What is Digital Transformation?
Digital Transformation is the continuous process of reducing friction through the use of enabling technologies.
Although digital transformation can be incredibly complex, it does not need to be. By breaking down digital transformation into its components, a clear process emerges that delivers success while dramatically reducing risk.
The Digital Transformation Process
Processes should be defined as methods to achieve specific results. For Example, a process to onboard a new sales employee could have expected outputs including benefits registration, application access, badge creation and a welcome email. This definitive approach to process allows each process to be evaluated as to its efficiency in meeting its defined goals.
Once the methods and outcomes of a process are defined, each can be evaluated for efficiency. Let’s take our onboarding example from above. In our example, this is a series of manual process.
An employee completes the required forms for employment and submits them via email
HR accepts the documents via email and enters the information into Workday
HR creates a ticket in ServiceNow to allow the new employee access to SalesForce.com
HR completes a request for the creation of a badge with appropriate physical access
This is an oversimplification of the many steps required to onboard a typical employee.
Nonetheless, Let’s look at what Digital Transformation applied to this process could deliver.
Digital Transformation via API
Using standard API management tools, we can enable the key business systems to share data between each other. Those referenced above: Microsoft Active Directory, Workday, SalesForce.com and ServiceNow can all be tightly connected and then integrated into Oracle EBS, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and other ERP platforms as required.
Using this basic integration, we end up with a more automated process. This reduces the possibility of human error and procedural friction.
- An employee completes the required forms for employment and submits them via email
- The data in the form is validated by HR
- Once validated, the data is shared directly with the business systems required to onboard the employee
- Workday receives the data required to create the employee record
- ServiceNow tickets are created for addition of the new employee to Active Directory and SalesForce.com
- Administrators for Active Directory and SalesForce.com review the ticket and, if the data is accurate, approve the tickets
- Data is then sent from the original form submission to both SalesForce.com and Active Directory.
- The employee is active in all key business systems with minimal human interaction
Digital Transformation and Documented Process
Digital transformation begins with well documented processes. The tools are secondary and, quite honestly, worthless until the processes themselves are solid. Once documented, each process can be evaluated for digital transformation.
Tools including APIs, ETL/ELT, Change Data Capture (CDC), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can then be applied as appropriate to reduce procedural friction and human error in each of these processes. Approaching digital transformation from the process up vs the tools down dramatically improves the likelihood of success.