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We talk about the term "digital transformation" a lot, but when you talk to people about what it actually means to them, many don’t have a clear understanding of this term or what it takes to transform an organization. I like to think about it as a journey. You have to know where you are and where you want to go in order to get to your destination. Once you know where you want to go, you must prepare.

At AIIM, we believe that four key intelligent information management (IIM) practices or methodologies—and an associated set of modular and configurable technology building blocks—are critical for your successful digital transformation journey, including:
  • Modernizing the information toolkit
  • Digitalizing core organizational processes
  • Automating compliance and governance
  • Leveraging analytics and machine learning

Focus on the Destination

Your digital transformation journey must focus on the end result or business outcome you're looking to achieve (e.g., enhancing the customer experience for a certain task or goal). Once you define what that actually means for your business, map out how to get there and begin your journey.

In a recent AIIM Industry Watch report titled “The State of Intelligent Information Management: Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve,” we asked businesses how close they were to addressing the core challenge of understanding, anticipating, and redefining their internal and external customer experiences by 2020. What we found was that one in five are actually near where they want to be.

In a recent AIIM study, we asked respondents, "Relative to where you want to be by 2020, where are you in your overall Digital Transformation Journey to "understanding, anticipating, and redefining internal and external customer experiences?"

Yet, 81% feel that digital transformation is very important to their organization. So, if that's true, why aren’t more organizations closer to their goals?

In My View

Many organizations recognize the need to digitally transform their business operations to improve internal processes, increase efficiency and consistency, and to enhance the customer experience. The challenge typically lies with where to begin and allocating the necessary resources to get started. No matter the size of the organization, there are opportunities to set the digital transformation compass and begin the journey, even if it's just a small step. The key is to take that first step and to not stop once you begin.

A good place to start is by looking at your business processes and the tools you use to make things happen and assessing where you are today. For example, use the IIM elements to lay the foundation for the future:
  • What would it take to modernize the information toolkit?
  • Have we identified an area for digitalizing core organizational processes?
  • How can we begin automating our compliance and governance practices?
  • Where can we benefit by leveraging analytics and machine learning?
The time is now to map out your journey, if you haven’t already. If you have, congratulations! I encourage you to continue to refine your journey map as you move forward. Digital transformation is a reality. May your path be clear, your focus remain sharp, and your success be close by.

Bob Larrivee is Vice President and Chief Analyst of Market Intelligence at AIIM and an internationally recognized subject matter expert and thought leader with over 30 years of experience in the fields of information and process management. Follow him on Twitter @BobLarrivee.