How to Turn Your Company Into a Digital Powerhouse

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
digital powerhouse

Digital technologies are changing the enterprise, but turning your company into a digital powerhouse presents new challenges and requires new ways of thinking.

By connecting policy information, authorizations and key cloud applications and databases—and adjusting workflows to take advantage of the technology—the company's loss control group has condensed a process that could take 30 days into two or three days. Along the way, it has trimmed costs and improved accuracy. Moreover, "Everything is digital, accessible and in one place," Blauvelt says.

In fact, AEGIS is now paperless. The integrated claims process spans multiple systems, including a data warehouse, contact management application, underwriting application and financial systems. This has resulted in overall productivity gains exceeding 40 percent, Blauvelt says. It also has helped build a foundation for faster development cycles and universal standardization across the organization.

Finally, the company has turned to human resources, payroll and expense clouds. "Information is accessible quickly and easily," Blauvelt reports. "We can pull up reports in minutes that previously took a few weeks, and we have one version of the truth."

Embracing Digital Disruption

Building a more agile and flexible framework requires a strategy and buy-in from business and IT leaders, EY America's Nichols says. Systems and processes must be built with security in mind, but they also must allow employees and customers to do the things they need—and want—to do.

"Smarter and more forward CIOs work to understand how to build systems and address challenges in a way that satisfies the user community and eliminates the need for workarounds and policy violations," Nichols says, adding that policies must be embedded in systems and workflows at an organic level. "Once you start plugging the holes in the boat, you're in trouble because you will be plugging the new ones as fast as you're finished with the old ones," he warns.

Accenture's Burden says that achieving a digital enterprise requires both a vision and an ability to hit constantly moving targets. It's wise, he says, to understand not only what industry peers are doing, but also what younger and more agile startups—essentially the digital disrupters—are doing.

Within an agile framework, it's crucial to understand how new methods supplant older and less efficient ways of doing things. For instance, crowdsourcing and social listening can reduce—if not replace—the need for focus groups and questionnaires.

"Business leaders must take the time to identify the right mix of technologies and tools for their specific needs," Burden advises, "and then put them to work in a disruptive way."

This article was originally published on 2014-04-23

Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for Baseline.

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