Digital transformation is an overused buzzword. Digital transformation is simply giving your users the ability to work electronically, and by doing so, to be more efficient and productive. In addition, the pandemic accelerated adoption of digital technologies — pushing organizations across all industries to quickly roll out new cloud services to better accommodate remote work and ensure business continuity.

Even when the pandemic is behind us, it’s widely accepted that the cloud-enabled workplace is here to stay. With this in mind, what do organizations need to do to continue their cloud adoption as the dust settles?

Navigating the Road Ahead

Cloud usage can’t slide back. Instead, now is the time to develop new cloud workflows that create value, efficiencies and result in further transformation. This effort will require putting certain foundational tools in place that enable information workers to quickly and easily collaborate on content and initiate workflows from anywhere. In other words, the path to IT modernization in the cloud must begin with the systems that not only store and process business-critical content and data — but do much, much more with it.

As a result of the remote work boom, businesses realize that much of their business-critical information is spread across a variety of systems and platforms, or in some cases, not even digitized. Connecting all this content and data across disparate sources within the company is a significant challenge. The question now is how to connect this patchwork of information and provide ubiquitous, intuitive access to all employees — making information and insights available whenever and wherever they need it.

To enable this collaborative workplace nirvana, enterprises need to consider four key strategic initiatives:

1. Future-Proof Your IT Stack With the Cloud
Modern cloud solutions are designed to work as part of a connected IT ecosystem, and organizations must ensure that all aspects of their IT stack can operate in an optimal manner within this environment.

Many organizations have been reticent to modernize their legacy document management systems, especially if they have made heavy investments in complex on-premises systems that failed to deliver on expectations or that have embarked on daunting migration projects that did not go as smoothly as promised by vendors. The reality is that existing solutions still provide value to many organizations. But even in these instances, the price tag for ongoing maintenance, the cost of having to commit internal and external resources for support, the expensive hardware required to run legacy solutions, and lack of integration are issues that organizations must still contend with.

A more effective approach is to adopt cloud platforms with robust APIs that work in harmony with existing legacy systems until the time is right for them to be retired. This provides a low-risk approach to modernization that allows organizations to migrate content and data from older legacy systems at a pace and manner that best fits their needs — versus the often painful “rip-and-replace” model.

2. Go Low Code or Bust
Low-code platforms offer more flexibility and control — and require less IT expertise and involvement — than traditional custom-code alternatives. With an agile system that is easy to configure, users are empowered to choose, implement and integrate the specific templates and workflows they need, when they need them. Instead of being overwhelmed by a complex system, information workers can naturally find ways to adapt the system to their own needs.

What’s more, low-code platforms drive user buy-in. When employees are involved in designing and initiating their own workflows, they inherently have more stake in the system because they have a sense of ownership.

3. Stay in the Security Lane
Any organization deploying a cloud-based content services platform must ensure it addresses the necessary compliance, privacy and security controls. Companies should not attempt to reinvent the wheel and instead rely on solutions that leverage the security and compliance investment that Microsoft has made in Azure.

To date, Microsoft has invested over one billion dollars in research and development for security and compliance, and this investment is baked into Azure. Protection is delivered at a software level and across physical data centers, infrastructure and operations. Independent audit reports verify that Azure adheres to numerous security, compliance, privacy and regulatory standards. It is pretty much impossible for any one organization to match this hardened level of defense with their own IT infrastructure.

4. Fuel Up on AI
Deploying a platform that blends intelligent capture, AI-powered classification, data extraction and RPA-enabled workflows will deliver immediate value. Modern cloud solutions that feature innovative technology for intelligently automating repetitive, mundane tasks are a must for modernizing an IT environment.

AI-infused information management platforms can be trained to recognize, identify, classify and process high volumes of incoming documents from any source to accelerate decision making, enhance customer service and drive innovation within a company.

An effective approach to modernization should begin with a content-first strategy. Organizations will benefit from having an agile low-code solution that meets today’s robust security and compliance requirements, as well as one that integrates innovative technologies like AI. Documents and information are the lifeblood of any organization’s day-to-day existence. Making sure both flow as efficiently as possible should be an essential goal of digital transformation.

Since KnowledgeLake’s inception in 1999, Ron Cameron, president and co-founder, has taken great pride in creating a positive company culture where employee and customer satisfaction are the highest priority. KnowledgeLake is a cloud-native solution for document processing that enables organizations to capture, process and manage their content in a single platform. The company combines intelligent document capture and robotic process automation (RPA) to increase productivity. Two million users worldwide employ KnowledgeLake to work faster and more efficiently.
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