges brought about by today’s hybrid and remote work setups. Their most common problems are poor employee productivity caused by machine-related issues, and the lack of instant IT support to provide resolutions.

This concern can easily be addressed by workflow automation. Modern, cloud-based tools have been proven to increase productivity by at least 30%. IT teams will be free from mundane, repetitive tasks, and employees will be provided with access to fast and reliable solutions to their common concerns. 

Thus, instead of worrying about minor issues, your entire organization will have more time to work on higher-impact projects that could further accelerate business growth.

Higher Employee Retention Rates 

A study shows that 92% of C-suite and HR leaders believe digitalization positively affects employee retention. This is attributed to the fact that automated workflows provide employees with seamless and personalized experiences from the moment they are onboarded. 

Whether it’s a simple task, such as filing a leave application, or more complex administrative work, automation eases them from unnecessary frustrations commonly caused by manual processes. 

As a result, employees become more engaged, proactive, and satisfied with the company, thus lowering attrition rates.

Create a Forward-thinking Culture in the Organization 

Digitalization makes it possible for organizations and their members to think for the long term. When processes and standard tasks are automated, employees become more prepared for upcoming challenges– whether it may be another global disruption such as the pandemic, or other factors that may affect business operations.

In addition, automation also equips your organization with tools that allow you to acquire data and gain full visibility in real-time. Through this, your company’s key decision-makers will be able to forge smarter decisions that will lead you closer to your business objectives.

Process Efficiency and Accuracy

Service-focused departments across your organization spend a great deal of their time accomplishing mundane tasks that barely add value to your business. 

This includes anything from sorting out service requests, looking for similar incidents, identifying the right team to handle the case, and all the paperwork in between. 

These manual tasks also introduce a high risk of human error, slow down resolution time, and lower your organization’s productivity. 

Workflow automation can increase employee efficiency and accuracy by 66%, because it enables the members of your team to easily identify, track, and resolve incidents on a single platform.

Mitigate Risks and Compliance Issues

20% of CEOs in Saudi Arabia believe that cybersecurity risk is the greatest threat to their business and over 56% of enterprises in the Middle East have lost more than $500,000 due to cyberattacks.

These unwarranted scenarios – and the costs that come with them – can be mitigated, if not completely avoided. How? By having automated workflows that are integrated with your risk management strategies. 

Equipping your IT teams with applications that automatically detect, notify, and resolve common risks will fortify your organization’s risk and compliance posture.

Smarter Executive Decision-making 

Automating your workflows will also give you improved visibility into your enterprise’s overall processes. When information is streamlined across different departments, you can easily monitor performance, extract real-time data when you need it, and generate analytics. 

This will allow you to develop more actionable insights based on facts and actual figures, which will drive smarter decisions among the organization’s leaders.

Better Customer Experiences 

Today’s digitally mature consumers have developed specific standards on how companies manage their transactions and concerns virtually. They expect seamless experiences from the moment they get in touch with you to the time they may need assistance on product or service concerns.

By digitalizing workflows, you can provide customers with 24/7 intelligent, self-service platforms. As a result, you will be able to meet your customers’ expectations, deliver pleasing service experiences, and have the potential to increase revenue retention by uo to  $5.2M.

Likewise, it will relieve your internal customer service teams of manually resolving relatively simpler concerns, and instead focus on addressing more pressing issues and provide faster resolutions.

All of these benefits come together to accelerate your business growth and establish resilience. By digitalizing your enterprise, you will be able to increase employee productivity and efficiency, increase revenues from positive customer experiences, make more sound executive decisions, reduce unnecessary expenses, and protect your organization from risks and vulnerabilities.

Steps in Digitalizing the Enterprise

There are five key steps to ensure a successful digital transformation across your organization:

STEP 1: Audit Current Workflows 

The first step is to evaluate your existing business processes and determine the problem areas that need to be addressed. It’s best to identify them based on their impact on your organization. 

Which ones directly affect your business goals? In terms of priority, which ones have the biggest effect on how you deliver value to your customers? This will allow you to decide on which areas you need to focus on automating first.

Creating a sequence of priorities will enable you and your implementation partner to better assess the products and services that you need in order to generate the most value from your investments.

STEP 2: Find The Right Tools

There are numerous software tools available in the market today, but you need to filter them out to determine the most appropriate ones that can address your specific workflow challenges. 

In finding the right software, here are some factors you might need to consider:

  • Software’s Reputation

    To get an idea of what to expect, look into what other enterprises have to say about their experience. A reputable software tools provider is one that has worked with some of the largest corporations in the world and has been consistently receiving acknowledgments for their technology.
  • Comprehensiveness of the Platform

    Do your chosen tools work in an open architecture type of system that will allow you to streamline workflows across your organization?

    This is an important question to ask early on. After all, once you begin digitalizing certain parts of your enterprise, you may eventually decide to automate other areas of your business.

    It is ideal to choose a software provider that offers a complete set of tools that can operate in a single platform, covering different business functionalities.
  • Ease of Use

    Is it simple enough for your employees to be able to maximize its full potential? Will it help them increase productivity or will it turn out to be a hindrance?

    Request for demos to get a preview of the platform’s interface and navigation capabilities. Having your target end-users participate in the assessment and decision-making processes will help you arrive at better conclusions on a platform’s ease of use. Let them try handling the tools and vet which ones work best for them.
  • Simplicity of Configuration

    Implementing new software can take extended amounts of time if the system is not based on a single platform. When this happens, companies are stalled from their digitalization efforts and investments take twice as long to generate value. 

As such, it’s important to opt for tools that require lower amounts of configuration so you can immediately implement them. 

This is also where enlisting the help of skilled consultants comes in. Working with experts in configuring your chosen tools will make the entire process much easier and more efficient for your organization.

  • Availability of Support

    Digitalization requires professional support for it to be successful. Consider the accessibility of customer care services offered by the software provider, and how they are able to address your queries from the moment you make an inquiry and during the demo. 

STEP 3: Build your Business Case 

Executive buy-in is a primary barrier among most enterprises looking into digitalizing their businesses. Company leaders set the direction for the entire organization, especially when it comes to technologies that will affect business operations. Even the best software tools and digitalization strategies can fail without corporate support. 

This is where building a persuasive business case comes in. A good digitalization business case should establish the logic for how specific processes can be automated to form digital workflows. Here are some important takeaways you should know in establishing a business case:

  • Focus on the process of creating the business case rather than the actual numbers in it. This will establish consensus on the problems you’re trying to solve, identify and highlight the value gap, and then quantify the potential ROI.
  • The strongest business cases start with crystal clear objectives and pain points to resolve. They should be based on a thorough understanding of costs, and distinguish feasible measures of expected benefits and value.
  • Stakeholders for your business case should include process owners, service owners, service desk managers, and key critical decision-makers in the organization.

IT and innovation leaders may also consider working with consultants who can provide more focused guidance on developing a strong business case. Their technical expertise, insights based on actual deployments, and knowledge of best practices will be advantageous as you lobby for executive buy-in.

STEP 4: Implementation

The deployment stage is the most crucial phase in digitalizing your enterprise. This is where your new technologies and the people who will run them meet.

Thus, it’s important to create a comprehensive implementation plan that is based on your target business outcomes. It will serve as your guide in executing your automated workflows together with your software service partner to increase your digitalization success.

To create a disciplined, step-by-step implementation plan, you need to prepare:

  • A sequence of priorities aligned with your business goals
  • Clear assignment of roles and responsibilities among the stakeholders and everyone involved in the implementation process
  • Organizational change management strategies that will secure the buy-in of your employees

Part of the implementation process is equipping end-users with ample training on using the tools that you now have in place. Provide them with the right avenues for learning while letting them test and navigate your new platforms to minimize the possibility of it being underutilized.

This is also where you will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your tools and those who are using them, leading to the final step of your digitalization journey. At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure that your digitalization investments will be fully maximized and deliver or even exceed its projected ROI.

STEP 5: Optimization 

Digitalization is not a one-off project. The planning stages leading to the software deployment are just the beginning. 

Automated workflows operate on technology that is constantly evolving. Likewise, the people who use them– your employees and customers– also change in terms of needs and preferences as they become more digitally mature.

This is why optimization is essential for enterprises to continuously grow and generate value from their digital investments. 

Revisiting the automated workflows and the digitalization strategies you have in place will likely uncover new opportunities and ideas on how you can do business more efficiently. 

KEY AREAS OF THE ENTERPRISE TO DIGITALIZE

Going back to what we have discussed on the steps to successfully digitalize your enterprise, part of the first phase is to determine your priorities based on your business objectives. 

An organization comprises six key areas in which workflow automation can be applied. This section covers the most common challenges of each area as well as the solutions that digitalization can provide. It can serve as your guide in identifying the specific challenges you can resonate with and building your sequence of priorities from there.

IT Service Management (ITSM)

Managing IT technologies is an ongoing challenge that large enterprises face.  Nearly all areas of a business rely on hardware and software to function. Employees and customers expect companies to provide them with fast and accurate resolutions to their service concerns, especially in this digital-first environment. 

This is usually where obstacles happen.

When IT teams are unable to yield solutions quickly, it results in lower employee productivity and an increase in the probability for disruptions that could affect business operations.

ITSM helps address all of these challenges through automated process workflows. It serves as the bridge that connects your IT service teams and the end-users through its ability to improve employee efficiency, resolve issues quickly, and enhance user experience.

As a result, you will be able to provide your employees with more time to focus on value-adding, strategic tasks.

The most effective ITSM tools are those powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Through this type of software, you can easily accelerate technology changes, view recommended resolutions in real-time, and integrate self-service features that create resilient service experiences for your employees and customers wherever they are.

In choosing an ITSM solution, consider tools that offer the following features which are now essential in today’s hybrid work environment:

  • Harness shared data and analytics with automated workflows
  • Boost IT productivity by at least 20% through AI technologies
  • Create resilient IT services for employees working anywhere
  • Make smarter decisions by achieving new insights from real-time analytics
  • Empower employees to collaborate across all departments

IT Operations Management (ITOM)

In Saudi Arabia, a company’s digital transformation initiatives have become a benchmark for competitiveness. In fact, 74% of enterprise leaders in the region believe that their company’s technology strategies are intertwined with their business plans.

Essentially, enterprises cannot afford to experience prolonged downtimes which will inevitably halt business operations and cost them millions. Thus, it’s now a necessity for organizations to become more aware of the impact of service outages in real-time.

This is why successful enterprises should invest in systems that will allow them to focus on actionable insights, gain clarity on issues, and address them efficiently before they impact business operations.

Automated ITOM solutions will allow you to accelerate and optimize your cloud strategy so your IT teams can proactively intercept service outages and avoid costly downtime. By veering away from reactive, traditional IT operations, you will be able to identify anomalies and solve issues even before they occur. The most efficient ITOM tools can provide you with:
  • Accurate predictions – identify anomalies through accessible and highly visible data
  • Faster recovery times – automate repetitive tasks and implement solutions based on insights
  • Reduced outages –  find the root cause of issues and share actionable insights across teams to mitigate potential service outages
  • Performance-driven culture – guide teams in achieving their KPI’s while maintaining their speed and work reliability
  • Streamlined data – manage your entire digital lifecycle to make smarter decisions
IT Business Management (ITBM) IT plays a crucial role in managing and forecasting the demand for your company’s products and services. It is the key to making informed investment decisions aligned with your business objectives. However, most enterprises find that their employees are piled with work that is not adding value to support their strategic priorities and achieve business goals. This is brought about by working with old, siloed tools that departmentalize workflows, leading to communication gaps between business and IT. Due to these factors, your organization’s ability to develop strategic decisions and recommendations becomes limited. On the other hand, an innovative approach to IT business management will enable your organization to create greater value from your initiatives and implement change faster across the enterprise. It will allow you to streamline business and IT requests, and align the process to efficiently manage the demand for new products, services, repairs, and enhancements.
In fact, having the right ITBM tools will enable your enterprise to save at least $355,000 annually on project management costs. The most suitable automated ITBM solution for enterprises are capable of:
  • Easily anticipating critical business requirements and allocating the necessary resources
  • Evaluating the value of your portfolio
  • Prioritizing new requests and delivering products efficiently
  • Assessing top-level investments and quickly adapting to make adjustments
  • Managing strategic and operational work in a single platform, reducing bottlenecks, and increasing speed to market
  • Aligning your IT investments with your organization’s overall objectives to gain more value, generate better outcomes, and respond more rapidly to change
Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) As the digital economy continues to evolve, more cybersecurity threats arise. It also came with a new wave of standards and regulations across all industries which completely alter the way enterprises do business in the years to come. Among enterprises in Saudi Arabia, 20% of CEOs believe that cybersecurity risk is the greatest threat to their business. And they have a cause for alarm considering that more than 56% of enterprises in the Middle East have lost over $500,000 due to cyberattacks. It goes to show that companies across all industries in the region are struggling to manage risks and stay on top of privacy regulations. As such, this has been the driving force behind the increasing demand for integrated and automated risk management applications.
Modern GRC applications equip IT teams with full visibility of your company’s risk and compliance posture, organized and structured workflows, and automated assessment and remediation plans to immediately address urgent security concerns. In determining the most effective GRC tools that will drive business resilience, consider how they can enable you to:
  • Respond to business risk in real-time
  • View regulatory compliance concerns quickly
  • Make data-driven decisions across the enterprise
  • Boost employee performance
  • Improve overall cybersecurity and compliance posture
Customer Service Management (CSM) Customers report their concerns through cases, which are also used by agents to track those issues to resolutions. The speed at which your customer support teams are able to close a case will directly impact your customer’s satisfaction. The process sounds straightforward, however, most enterprises struggle with efficiently managing them. Overwhelming amounts of service concerns leave customers’ issues unresolved for days. At a time wherein customers are more digitally mature, they expect enterprises to provide them with fast and accurate resolutions to their concerns.

Automated CSM tools can transform the experience you can deliver to your customers by making the process effortless and seamless from the moment they report a case. A reliable and efficient CSM solution is one that will allow you to:

  • Connect teams more efficiently by bringing the front, middle, and back offices together to develop faster resolutions
  • Permanently fix or prevent recurring customer issues
  • Automate resolutions to common customer service concerns
  • Make you accessible to your customers through multiple communication channels
  • Expand self-service channels for real-time resolutions

These features will enable you to increase customer satisfaction and reduce case volume and costs which will increase service team productivity, drive customer retention, and accelerate business growth.

Software Asset Management (SAM)

In this new digital landscape, the risk of being audited by software publishers has never been greater. Today’s complex licensing models just makes it more challenging for enterprises to manage.

In addition, most companies are still dependent on manual processes and siloed tools that require a significant amount of time and costly integrations between sources to generate a single license posture.

Yet, once they have a compliance status, the IT configuration has again changed and has been deemed outdated. Enterprises are then left with no choice but to shoulder millions of dollars in penalties.

Software license management is no small task. And the impact of audit incompetencies could cause business disruptions, non-compliance penalties, unmanaged procurement expenses, and reputational damages.

Enterprises should invest in establishing automated SAM tools that can help control risk, reduce software spending, and arrive quickly at outcomes. [Please prep a typography-based graphics card with this copy]

Having the right SAM tools can help you save up to $5 Million on software costs. It will also enable you to:

  • Track your software usage accurately and efficiently through visible license metric data for specific software publishers
  • Mitigate risk throughout the entire asset lifecycle– from requisition to retirement
  • Easily view your license compliance position and proactively resolve issues before they disrupt your business
  • Monitor and evaluate your enterprise’s software expenses to avoid spending millions on shelfware and idle cloud systems
  • Reclaim unused software rights, purchase new software rights, and manage allocations for entitlements

GENERATING THE BEST VALUE FROM YOUR DIGITALIZATION INVESTMENTS

Now that you have identified the areas you want to prioritize – and laid down the necessary automation system in place –  you can start strategizing on how you can make the most value out of your digital workflow investments. 

Generally, it is always advisable to prioritize digital investments that will generate the highest returns. The key is to find the right tools that particularly target your organization’s specific pain points. These solutions should also provide seamless experiences to end-users for them to be considered effective.

But, how can you gauge if you are able to get the most out of it?

You will need to develop metrics that will provide a holistic view of your organization’s digital transformation progress.

It’s important to remember that digitalization is a long and complex journey. While quantitative metrics are significant in measuring returns on investment, they should be well balanced with qualitative factors that greatly influence the success of your enterprise’s digitalization.

In determining what works and what doesn’t in every step of the process, in parallel to the time spent, revenues generated, and savings from reduced expenses — you should be able to see an accurate view of your progress.

Furthermore, metrics for each of the key areas of enterprise digitalization may differ from one another. There are key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant for Customer Service Management initiatives that cannot be applicable to Software Asset Management investments. 

As such, you need to create an ROI framework for each area of your digitalization strategies in order to ensure a timely, efficient, and seamless transformation, while adhering to your business objectives.

For example, one of the primary KPIs for IT Service Management is improved employee experience. Instead of using quantitative measures, the best way to gauge this is by looking into how it drives your other ITSM business objectives and outcomes.

KPIs differ for each organization as enterprises have varying goals, targets, and focus areas. As leaders, you have free reign on determining the most efficient set of KPIs that applies to your business.

ASSESSING YOUR ENTERPRISE DIGITALIZATION’S SUCCESS

Why is assessment important?

Evaluating the progress of your digitalization efforts is an essential step in any transformation journey. It helps in identifying where you are in terms of digital maturity to provide you with a better understanding of your strengths, gaps, and capabilities.

An assessment based on your set metrics will allow you to:

  • Gauge if you are able to hit your targets and generate your desired results in parallel to your business goals
  • Determine bottlenecks and address them promptly before it hampers your digitalization progress
  • Identify areas for improvement that can be focused on for enhancement
  • Find out how employees and external customers are responding to your digital processes, and use relevant feedback for further advancements
  • Recognize new challenges that need to be addressed
  • Be able to optimize and make adjustments to your tools and/or internal processes before it affects your business

How you will move forward with your digital transformation initiatives will depend on the substance of your assessment. The data that you will collect during the assessment stage should reflect a 360-degree view of your progress which may serve as a reliable basis for developing a comprehensive analysis and actionable recommendations towards completing your digitalization journey.

Digitalization is a Continuous Process

Although digitalization has its own distinct qualities, it has always been a factor in the continuous growth of your business. What is different with digital transformation now is how fast changes are happening and the speed at which organizations are able to cope with the latest developments in technology and in execution.

To remain competitive, enterprises are implored to always be on the lookout for emerging technologies and best practices that will further improve their processes.

As such, continuous improvement is essential.

This means that organizations need to embrace a mindset that perceives digitalization as a continuous priority. It is the only way they can move forward with an openly adapting and improving outlook as they develop their digital maturity. 

Continuous improvement strategies cut across the entire organization, and it is potentially one of the most significant cultural changes enterprises should adopt. Organizations with the right strategies in place will have the capabilities to take a proactive stand, respond, and evolve with emerging technologies and the hyper-competitive digital economy. 

This not only propels your enterprise’s digital transformation journey but the road to achieving your company’s overall business goals.

Are You Ready to Transform Your Business Today?

Transforming the way you do business to cope with today’s highly digital landscape has become inevitable. Enterprises are left with no choice but to accelerate their digitalization strategies in order to remain competitive.

Now more than ever, organizations need to adopt the proper implementation of automated workflows that address their particular challenges and are aligned with their business goals.

Doing so will drive business growth and resilience to their enterprise.

In terms of application, there are key areas of the enterprise which include ITSM, ITOM, ITBM, GRC, CSM, SAM. These are all priorities that will enable executives to run the business smoothly, make smarter decisions, build a strong workforce, avoid risks and compliance issues, and provide excellent customer service and vendor relations. Therefore, enterprises need to find the right tools that support their company’s objectives and goals.

However, purchasing software isn’t enough to secure a successful digitalization. Organizations need to have the right partners who are capable of understanding your pain points, recommending the most efficient solutions, guiding you throughout your company’s implementation process, and ensuring that you are using your digital workflows to your advantage.

This is why working with implementation and consultation experts like Unikomm is essential in making sure that everything is functioning correctly– from your tools to how your teams are making the most of them. Generate the best value from your digital workflow investments by partnering with reliable service partners that offer the best solutions in the market today.

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