Where do I start with Digital Transformation?

13 May 2021

Do these terms make you want to hide away until it’s all over?

Even though digital transformation is the new buzzword of 2020 and beyond, it came into being for a reason. Most people are starting to realise that this isn’t just a trend that will make way for the next hot topic soon. Digital transformation is here to stay and the sooner we as business owners and decision makers embrace this, the better.

But where does one start? There are thousands of pages full of information and it is becoming increasingly difficult to know which ones to trust. They all seem to speak with such authority about the matter and make suggestions for software, solutions, platforms, services… to a point where you feel more confused than before. So instead of reading yourself into a frenzy, take a few steps back…

When we break the concept down into steps, it becomes a lot clearer what needs to be done. And it is not so daunting anymore because you don’t have to do it all at once. It is important, before you take the first step, to know what you want as an end-goal for your business. A basic breakdown would look like this:

Capture all your physical data.

To bring your business into the digital age, your first step is very simple – scan your documents.

Before you run out and buy any consumer household scanner, consider how you will want to use the data once it is digital. Do you have rooms full of documents? If so, you will need to consider not only the time it will take to digitise it, but also the space the digital files will need on a storage drive. High volume dedicated scanners with compression software will solve both these problems. Are your documents in irregular formats? ID books or cards, fragile papers, bound books… there are dedicated scanners available for every need.

Once you’ve determined and procured the necessary hardware and your data is in digital format, you need to decide how and if you will need to access said data. This is where the software comes in.

Accessing your digital data

Some dedicated scanners come with bundled software that will index and save to specific folders as you scan. Some will have optional additional software that will add an OCR layer (optical character recognition) An OCR layer will recognise characters and symbols from almost all well known languages and it basically turns your scanned image into text format so that you can search your documents for key phrases. If you need to regularly access the data you digitise and need to extract specific data from your documents, OCR technology is a must. Be sure to choose your hardware to be compatible with more advanced software.

Now that you know what you want your hardware and software to do, you need to figure out whether it will need to integrate with existing solutions you are already using. There are many solutions developed for specific industries and others who serve a broader market. If you speak to an authorative consultant who has been operating in the digital environment for a decade or longer, they will help you break this process down in steps and choose the right solution for your budget and needs.  

In conclusion: Don’t fret. Avoid analysis paralysis. We all have our strengths and focus. If digital solutions aren’t yours, find an experienced authority you can trust and discuss your needs and options with them.

Written by Hanlie van Schalkwyk

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