How to Ensure Your Digital Transformation Initiatives Thrive

By Henry Patishman

We’ve seen what digital transformation can do through the disruption of many consumer and B2B services. Recall the demise of Blockbuster Entertainment’s physical stores when Netflix first delivered movies to mailboxes, then digital streaming directly from TVs and mobile devices. Or the battle taxi services endured when Uber’s ridesharing app reaped market share.

From a B2B perspective, we saw the move from on-premise CRM applications like Oracle and Siebel to cloud CRM, and dedicated corporate data centres moving to Amazon, Google and Microsoft public and hybrid cloud hosting.  

Improving the customer experience is at the heart of digital transformation initiatives. In this endeavor, organisations have needed to improve operational efficiencies and work with leaner staff by digitising processes for improved process transparency and accuracy, ease and speed of transaction, customisation, and customer satisfaction.  

By the end of this year, IDC expects over 70 percent of the Global 500 companies will have a dedicated digital transformation or innovation team, and by 2020 all enterprises’ performance will be measured by benchmarks in customer engagement, digitisation of new and traditional offerings, operational efficiency and organisational agility.

Unfortunately, IDC also believes that at least one-third of these leaders will fail to clear these digital transformation hurdles. Here’s how to ensure your digital transformation initiatives are successful.

Update Your OCR Technology

At the heart of the digitisation revolution is the ability to accurately and quickly automate the capture of information from any source. It started with automated mailrooms and expanded to other units of the enterprise including accounts payable, human resources and customer relationship management. Intelligent capture and removing the reliance on paper are the first steps in a digital transformation process, but organisations are still using OCR solutions from the beginning of this century. Legacy OCR solutions extract static data and house data in an aging repository.

Today, capture needs to extend to all sorts of data forms ranging from proof of delivery, proof of income, proof of ID, new account forms, claims forms and more. Once digitised, the data must be classified, extracted and verified to support and integrate with downstream processes to action information.

Extract meaning from data for better customer insight

For the customer experience to be truly transformational, data needs to be understood within the context of the customer’s need and cross-referenced with the company’s pre-set rules and policies to make better business decisions.

In some cases, the knowledge gained through analysing captured data can become a product or service. IDC estimates that by 2019, 40 percent of IT projects will create new digital services and revenue streams that monetise data.  This could include custom or context-driven products, services and upsell offers.

However, not all data is nicely packaged in preset forms. The challenge with unstructured data, such as handwritten notes and social content, is it requires a more sophisticated, linguistic-based approach for capturing, classifying and extracting then injecting intelligence into business processes.

By using natural language and deep semantic processing at the sentence, paragraph and document level, unstructured and semi-structured data can be used by knowledge workers to extract value and understand meaning and relationships between entities in a single document or across a corpus of documents. This provides unprecedented insights to make smarter business decisions quicker, such as fund a new account, give credit, sell a car, or upsell a product.

Gain executive-suite support

A managing director at PwC recently listed ten ways organisations can succeed with digital transformation. Not surprising, the top three included having C-level support and direct involvement with the strategy. While that is ideal, line-of-business owners are increasingly responsible for reassessing existing processes as part of the digital transformation initiative, especially among mid-sized organisations.

A key part of the effort is automating manual business process through intelligent data capture, classification and extraction to feed new or rapidly evolving customer facing business processes. Additionally, depending on the size of the company and the maturity of the initiative, IT will continue to play a role in qualifying vendors ahead of C-suite involvement.

Intelligent information management achieves success

Digital transformation needs to be a holistic approach to service customers. Information coming into an organisation from multiple channels contain essential data that drive business processes and enable automation.

With paper and electronic documents both widely used for customer interactions, it’s clear that smarter data capture is essential for smarter business processes. Intelligent capture can reduce costs and cycle times, but more importantly, can enable digital transformation of customer-facing processes. Organisations must start with an intelligent foundation where context and content deliver a better understanding of your company’s data.

Henry Patishman is Director of Sales (Australasia) at ABBYY. Contact ABBYY at or on  (02) 9004 7401 for any further information.