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In a highly connected workplace, it’s easy to think your organization has tapped the full potential of the digital age. After all, employees have access to technology that allows them to instantly collaborate across time zones and borders any hour of the day; software programs empower small teams to tackle enormous projects; and hundreds of billions of emails are sent around the world every day.

But the real promise of the digital age is a seamless link between people, systems, data and processes. And while drowning in email is a step up from drowning in paper, it’s still not true transformation – it’s just a different format of transferring information.

Digital transformation should eliminate inefficiencies by automating best practices, and revolutionize the way your organization collects, accesses, and shares information to improve decision making. If your company is still wrestling with any of the following seven challenges, it may be a sign that it’s time for true digital transformation:

Sign #1: Information doesn’t flow freely

One of the strongest indicators that a company merely shifted its old-fashioned manual processes into a digital format is that it’s difficult for employees to find or share the information they need. Information silos – from people who store documents and data on their computers or in their inboxes to line of business systems accessible to only a few – still block your team’s access to data.

When your processes are truly updated, information silos don’t just disappear – they never get the chance to form in the first place. Data is available to support business processes as soon as team members capture it, and everyone on your team knows where to go for easily accessible, up-to-date information. This free access to information enables employees to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently.

Sign #2: Decisions are made without adequate information

When access to updated information is limited or siloed, it can be challenging to make informed decisions. Management teams must choose between three bad options: make a decision without knowing the accuracy of the data, wait for more data to come in, or make a decision without data at all.

Automated forms, which capture data as it is collected for up-to-the-minute accuracy, enable leaders to make informed decisions about mission-critical processes. They gain access not just to more information – which could be overwhelming – but to information that provides more insight and context for informed decision-making. If you spend more time hunting for information to support a decision, than making the actual informed decision itself, you haven’t yet achieved true digital transformation.

Sign #3: Customer onboarding limits earning potential

When it comes to onboarding customers, time is money. A long customer onboarding limits your company’s earning potential because it requires your team to start working long before it gets paid. A truly transformed customer onboarding process allows you to capture customer data as efficiently as possible, cutting down the onboarding process from months to weeks or days to hours.

For example, when a billion-dollar financial service company first met with the Velocity Forms team, it was taking them up to four and a half weeks to onboard new clients from the moment the client walked in and signed to when the business was able to begin investing the customers money. Using Velocity Forms, that company was able to streamline their onboarding program and cut down the processing time to less than 5 days, an 83% reduction in time between the initial customer signing and active asset management.

Sign #4: Employee onboarding paralyzes progress

A haphazard employee onboarding process may not appear to have a specific price tag tied to it, but consider the cost of lost work hours when it takes 14 days to get a new employee up to speed. If employees show up for work without access to the tools they need, like security badges, laptops, and email access, it will take them that much longer to become a functioning member of the team.

An efficient and automated employee onboarding process allows employees at any level to be 100% functional at work from day one. In fact, at 5th Method, new employees come into work already getting automated email updates – they’re plugged into the system, and they know how to access the information they need to perform their job right away. That’s digital transformation.

Sign #5: Knowledge worker turnover is a big liability

There’s only so much valuable information an organization can capture in an exit interview when an employee leaves or is terminated. And when about 10,000 seasoned knowledge workers retire every day, it should be no surprise that many organizations struggle to keep critical business processes up and running. It takes a significant investment in time and resources to onboard a new employee and get them up to speed in a specific role.

Organizations can protect themselves by digitally transforming their approach to knowledge management, taking knowledge and actions out of the hands of individual employees and organizing them into automated, structured processes that can quickly be passed to new employees when the need arises. With such a process in place, companies can lose an employee one day and replace them the next, easily navigating the uncertainty that comes from increasing levels of knowledge worker turnover.

Sign #6:  Business Processes are Manual and not Automated

Another indicator a company has achieved ‘digital transfer’ and not true digital transformation

is that information and work still primarily flow through email. Critical information is often locked up in file attachments and email threads, unavailable to the full scope of people, systems and processes that need timely access to the data.

Sign #7: You still operate in an ‘hours, days and weeks’ world instead of a ‘seconds, minutes and hours’ world

If you still send emails to colleagues, vendors, and customers and wait for the typical untimely responses that support critical business processes, you probably haven’t achieved digital transformation.

If any of these issues sound familiar, your organization has not reached the final step in your digital journey. Look beyond emailing documents and PDFs to true digital transformation, and you’ll never look back.