Digital Mail: Critical to Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
by Ken Neal
November 4, 2021
Advancing a digital transformation strategy is essential for the growth of your business. If you’ve already started your journey, you may think you’ve left no stone unturned in the hunt for digital value. But for many organizations, the mail room is an overlooked area, and including it in your transformation can become a key differentiator in your digital transformation journey or roadmap.
Digitizing critical documents allows you to better support the customer experience and streamline internal processes. Valuable consumer correspondence, including applications, contracts and important but unstructured data, all come into your business daily through physical mail. Getting that information into the right workflows accurately and quickly allows you to create much needed efficiencies.
That’s why winning organizations view digital mail as the secret gateway to a holistic digital transformation strategy. It can help you realize early, tangible returns by eliminating the need for expensive storage space, increasing efficiency, reducing processing time, and building collaboration through fast shared access to business-critical information. But beyond these sources of value, digital mail can also help you overcome long-term challenges to your digital transformation strategy.
Digitizing your mail is a stealth enabler for your digital transformation roadmap because it helps you break through a wide variety of common barriers, including:
- Limited organizational view: As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know, and paper documentation is often just “the mail” for many companies. These organizations may have an incomplete view of what’s actually happening across their enterprise, so it’s very difficult for them to identify and prioritize the best processes to target for optimization and automation. This is especially the case as more workforces operate remotely or in a hybrid office setting. Digital mail makes data that was once in paper form instantaneously searchable, helping you identify and understand which processes and efficiencies have the biggest impact so you can tackle them first.
- Fragmented customer experience: Today’s tech-savvy customers demand a timely response and intuitive experience. If you don’t have fully digitized mail, information moves more slowly, causing longer response times to customers and key segments of your customer base. Digital mail quickly converts physical mail into digital form and delivers it to employees electronically, getting customer information quickly into the hands of those who can take action.
- Overlooked insights: A great deal of business intelligence is captured in billing statements and invoices. Invoices may show changes to buying habits that can help improve your inventory management. Delayed payments shown on billing statements may reflect deeper pain points for your customers that need to be addressed. Digital mail captures these insights automatically and accurately – giving you greater visibility into actionable data. “Once you start getting your mail digitized,” says David VanDerEems, Senior Director of Innovation and Managing Director of Business Process Centers for Canon Business Process Services, “you can do so many things with it: classify documents, extract data, track customer sentiment, and more.” Digitizing mail gives you better access to data, better content repositories to fuel innovation and connect with customers, and greater searchability for quicker reference.
Digital mail is only one component of a comprehensive digital strategy, but it can be a powerful hidden tool for tackling some of these major challenges. A document management system goes beyond scanning to unlock value. As mail is received, the digital intake center sorts, categorizes, and captures information – automatically adding it to the right workflows for instant access across the organization. From there, digital mail allows your company to:
- Delight customers: Your support center is only one aspect of the customer experience. As Annemarie Cocchia, marketing director for Canon Business Process Services points out, consumer experience is everyone’s responsibility, and digital mail supports the entire organization: “Digital mail is one of the first steps for making certain that at every touchpoint for customers, the people serving them have the information they need, quickly and consistently.”
- Empower the mobile workforce: Whether your office is fully remote or hybrid, you likely have employees working in different locations that need easy, secure access to critical business documentation. Digital mail ensures that the information they need is consistently available in their workflows. With digital mail, documentation that requires action doesn’t get held up, and you gain greater collaboration in remote environments by making documents more shareable.
- Take the best next step: Digital transformation requires a huge investment of time, resources and change management efforts. To demonstrate quick returns and build momentum across every business unit over months of rollout, you have to target the right processes and high-impact areas first. The increased visibility afforded by digital mail helps you see more connections among your teams, identify opportunities to automate, and recognize where better tools and processes can scale to create even greater impact. This tells you the best places to start, but also the best places to focus on next – which accelerates meaningful change.
- Transform securely: Changes across the regulatory landscape happen quickly, and digital mail gives you the additional oversight you need for greater agility, so you can remain compliant when regulations change. And with digital mail, you gain the increased visibility and document tracking capabilities that support today’s increasingly stringent audit requirements.
- Reduce complexity with the right partner: Digitizing mail on your own is possible but going it alone can slow your transformation down. Building strong business rules for classification, making sure information enters the right digital workflow accurately, and visualizing new data sources are incredibly complex tasks that are difficult to master without the right experience. Choosing the right managed services partner allows you to leverage industry know-how so you can mitigate risks, remain compliant, and start seeing business returns immediately.
Getting the most from a digital intake center requires a good process and a good support team. Companies that succeed tend to follow these three essential steps:
- Bring together a cross-functional change management team that includes facilities managers, business unit leads and IT.
- Build a strong business case, including specific examples of how your company can capitalize on the benefits described in this article.
- Compare a number of digital mail solutions before selecting the one that will work best for your business, considering your company’s customer, industry, and compliance needs.
Canon Business Process Services has experience helping hundreds of businesses in your industry through this process and beyond. You need an experienced, trusted partner utilizing the best processes and mailroom outsourcing services to put your customers, employees, products, and services at the forefront. Reach out today to see how Canon can help you thrive.