In today’s age, going digital is a cultural transformation fundamentally changing the way we all communicate.
More importantly, our customers expect us to communicate in their new preferred channel.
In many cases, this omnichannel experience bridges in-person, phone, email, text, and social media.
To ensure your organization keeps up with the speed of innovation it’s important to take the leap from paper to digital.
Paper processes are the basis for all processes.
These are the years, if not generations, of hard work designing a system that not only works, defines that what makes us different from the competition.
It’s important not to compromise who we are for the sake of change.
Instead, the digital divide should only support the special sauce of success.
To start the process, consider documenting a Customer Journey Map.
Often started on a whiteboard, it starts with a high-level depiction of the key steps a customer goes through when interacting with your company.
The main pillars are sales, operations, and administration.
After the basics are established, fill in additional process steps such as marketing, estimating, project conversion, product ordering, securing permits, scheduling production crews, delivery of materials, start day activities, daily job site reports, project completion, invoicing, collections, and warranty issuance.
Lastly, create a bullet list of the steps each person in your company takes during each phase.
Swim lanes are a great way to diagram the process and create a flow chart showing all processes to convert.
Each icon on the swim lane represents a process to digitize.
Gather the papers used currently for each step into a single document.
As you review each paper file, keep in mind that going digital also provides for additional automated benefits including dynamic form fill, verification of information entered, and automatic delivery of documents.
When you discover opportunities to utilize these features, make a note on the paper forms.
Digitizing physical paper documents is possible through various scanner software systems, often called OCR.
However, it’s my experience that it’s just easier to manually retype them.
Digital process software has come a long way since the early days of business process programs.
Today’s systems are highly agile, talk to other programs seamlessly, allowing for highly customizable automation, and are easy to self-program.
My suggestion for the first step into this world is picking a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system; often referred to as XRM, whereas “X” represents anything.
In our own company, the software we use, Microsoft Dynamics 365, is the same software Interpol (International Police) uses to track international criminals; far from a “customer."
The point is these software platforms can track anything, including your entire customer journey from marketing, sales, nurturing, opportunities, leads, and estimates to job preparation, scheduling, dispatch, ordering, invoicing, collections, and warranty cases.
Many software packages even come with an out-of-the-box entity-to-entity path making it easy to start using immediately without any customization at all.
Your team just renames a few fields and you're off to digital success.
Through the use of Automated Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Automation (Built-in programming to automatically complete tasks based on pre-programmed triggers) going from paper to digital is just the start of making the jump to a technologically advanced company.
If you have questions about this article or would like help with your journey from paper to digital, email [email protected].
I’m happy to share our success and help point you in the right direction based on your unique circumstances.