Digital Mail: Do’s and Don’ts for Accelerating Your Digital Transformation
by Ken Neal
March 23, 2022
If you are just beginning your digital transformation journey, the road ahead may seem overwhelming. But every journey — no matter how complex — can be broken down into a series of smaller steps.
That is why paying attention to your first step is crucial. The right first step can lead you to early successes that help you take later steps with confidence — and ensure that you are going in the right direction. Digital mail can be critical to any business’s digital transformation strategy
What is digital mail and why is it so important? Every part of your organization is touched by the mail you send and receive. By scanning and digitizing your physical mail, you can lay a strong foundation for the rest of your transformation, building capability and creating an on-ramp for scaling.
Because digitizing mail is less complex than a full digital transformation, it is a logical way to jump-start your initiative while advancing your organization’s current document management processes. But take that first step with care: Here are a few helpful do’s and don’ts for mail digitalization that can help ensure your success.
When it is done right, digitizing your mail can increase efficiency across your organization, support regulatory compliance requirement, and lead to more sophisticated data utilization. To ensure that you realize the full value of your digital investments, partner with a seasoned digital mail managed services provider.
The right digital mail partner:
- Takes a holistic approach. Transformation is about more than technology. An experienced provider can help you gain a clear understanding of what your people need from their mail, how they interact with their mail, what business processes are necessary to maximize your digital mail program and what the right next step is to create more value.
- Has industry-specific expertise. A digital mail strategy that works in another industry may not be the best fit for yours. Select a partner that has years of experience working across industries and that can help you build a customized plan attuned to your specific needs.
- Helps you envision the future. When you scan physical mail, you create new digital repositories for data. You can then begin classifying that data to make it more actionable, automate manual processes, expedite claims processing, and even apply artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to your data to extract greater insights. Choose a partner that shares your vision and has the knowledge to help you achieve it.
A successful digital transformation always begins with a plan, measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), and a clear understanding of the challenges. To make sure you are on the right path with your digital mail initiative, you need a detailed assessment of your business and its needs. One key reason for this is that digital mail amounts to much more than a technology purchase; it is a complex system also requiring the right people, processes and workflow to make it work effectively.
A digital mail assessment begins by helping you understand the life cycle of mail across your business — how much mail your organization receives, how much of it is business-critical, how it is currently processed and every touchpoint along the way. An assessment can also unlock other opportunities:
- Get a clear view of current processes. Inefficiencies usually stem from broken processes, and an assessment gives you a fresh perspective and helps you identify and remove roadblocks.
- Understand the scope of your needs. To get the most out of digitalization, you need to understand which pieces of mail need to be scanned, how to best leverage a business processing center and how to isolate immediate needs from long-term goals. An assessment also helps you control costs by matching your investment to current maturity levels while still leaving room to scale.
Eliminate internal bias. You live and breathe your business every day, and it can be challenging to maintain a critical eye, avoid assumptions and eliminate habitual mistakes. A digital mail assessment applies a fresh perspective to your business environment, allowing you to review every piece of mail without bias so that there is reduced risk of overlooking an important detail or opportunity.
It is clear that hybrid work models — a combination of in-office and remote work — are here to stay. But the mail still comes to the office. Without employees in that office, near a mailroom, organizations are challenged to get physical mail and documents to the right people in a timely manner. Digital mail can help you bridge this gap and even embrace the benefits of this new reality by:
- Increasing visibility. When the office is no longer the hub for all work, it can be difficult to get a clear sense of whether important mail is being delivered to the right person at the right time. Digital mail ensures safe delivery more quickly and efficiently, so employees don’t lose sight of critical documentation while working remotely.
- Improving process continuity. In recent years, an increase in employee turnover has been a challenge to business continuity and human capital resources. Digital mail helps codify processes to make onboarding smoother and ensure that important details don’t get missed. It also creates opportunities to automate rote tasks and consolidate your digital mailroom.
- Creating more economical operating models. With fewer people in the office, organizations can now save money by decreasing their physical footprint. Digital mail reduces your need for physical, on-site mailrooms and costly storage space — and also reduces your carbon footprint by eliminating unnecessary paper.
Remote work also means that top talent is no longer bound by geography, and changing jobs is much more common. To attract and retain the best and brightest, you must create rich employee experiences that go beyond wages and benefits. Digital mail can help by:
- Reducing friction. Digital mail eliminates the need for employees to pick up mail or access physical documentation to do important work like claims processing, customer service or invoicing.
- Boosting your ability to stay competitive. When the margins separating one employer from another are razor thin, every advantage is important. Talented digital natives want to work for modern companies that are committed to digital transformation and can expand their skill sets.
- Transforming the workspace. With fewer filing cabinets, less paper clutter and more intentional office spaces, companies can create more functional, aesthetically pleasing spaces for greater productivity, lower stress and better collaboration.
Canon Business Process Services was a key partner when one major auto manufacturer underwent a comprehensive workplace experience overhaul. The manufacturer took on an ambitious reinvention of the workplace in order to create more open spaces and eliminate assigned desks to facilitate more employee movement, better teamwork and greater creativity. With Canon’s partnership, the manufacturer was able to significantly reduce its physical mail delivery and cut its physical invoices in half. Over time, Canon helped the company expand its digital imprint by taking on reception and concierge services, and by offering intelligent lockers for secure, self-service storage and package delivery. This in turn reduced touchpoints and created a more seamless employee experience.
At Canon, we understand that every business is unique — and that digital transformation is a complex journey. Digital mail can kick-start your transformation and help you begin to unlock the full potential of your business. We bring our years of experience customizing the digital journey across every industry so you don’t have to walk the path alone. Reach out today to schedule an assessment and learn how Canon Business Process Services can help you take your first step with confidence.