Six ways to achieve digital transformation

, Category: PM     Twitter Facebook Linkedin Google+  


Six ways to achieve digital transformation

Fifty-seven percent of IT leaders say they’re committed to digital transformation, and looking at paper consumption is an essential entry point. By eliminating paper-based processes, you can start digitally transforming your entire organization in a way that’s easy to implement, cost efficient, and beneficial for employee productivity and customer experience alike.

Audit Your Current, Paper-Centric Processes

How much paper is there in your workplace? Where would it make most sense to cut paper?
Start by tackling the small, tangible initiatives that will help you demonstrate quick wins. For example, 45 percent of the paper printed in offices ends up in the trash bin every day, and 30 percent of print jobs are never even picked up by the user. Auditing the processes that produce such waste will give you a clear understanding about your organization’s paper consumption and ultimately help you determine what hardware and software you need (or don't need) to truly go paperless.

Get Buy-In from Leadership and Employees

Share insights from the process audit with leadership and employees, and identify internal champions you can count on to help digitalize paper-based workflows. Strategize with leadership around budget and goals - for example, how soon do you want or need to see ROI? Keep in mind that 59 percent of IT leaders achieved a payback in less than 12 months from their paper-free projects, including 26 percent in six months or less.

Adopt a PDF Editor

PDF is the most ubiquitous document format in the world, with 2.5 trillion being created each year and 73 million new documents saved each day in Google Drive and Mail. Yet, in organizations with 100+ employees, 74 percent of workers don’t have access to a proper PDF editor, and many resort to printing because they can’t properly handle their documents digitally. Equipping all knowledge workers with a powerful PDF tool that enables digital document creation, editing, and collaboration is key to eliminating the use of paper in team document workflows.

Incorporate eSignatures

You can eliminate paper in signature-collection processes by adopting a secure eSigning tool. These tools can play a key role in ground-up digital transformation, as many of them include features that facilitate approval workflows, improve visibility, and offer greater security than paper documents. eSigning can save your business time and money — $20 per signed document, in fact — and reduce document turnaround times by 80 percent, which translates into a better experience for customers.

Standardize on Collaboration Processes

A study from consulting firm McKinsey identified a clear link between collaboration and productivity, as well as innovation. Sharing, reviewing, and storing documents in an ad hoc manner leads to unproductive workflow patterns across an organization. Instead, standardize on a secure cloud-based sharing, storage, and collaboration platform to increase transparency, speed, and accessibility, and enable colleagues to work together better.

Make Paper-Saving Part of the Culture

Get your Human Resources and Corporate Sustainability teams involved in this transformative process. Create competition between departments to track who’s consuming the least paper, or who can devise the best strategy for reducing usage. Making it fun, and sharing the impact of any efforts, will help ensure real and measureable success for your organization.

Innovative collaboration techniques improve productivity across global teams

Process and networking tools improve productivity 20 to 30 percent for global software development teams.


This multinational software company had hundreds of development centers worldwide. The distributed team found it challenging to collaborate effectively and efficiently, with the result that product development timelines were long and costs high. Product managers were increasingly frustrated with the results.

Team members' location in different time zones and continents—even teams in the same location in different buildings—made it hard to efficiently conduct basic requirements gathering, development, and testing. The client asked McKinsey to help the development team increase its efficiency and adopt more productive protocols.


When McKinsey first observed the team in action, a key finding was that the group had few tools to engage in knowledge sharing. The software organization’s high-caliber developers appeared skeptical of any process or work-management tool that they had not developed themselves. In addition, there appeared to be low re-usability of code among multiple product teams. This helped explain the persistent delays in product release.

To overcome these barriers to efficiency and ensure acceptance of improvement solutions, the McKinsey team conducted a series of workshops with testers, developers, and managers to identify issues within the software development lifecycle. The workshops were focused on resolving the eight largest bottlenecks and sources of waste that participants highlighted. In addition to shrinking or eliminating unproductive time, McKinsey also worked with the client to create an organization structure to support development and refinement of ideas to ensure the software team took ownership of and accountability for its work process.

Working together, the McKinsey and client teams implemented multiple initiatives to improve global research and engineering productivity. First, the team defined a set of tools, as well as the best ways to use them, that facilitated more frequent and more personal communications among stakeholders, including:

a social networking site to bring together the more than 20,000 employees worldwide to improve the visibility of individual and team expertise
a remote-team startup kit that defined roles, responsibilities, and best practices to improve dispersed teams' interactions and alignment
a "Digg for developers" blog and a Flickr-based tool to allow sharing of ideas in an informal manner
an RSS / Wiki-based product-specification process to keep product managers and technical folks tightly linked


The new tools and processes eliminated the 20 percent to 30 percent of time that the workshops had identified as wasted. In addition, the team designed a unit within the development organization to support innovation and knowledge sharing. Components included a new innovation center-of-excellence with a flexible staffing model that could bring experts from multiple functions and technical areas together to exchange ideas, leverage best practices, and apply team insight to expedite projects when needed.

Taken together, these initiatives are helping the client refine and speed its software development lifecycle, control costs as employees achieve higher productivity, and meet product release dates more consistently.