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How Transformers movie can guide digital transformation

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By Monique Williams, regional manager at Hyland Southern Africa

There are parallels that can be drawn between the requirements for true digital transformation and the story of the “Transformers” – the characters who can convert from ordinary objects into powerful robots, or sentient beings sent from outer space to save our planet. As technology professionals, it is our responsibility to continue to push business forward and transform to stay relevant and ensure business revolution.

A content strategy that includes using document management tools, file shares and email, things that were revolutionary 20 years ago, might still be functional. However, a strategy based on those tools alone might no longer offer a competitive advantage because they are no longer the powerful, efficiency-increasing tools they once were.

Creating an organisation vision for managing related digital content, where companies are merely storing content for the sake of storing content, is no longer a valid concept. Instead, you must deliberately and intelligently connect and present content in a single, complete view.

In the Transformers story, there are three signs for the young protagonist, Sam, that Bumblebee, the dusty old Camaro, could transform into an intelligent, world-saving robot. First, the car began to drive itself; second, it could intelligently speak or play music to express its mood; and third, it finally transformed its entire appearance.

IT professionals should look for the same signs when interacting with their content to determine whether they have completed true digital transformation. Here’s what you should look for:

1. Content that drives itself

When you have fully transformed your content and information management strategy, the content will start to drive itself throughout the organisation. Once captured into a central repository, it will find its way to the appropriate personnel, wherever they might be, with specific business criteria automatically pushing it through its journey.

At this stage, any “human questions” should be answered digitally by technology. For instance, in the case of an invoice, this includes questions like, “Was this an approved order?”, “Did we receive what we ordered?” or “Do we qualify for early payment discount?”. These are business conditions stored somewhere, and if everything checks out then the payment can be automatically processed, without human intervention.

2. Content that speaks to those who need it

When you automate content flowing through an organisation, it will talk to you. In an organisation that is digitally transformed, systems should send notifications to the appropriate employees or audience when something has changed, such as someone submitting a form. Moreover, as someone needs to review or act on a piece of content, that content should find its way to that user through email notifications that give them all they need to complete the task at hand, including all related content.

For instance, during a hiring process, after the initial checks and balances have been put in place, prior applications have been gathered, and a recruiter has verified an application, the hiring manager for that position receives a notification that there is an applicant to review. Upon clicking the link, they will not only see the application but they’ll see all the contextual content, including notes from the HR recruiter who performed a phone interview. Perhaps most importantly, through automation in the systems, an applicant can receive regular updates with regards to the application through email or text message.

3. The content transforms in appearance

Digital information is not digital transformation. That transformation is only complete when the experience of users interacting with that information has completely changed. It might seem like a small difference when you look at the words, but the rubber hits the digital transformation road when users have instant access to the digital information they need, when and where they need it.

Just as important, the technology you utilise should provide views of information that help put context around content, through visuals like dashboards and maps. Users should have a clear picture of information that helps them immediately make decisions instead of needing to analyse individual pieces of content in separate locations.

Just like there’s an army of Transformers, it’s important to realise that this evolution can involve an army of multiple technology solutions. And, like the army of Transformers, it is critical that as you digitally transform, you make sure all your systems are integrated, ensuring you have truly connected your business-critical content and information.

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