Pandemic changed the rules as digital business processes became an urgent requirement

Since the pandemic expectations about digital business processes have changed: faster, wider, smarter.


The pandemic meant that digital business processes became an urgent requirement, which posed challenges for company culture, implementation speed and data migration!

Do you face these challenges in your organisation? Would you like to digitise business processes but have too many manual- or paper-based systems? Do data migration or integration issues make digitisation seem as though they’d be too complicated to achieve comprehensive digitisation? Does your current company culture only permit slow change? Here we look at three examples of digital upgrade or digital transformation that were achieved successfully during the Covid pandemic.

The pandemic meant that organisations could no longer postpone digitisation
According to a McKinsey Global Survey, during the Covid pandemic businesses accelerated the digitisation of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by several years.

The urgent aims and objectives included: building business resilience, empowering remote staff and suppliers, providing company-wide workflow visibility, and eliminating the inefficiency of manual processes.

In summary, digitisation became a necessity overnight and technology rose in strategic importance as a critical component of business, and was elevated from being ‘just’ a source of cost efficiencies.

The keys to streamlined digital business are data centralisation and automation that enable businesses to embed best practice and safeguards that protect against mischief and compliance breaches.

Speedy implementation and overcoming complexities prove possible
Scottish housing organisation Hillcrest successfully implemented comprehensive digital processes in Accounts departments across its four businesses in a quarter of the time usually required and allotted.

The pandemic stimulated thinking about business agility and Hillcrest prioritised its plans to upgrade its digital document management, which had been used in the business for ten years, as a means to enhance operations.

Among the Hillcrest project goals were integration with QL Finance and implementing an intelligent OCR solution to capture data contained in 50,000 invoices processed annually.

Overcoming historical process challenges
Historical payment processes created issues such as bottlenecks at every stage, for longer than Hillcrest would have wished. Bottlenecks, in turn, generated repetition and duplication that led to unproductive communication to resolve issues that could have been avoided.

Other historical pitfalls resulted from the proliferation of multiple image and document types.

Automate processes for error-free digital workflows
As for many companies, the Covid-19 outbreak caused business disruption at Hilcrest and remote working exacerbated any process inefficiencies. “Automation became a high priority,” Angela Murphy says. “We viewed this as a sprint project. Speed – managed speed – was of the essence.”

Tim Cowell, Document Logistix CTO, wanted to put on record his appreciation of the effort everyone put into the project. “Both teams played vital roles in making this project a success. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a project that was both a technical challenge and such a pleasure. I am looking forward to working on further enhancements to introduce automation in more business processes.”

Insurance company migrates huge amounts of data in just four days
The usual way to move data from one business to another in the Insurance world is to migrate products and policies at renewal time, which can take eighteen months and up to two years to complete. However, following a merger with Co-op Insurance, Markerstudy opted for a one-hit, big bang approach to data migration.

David Horne, Markerstudy Application Services Team Leader described the project as ‘career defining.’ “We lived and breathed the project, and there were legal deadlines and regulatory mandates to be fulfilled.”

No surprise then that, after migrating 40 million Co-op customer correspondence records (9 TB) working remotely during lock-down, the Markerstudy team exclaimed with delight: “We did it!”

The rules have changed for introducing digitisation from scratch!
Historical expectations and rules surrounding the speed of digital transformation have changed!

During the pandemic, Avara Foods eliminated tonnes of paper from their daily operations and streamlined the HR department to manage 500,000 digital documents and allow for remote working.

The objectives for the new HR system were to have centralised, accessible documents; to comply with GDPR; to make savings by reducing paper and increasing information access speed; to automate governance; and facilitate faster, more accurate audits. 

Governance is an important requirement for Avara Foods, as working with many of the largest supermarkets, the company has to demonstrate it has undertaken mandatory activities such as required training. Document Manager enables the company to identify any gaps and rectify omissions.

This digital transformation webinar recording is an invaluable watch with practical insights for any organisation beginning from scratch or considering the next steps in their digital transformation journey.

What to expect in the Avara Foods webinar recording.
Hear the candid observations of Kimberly Oakman, Head of People Services, and Craig Battison, HR Systems Manager, who describe in detail how Avara Foods introduced digital document management from scratch in the HR department during the pandemic. Topics include:

  • HR systems standardisation
  • Process review and implementation
  • Consultation, training and culture change  
  • Digitising legacy records
  • Document indexing
  • Creating a dashboard
  • Phasing roll-out
  • Enabling fast 24/7 remote access ("a pandemic godsend") 
  • Strengthening compliance and eliminating shadow data
  • Digital benefits to date  
  • Future system potential

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