Embracing the human side of digital transformation @ #AIIM19

When you hear the words “digital transformation,” what vision first comes to mind?

Is it one of technology, of IT leaders forging new ground with cutting-edge solutions to pursue a cloud-first, collaborative, mobile-ready new reality? Or is it one of people, of more satisfied employees with intuitive solutions and information at their fingertips, of happier customers receiving better service and more personalized interactions?

At this year’s AIIM Conference last week in San Diego, while plenty of technology talk was about the agenda, the buzz was definitely slanted toward the latter: People.

Across roundtables, breakout sessions, keynotes and hallway conversations, the human side of digital transformation – the impact on both internal employees and external stakeholders/customers – was clearly on everyone’s minds.

Embracing the human side of digital transformation

During the conference, I had the opportunity to moderate a roundtable on intelligent automation and where people fit into the picture – namely, how human experiences and knowledge are still key, even with emerging “smart” technologies like intelligent capture and robotic process automation (RPA). It wasn’t a tremendous surprise that the conversation in the room rapidly turned from talk about how, where and why to apply these types of technologies to talk about change management and the human element – how to engage and involve the end users while implementing any new capability, product or solution.

One roundtable participant admitted that his end users were concerned about how intelligent automation capabilities might replace or minimize their current positions, a sentiment that was echoed by other people in the room. Others jumped in to respond that these capabilities actually support (not replace) human interaction, automating tedious or repetitive tasks so workers can focus on more value-added activities, like providing customer service.

A few participants even shared some best practices based on their own personal and professional experiences with technological transformation. These included giving end users concrete, specific examples of the new tasks or more meaningful work they’ll be able to accomplish with new solutions on their side, as well as identifying, educating and empowering internal champions on the business side of the house to help lead the change effort.

In the end, the general consensus was that humans and intelligent technologies can live – and even thrive – side-by-side, but any organization looking to implement a new solution needs to do so with empathy, understanding and business user involvement from discovery on.

Who are the intelligent automators?

The next day, in a packed breakout session, Hyland Product Evangelist Colleen Alber directly addressed our roundtable participants’ general question: Will intelligent machines replace intelligent information management professionals?

While taking attendees on an existential journey on the meaning of life and sharing real-world examples on how we can apply transformative capabilities like AI, machine learning and robotic process automation, Alber came to a few profound conclusions:

  • When it comes to what’s really important in embarking on any information management initiative, it’s ultimately all about the customer – whether those customers are patients, students, clients or constituents. Keeping the customer top of mind throughout technology decisions and solution implementations will be a guiding light for an organization’s digital transformation strategy.
  • As information management professionals, we have a unique skillset and an opportunity to understand and apply technology via strategic solutions that solve problems across our organizations. We are the intelligent automators.
  • Emerging technologies – like AI, machine learning and RPA – will be invaluable in empowering our skilled workers to spend less time on tedious tasks and more time on interactions and decision-making that require a human touch, knowledge and expertise. It’s a win-win.

Alber was joined by Bob Walters, business analyst for Heinen’s Grocery Stores, who helped drive the digital transformation-customer connection home by sharing how the organization’s cloud-based HR solution ultimately equipped its employees to drive better customer experiences.

The human element

Does focusing on people to ensure success sound like a plan? Click here to register for a webinar encore of this exciting session on April 25th at 1:00 p.m. ET.

At the end of the conference – and at the end of the day – it was clear that the human element is a key part (dare I say the most important part) of any organization’s digital transformation journey. This means making strategic technology decisions while keeping user needs in mind, and implementing the appropriate tools to empower employees and drive better customer experiences and interactions.

After all, if a technology initiative isn’t going to help you focus on the human side of business – both internal and external customers – should you even be pursuing it?

Amanda Ulery

Amanda Ulery

In her more than seven (wonderful) years at Hyland, Amanda Ulery has taken on the mission of sharing the business value of Hyland solutions with anyone who will listen. The proud manager of the product marketing team, she has a background in integrated marketing, the stubborn focus (and eye for detail) of an ex-journalist and the goal of helping the world realize how Hyland solutions can truly transform the way we work.

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