Modern digital transformation examples
Digital transformation examples go far beyond the elimination of paper. See what transformation looked like at 10 organizations and learn how it’s showing up across industries.
Examples of digital transformation are everywhere. Almost every organization that made it through the pandemic has undergone at least some degree of digital transformation. However, digital transformation examples can be difficult to pinpoint, for two reasons:
- First, because so many transformative actions are now considered standard business. Analog practices are becoming the unwelcome exception rather than the rule.
- Second, because whether we’re customers or employees, we users tend to primarily experience the outcomes of digital transformation instead of the initiatives themselves.
We might notice that our hospital system now has an amazing patient portal. That our school posts test results online as soon as they’re available. Or that you can open a new checking account with your bank right in the app. We may notice how easy it is to share a document with a colleague via the cloud and make simultaneous changes to it while video chatting, compared to last year when we had to share multiple versions of the same document back and forth over email for a week.
These are all digital transformation examples, and once they’re successfully implemented, they appear to be simple, seamless, foregone conclusions to the ever-expanding capabilities of technology. But on the back end, in their implementation, they’re strategic, thoughtful, sometimes painful initiatives that weren’t undergone lightly.
Recognizing digital transformation examples
In the early days, digital transformation was often synonymous with going paperless. In today’s increasingly digital world, however, we recognize that reducing or eliminating the amount of paper necessary for your organization to do business is just part of the digital transformation journey. It’s not the be-all and end-all of a digital evolution. In many ways, going paperless alone isn’t enough to constitute a digital transformation. In others, the presence of paper doesn’t invalidate other elements of digital transformation.
Retaining some paper-based processes, either internally or in customer interactions, isn’t necessarily a sign that an organization is behind in its digital transformation. In some industries, instances and interactions, paper just works better. Some people might be more comfortable with it (or it could truly be their only option), and certain steps in specific processes may benefit from the absence of the distractions inherent in connectivity. There are also situations where connectivity isn’t an option and analog records are the only way to move forward.
Reducing reliance on paper-based processes is just one step on the journey of digital evolution — the first domino to fall in a chain reaction of changes and improvements that culminate in those user-focused end results.
That’s great news for organizations that have long been paper-free. As technology evolves, so does the potential for continued digital transformation. Digital transformation opportunities don’t dwindle as you progress; they flourish.
Seven examples of digital transformation
1. Intuitive self-service applications
As customer and employee experience continue to climb the ranks of organizations’ priorities, it’s important to remember that improving customer experiences doesn’t have to happen exclusively in one-to-one interactions. More and more often, people prefer to do for themselves what used to necessitate a visit to a brick-and-mortar location. The ability to deposit a check, submit a timesheet, take an exam or get a prescription at any time from anywhere (often on a smartphone) is a key contributor to exceptional customer service.
2. Frictionless process automation
It’s common for organizations to stall in their transformation efforts after going paperless. When employees still have to copy content from digital versions of paper forms and contracts into multiple systems with multiple stakeholder approvals, they (and their business processes) still bear the burden of those paper documents. Technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) eliminate these unnecessary tasks and free employees to focus on high-value tasks and to build more meaningful, relevant connections with the people they serve.
3. Low-barrier tools for innovation and execution
As employees are increasingly prioritizing ways to contribute to their organizations more purposefully, IT departments are being asked to do more — a lot more — with less. Lower budgets, fewer people and tighter turnarounds mean the pressure being put on IT can be unsustainable. But technologies with low-code capabilities mean even knowledge workers without development experience can contribute meaningfully to corporate initiatives, increasing their own satisfaction at work and the organization’s bottom line. mean even knowledge workers without development experience can contribute meaningfully to corporate initiatives, increasing their own satisfaction at work and the organization’s bottom line.
4. Automated compliance and records management
As the desire for transparency in business continues to grow, governments and regulating bodies continue tightening their requirements for compliance and records management. At the same time, exploding volumes of information to be managed mean organizations without a compliance strategy will be left scrambling before an audit and likely face some hefty fines for noncompliance — even unintentional noncompliance. Modern technologies, automation and artificial intelligence reinforce adherence to organizational and external data compliance policies and help to lower margins of error.
5. Distributed and remote-first working environments
COVID-19 transformed the way employees want and expect to work as well as the environment in which they want to do that work. Organizations that have embraced that evolution and transitioned to a primarily distributed team have invested in the systems that make this remote-first work achievable to the benefit of all their processes. They’re not only having an easier time attracting and retaining talent but have also positioned themselves to better withstand any future disruptors.
6. Accurate, up-to-date information access from anywhere
Distributed teams have proven to be just as productive as in-office teams … provided they have access to accurate, updated information and the ability to collaborate on it asynchronously, from wherever they’re working. A cloud-native content services solution allows employees to work more quickly and make smarter decisions, and intelligent data analytics capabilities unearth previously hidden insight from information that was disconnected pre-digital transformation.
7. Smart account-based marketing and tailored customer loyalty programs
There’s a trade-off at the heart of digital transformation: The exchange of personal information for exceptional experience. Individuals prioritize data security and privacy, and rightly so, but they are willing to provide that personal information — if they receive something they consider appropriately valuable in return.
Sometimes, what’s appropriately valuable is a discount, VIP treatment or recognition of the relationship. Other times, it’s the solution to a problem they didn’t even know they had (think targeted advertisements for a startup product or service). When these initiatives are implemented heavy-handedly and inaccurately, with no thought given to the individual on the receiving end, they are unwelcome. When they are implemented with care toward the audience, their desires and their privacy, they can seem like magic.
What digital transformation looked like at 10 organizations
NASA upgraded its outdated, homegrown collaborative portal to a more secure, modern architecture. This allowed its engineers, researchers and technicians to share and test each other’s test documentation worldwide. "The ability for administrators to customize at the site level has been very helpful,” said Dave Cordner, the chief IT architect with NASA’s Langley Research Center. “We have users who are members of literally hundreds of sites and are constantly bouncing around. This customization really pops and reminds them where they are."
2. A major retailer
A major retailer transformed its e-commerce experience for shoppers by implementing a web content management system that allowed it to update site content in minutes, compared to hours or a full day. These more agile capabilities allow teams to quickly modify web content as it became irrelevant. For example, online promotions can now be removed when an item sells out rather than allowing online shoppers to potentially click on promotions that were no longer available.
3. Great Ormond Street Hospital
Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, UK, implemented a new e-consent form that is automatically generated, populated and updated within the electronic patient record (EPR). This electronic patient consent streamlined operations and eliminated paper from the process, allowing doctors to spend less time looking for paper consents and patients to avoid re-entering information upon multiple occurrences of the same treatment.
TBWA, a top-ten global ad network, streamlined its ability to create “adaptations” (versions of a master asset customized for regional use) for its high-profile clients, including Apple, Gatorade, McDonald’s and Michelin. By implementing a modern media asset management platform, the organization improved its process management, operational performance and cost effectiveness.
5. Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The Trust achieved HIMSS Stage 7 by automating manual processes and eliminating paper-based notes hospital-wide. Having seamless access to all patient information within the existing clinical documentation interface eliminated the need to search for patient records, giving caregivers more time to spend with patients.
6. Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company (FDLIC)
FDLIC improved its speed to market and gave employees the freedom to engage with customers on a personal level by eliminating tedious, manual internal processes with RPA. RPA has allowed FDLIC to expand and accelerate new business, drastically increase productivity and optimize its claims processes. Best of all, these efficiency gains mean employees are free from manual, repetitive tasks and able to focus on professional growth.
SAIF turned to a low-code content services platform to address its evolving data-driven challenges. Converting 42 million documents to the new platform from a legacy system required meticulous remote team collaboration, large-scale optimization of complex taxonomy and thoughtful change management practices for 500+ employees, and netted out to improved service in drastically reduced timeframes. “What used to take a day is happening in minutes,” said Brigitte Hamilton, director of portfolio and project management.
8. Civista Bank
Civista Bank knew its inefficient methods for document imaging, retrieval and workflow were limiting its rapid organizational growth, so it automated its entire commercial lending process. After seeing success in commercial lending in the form of immediate access to information from anywhere, faster response time to customers and improved compliance, Civista was able to expand its digital transformation across all lines of business.
9. Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union had already gone paperless but was using its enterprise content management solution in limited applications — scanning, storing and retrieving documents in just a few departments. It continued its digital evolution with capture and content services technologies that enable instant, secure access to all member documentation, all within employees’ familiar systems. Alliant was able to reduce its AP processing time by 70% and complete fraud investigations in a fraction of the time.
10. Red Canoe Credit Union
Red Canoe transitioned seamlessly from in-person to virtual interactions and signatures at the beginning of the pandemic, simplifying processes for its members and giving the organization a competitive advantage. Red Canoe leaders said the credit union’s loan processing and general business transactions likely would have dropped if not for its integration with DocuSign and OnBase.
As fewer organizations add “going paperless” to their list of annual goals (having checked that box already), examples of digital transformation will become more refined and potentially more difficult to recognize … but they’ll also provide more opportunity to connect, future-proof and innovate.
What’s next in your digital transformation?
Companies in the top quarter of workforce experience are typically 25% more profitable than competitors in the bottom quarter.