How to put digital transformation into practice? Three customer case studies of streamlined internal processes based on the Alfresco One platform.
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No business sector is immune to the pressure of digitization these days. From transportation (Uber) through retail (Amazon, Zalando) to tourism (Booking.com), transform their processes in order to stay relevant. In the first digitization wave, companies typically focused on the direct customer experience and transformed their windows to the world: they invested in analytics to better understand and meet customer needs, improved and accelerated customer service by digitizing customer touchpoints, and made sure their message was consistent over different channels. For many companies this first wave is still on the top of their digital agenda today.
Where does your customer experience end?
While implementing this first wave, many enterprises have, however, started to realize that the customer experience does not stop at their websites, marketing departments or sales force. Improving the overall customer experience is only possible when the customer touchpoints are aligned with internal operational processes. If internal processes are heavy, paper-based, non-transparent and not flexible enough to allow for efficient collaboration, then customer experience management is no more than a facade.
Where can you profit from digitizing your internal processes? – 4 key benefits
A second wave of digitization is, therefore, focusing on the internal processes which should not only have effect on the customer, but also on the employee experience. The drivers of this internal digital transformation wave are plenty:
- Business processes are more and more collaborative: they require both internal and external partners (freelancers, vendors, partners, customers) to work together and share information in real time. These collaborative processes cannot be supported by paper, which would slow down the entire cycle.
- Digital organizations thrive because they are data-driven: there’s a growing need for insight to continuously optimize and accelerate processes. Real-time insight is only feasible in a digitized environment, where processes are monitored and status information is available at the employee’s and manager’s fingertips.
- Nowadays work is something you do, not a place you go to. The ability to get work done irrespective of location or time is crucial for ensuring smooth processes. Just think about the efficiency gains when a salesperson has direct access to all data during a customer visit, or when a technical service engineer can consult detailed plans when repairing a windmill in the field.
- Finally, modern organizations also understand the value of employee experience. Giving employees the digital tools to work efficiently and flexibly increases motivation and engagement. Motivated and engaged employees will, in turn, provide superior service to generate happy customers.
In short, a digital transformation of internal process and even business models is necessary to bridge the gap between the organization’s internal world and the external-facing customer experience.
Turning technology into business transformation – 3 case studies
But how do we put this internal digital transformation into practice? Let us take you to a journey with three of our customers who streamlined their internal processes based on the Alfresco One platform. Alfresco One is an open enterprise content management (ECM) platform that makes it particularly easy to develop applications on top of it. In addition, Alfresco is tightly integrated with Activiti, a powerful business process management (BPM) platform.
Below you can get to know three projects where we looked at each organization's challenges and took advantage of both aspects to build more modern business applications, which truly streamlined processes and transformed the way employees did their daily jobs and converted them in improved results.
Moving from paper to digital insurance underwriting with Alfresco at Credendo Group
Credendo Group is the official Belgian export credit agency. Its mission is to provide companies and banks with trade credit insurance against medium-term and long-term political and commercial risks worldwide.
An important aspect of the insurance process is the evaluation of insurance requests, looking at the feasibility and determining the pricing (underwriting and account management). Within Credendo, this underwriting process was still largely paper-based, which led to a number of important issues:
- Low employee experience: information needed to make decisions was spread over multiple sources - paper, file shares, SAP, etc. The paper files even made remote decision-making nearly impossible. These aspects made it very hard for employees to work efficiently.
- Process inefficiency: as a result of this inefficiency, there were long lead times between insurance requests and the resulting proposals, when speed is of major importance in the sector.
- Lack of data and insight: finally, there was a sheer lack of insight into the status of individual cases and the performance of underwriting as a whole. Customer calls for status information could not be swiftly answered nor did management have a good view on overall performance.
AMPLEXOR led the underwriting department at Credendo through a digital transformation programme and introduced a case management solution based on Alfresco One. Within six months, the underwriting process was completely digitized, information from SAP and other sources was integrated to give employees a comprehensive view on information, and a transparent reporting functionality allowed employees and managers to have detailed insight into progress and performance. Most importantly, lead times for insurance proposals were dramatically improved, thus serving customers in a much better way.
Case management with Alfresco for the Public Centre of Welfare of Ghent
With 2.000 employees and tens of thousands of clients calling upon their social services, the Public Centre of Welfare of Ghent, in Belgium, had to deal with a lot of paperwork. When AMPLEXOR was consulted to lead the organization into the digital age, they were managing a paper archive of active cases stretching for 400 meters – literally a wall of paper! Moreover, decentralization of offices was a major hurdle.
As the Centre wants to offer its services to clients in their own surroundings and neighborhood, it maintains about 40 offices in the Ghent area. Since the paper files were centrally stored, a constant back-and-forth transport of paper cases between the central storage and city offices was organized. It goes without saying that this approach was far from ideal for both social workers and their clients: the social workers had no real-time insight into the client’s file and needed to organize their personal follow-up system, while the clients often had to wait for feedback and had the risk that confidential information would leak due to lost paper files.
AMPLEXOR helped the Public Centre of Welfare of Ghent to take the digital leap. A digital case management system based on a combination of Alfresco One and Kofax Capture now allows social workers:
- Real-time access to all client data and documents from any location, which leads to faster decisions and the ability to dedicate more time to assisting clients.
- A personalized dashboard allowing for follow-up on cases within the system.
- Automated history tracking that provides them with a complete insight into how the case evolved over time in order to support their decisions.
The introduction of the case management system had an enormous impact on the daily tasks of all social workers. Due to a strong focus on usability, combined with extensive change management, the system was easily accepted and now manages several million documents in around 15.000 active cases with an increased service level for customers.
Creating a digital mailroom with Alfresco for the city of Ghent
For the city of Ghent, AMPLEXOR also developed and implemented a digital mailroom based on Alfresco One and Kofax.
Even if we live in the so-called digital age, the large and vibrant city of Ghent receives a lot of non-digital correspondence. This led to two major concerns:
- Belgian law requires that public organizations keep a register of all incoming and outgoing mail. This level of transparency and accountability was impossible to achieve in a setting where the distribution of mail items was paper-driven.
- More importantly, paper mail distribution is inefficient: it requires considerable manual handling and transport, difficults multiple departments collaborating on the same incoming paper request, and makes it impossible to have a real-time insight into the process status of individual item handling.
In short, paper-based mail distribution just slowed down the processes and consequently hampered the citizens’ experience.
AMPLEXOR implemented a digital mailroom system which allows for a fast and transparent distribution of mail items in digital form. Kofax is first used to digitize the paper documents and deliver the digital documents to Alfresco. Within Alfresco, specific pages are being used for easy routing and assignment of the digital items to departments or individual employees. Moreover, each step in the process is tracked in a history log and an advanced search functionality is available so that civil servants have a real-time and complete insight into the processing status of each item, for example, when answering a citizen’s phone call. Rolled-out in a gradual way, the system now has around 4.000 users and contains millions of digital mail items.
About the author
Tom Laureys is Solution Manager ECM at AMPLEXOR based in Belgium. For the past 10 years, Tom has been helping clients across industries find the right technology to effectively digitize their business processes and improve collaboration and productivity. His combination of strategic thinking and expertise in a range of platforms - from Alfresco and Documentum to SharePoint and Office 365 – grant him the capacity to capture new trends on the market and turn them into solutions for our customers.