Before the pandemic, various digital technologies and capabilities were already permeating the physical workplace. Companies needed to accommodate an increasingly mobile workforce, who need to access information via different platforms and devices, while also integrating a growing number of peripheral devices as the Internet of things grew.
While cloud transformation approaches varied, most businesses had already embraced elements of cloud computing. Organisations understood the many benefits offered from this technology deployment model, such as the cost and operational efficiencies and greater flexibility and agility. And they sought to leverage these advantages.
Then Covid-19 changed the dynamic. Meeting lockdown restrictions and social distancing requirements substantially accelerated the need and urgency for businesses to transition to the cloud.
Businesses enabled work-from-home capabilities with various cloud technologies, often in a piecemeal approach.
Now that the dust has settled, business leaders have a clearer understanding of their cloud requirements, and they understand the complexity of transitioning from a physical to a digital workplace.
Organisations that find themselves in this situation need to create a strategic cloud transformation road map to realise end-to-end cloud capabilities. However, many businesses don’t know where to start.
In addition, every cloud transformation initiative holds inherent challenges, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. More importantly, any digital adoption road map must achieve its objectives without impacting operations. It must remain business as usual while organisations untether themselves from the constraints of the physical workplace.
This process typically begins with a thorough assessment of an organisation’s cloud capabilities and existing IT assets and real estate.
This process reveals how companies can leverage existing assets and sweat sunk investments in existing infrastructure and legacy systems while identifying the enabling technologies required to migrate clients from on-premises systems to the hosted environment.
This cloud-readiness assessment must also include a thorough understanding of the structure of a company’s on-site content and information and all data-related processes and procedures. This analysis should look at data holistically to guide subsequent data segmentation and classification initiatives and identify the underlying technologies required to implement and support digital migration.
In this regard, Xerox’s cloud-enabled Intelligent Workplace Services (IWS) solution offers the ideal tool to bridge the physical and virtual work environments. An IWS solution should include applications that can utilise existing hardware to digitise physical documents and records and simplify document management.
These capabilities deliver immediate cost benefits as they leverage physical assets to support a company’s digital migration, thereby mitigating the need to invest in additional assets to realise its strategic cloud transformation objectives.
IWS solution functionality includes easy capturing capabilities from multifunction printers, scanners and mobile devices, and document classification using metadata and tags. Upfront data classification is vital because it streamlines data storage directly to the cloud. This process automatically applies rules related to accessibility, editing and sharing, enhances security and compliance, and simplifies integration in the cloud with automated onboarding.
As companies migrate more content to the cloud, they can start to transition away from on-premises hosted solutions and migrate certain services, data and documentation to the public cloud. The public cloud offers greater flexibility and agility, allowing businesses to implement the next phase in their digitisation plans based on their specific requirements and maturity level.
For instance, with more content and records in the cloud, a document management solution enables mobility. It also provides remote or mobile employees with secure access to critical information from any location via any device or platform.
And staff gain instant access to templates and additional functionality, such as virtual signatures, which significantly improves the user experience and increases the speed at which they can complete tasks.
However, businesses can also choose to retain control of sensitive content, customer data or applications by maintaining certain on-premises solutions with a hybrid cloud deployment model.
The specific cloud topology will vary depending on a business’s individual requirements. And migrating data and services to the cloud offers multiple configuration options based on their level of complexity and their maturity level.
And, once in the cloud, businesses gain unlimited scalability from a services point of view. The solution can grow with the business without onerous upfront capital expenditure by allowing organisations to consume services on demand.
And cloud migration positions businesses favourably to easily integrate additional solutions to enhance their digital capabilities. For instance, companies can integrate intelligent content management solutions that automate alerts for contract retention period reminders or rental lease renewals.
It also becomes possible to analyse digitised company data using analytics tools to yield critical insights and apply a proactive lens to data in real-time to inform strategic decisions, rather than retrospectively analysing data.
While this is the utopian vision for end-to-end cloud enablement, the journey to this point starts by leveraging IWS capabilities to transition one workflow at a time to the cloud, based on an organisation’s budget or adoption constraints.
About Altron Document Solutions
Altron Document Solutions (ADS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company, and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan African countries, offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ADS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron). For more information, please read the latest news about Altron Document Solutions or connect to the company via LinkedIn.
Xerox makes every day work better. We are a workplace technology company building and integrating software and hardware for enterprises large and small. As customers seek to manage information across digital and physical platforms, Xerox delivers a seamless, secure and sustainable experience. Whether inventing the copier, Ethernet, the laser printer and more, Xerox has long defined the modern work experience. Learn how that innovation continues at xerox.com.
- Jonathon Osbourne is executive head for Intelligent Workspace Services at Altron Document Solutions
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