Our Perspective: Managing the Shift to a Fully Digital Work Environment (During a Pandemic!)
Hi there – we’re writing to you directly today with a post from our team based on our experience in transforming digitally as a company as well as leading digital transformations and remote work transitions for our clients. We hope our unique insight is valuable to you!
If you had told us that a global pandemic would soon put our leadership, team, and business through the ultimate test, we would not have believed you! But had we believed you, and had we known such a big test was coming, would we have done anything differently? We agree that it’s comforting to look back on what our team and company has experienced over the past seven+ months and be able to answer that question with certainty: no.
We realize our experience of both shifting our internal team to remote and digital work while helping countless clients do the same through digitizing their processes is not commonplace. We wanted an opportunity to share the lessons we’ve learned along the way in the hopes that these learnings may help other businesses stay prepared to operate continuously at the speed of digital.
Digital is essential now and for the future
Paper and paper-based processes are a form of business “debt” placing and keeping a measurable burden on operations. Making the paper-to-digital move not only eliminates this burden, it also unlocks the content’s value that is trapped on paper. The shift to digital creates long term value for businesses — the pandemic has exacerbated the importance of not delaying the shift.
That shift for our internal team as well as assisting Image API’s clients through digital transformations has helped us to understand why working at the speed of digital is essential to modern teams, whether it’s during a life-changing pandemic or not.
When we talk about shifting to digital, there are multiple components that must be considered to truly create long-term value. Three areas that are particularly important for businesses are:
- Digital – Both digital content and processes are essential for enabling remote teams. Paper-based processes simply do not work efficiently in a remote environment, so digitizing as many paper documents and processes is a necessity to truly enable work remotely successfully.
- Cloud – The cloud delivers a secure, compliant, and scalable infrastructure at the most efficient economics, making information accessible to those with the appropriate levels of access anytime, anywhere. Storing digital content in the cloud is the only way to truly secure your content while making in accessible for remote teams.
- Technology – Tools that work together intelligently and partners that architect a successful shift to digital are the final piece of the puzzle. Of particular note is a SaaS model, which places the burden of software upkeep and hosting on your technology partner, not your IT department. Click here to learn more about the benefits of SaaS for content services.
Taking Image API through a shift to a digital-first work environment
We believe digital is the best form of preparedness for our clients, and we felt it necessary that we, too, must be a digital-first business to enable our clients to do the same. Through the leadership of our CEO, Lawson Ellinor and support of our entire Image API team, we made the transition to a digital-first work environment. What does that transition actually entail? Here are three key takeaways that helped us begin our move to digital on the right foot:
What were we using? Was it working for us? Were there gaps that could be filled by technology to help us work faster? We wrote it all down and made the choice to trim what wasn’t serving our organization while investing in tools that would ensure business continuity and help us reduce the amount of paper we used as well as reduce our paper-based processes.
Following our technology assessment, we brought on tools to help the company work more efficiently. Some examples include Slack, an instant communication platform to help our teams across Florida, Texas, and those working remotely communicate more easily. We also brought on tools to help our HR, Finance and Accounting, and Development teams reduce manual processes and work more efficiently.
Any organization committing to a digital-first work environment will experience a change in culture, and our team was committed to being an example of what digital can look like for our clients. After challenging ourselves to start thinking differently (and digitally), we reduced the few lingering paper documents and paper-based processes that we still relied on.
The key to our success here was that our team was empowered to come up with their own ideas on how to work better digitally, and no idea was a bad idea. Tapping into the expertise of our own in-house digital experts made our transition to digital successful, as well as making it fun — let’s just say that any team member using the printer did not go unnoticed.
Our preparedness ensured business continuity, which meant we were ready to help our clients when they needed us most
Day in and day out, we help others find ways to use digital to become more efficient. We are the experts. After using this internal expertise to methodically make our own shift to digital, when the pandemic hit, the transition to remote work was seamless for most of our business. Since the majority of the team was able to work from home without interruption, we had the needed bandwidth to make plans for the portion of the business that could not work from home.
The quick transition was key for our business to continue to run without interruption, and put us in a place where we were ready to help our customers make the transition to remote work at a time when they needed us the most.
Our top five takeaways on managing a shift to digital (during a pandemic!)
- A business continuity plan is a must. Typically, we see clients that provide essential services or who live in areas at risk of natural disaster understand the importance of a business continuity plan (this goes double for clients that check both of those boxes.) Now, it’s clear that no one is immune from major business interruptions. (Click here for help creating your business continuity plan.)
- A cultural shift is essential, and the pandemic has actually helped with this. The pandemic has helped many to understand that now is the time to act. Challenge team members to get involved in digital processes and to come up with creative ideas to work differently.
- A phased approach to a digital transformation creates quick wins and more long term value. You don’t have to do it all at once, and if you feel that you do, you’ll probably be so overwhelmed that you won’t start at all. Digital transformation success happens when approached in phases. If you want help on where to start, check out our blog post on which paper-based processes to digitize first.
- Paper and paper-based processes are a form of business “debt” placing and keeping a measurable burden on operations. Making the paper-to-digital move not only eliminates this burden, but it also unlocks the full value of your content, so business can work at the speed of digital!
- It’s never too late to start your digital transformation, but all signs point to NOW! It can mean the success or failure of your business.
Moving forward: what we’re certain about amidst uncertainty
What COVID-19 has taught us all is that the only thing we can count on is change. This realization has confirmed and encouraged our passion about our company mission: We are ready. Our incredible, passionate, hard-working, and reliable team has brought this mission to life more than ever over the last seven months. We are certain that we are ready to help our clients work better and at the speed and power of digital now and in the future.
Now is the best time to start or improve your organization’s commitment to digital content, processes, and business continuity!
Thank you for reading! We’d love to know what you’ve learned through your own shifts — connect with Image API on LinkedIn and share your experience.
The Image API Team