Readers of Workflow magazine are ahead of the crowd when it comes to the concept of digital transformation. Most have first-hand experience at using IT-led automation to accomplish things like opening up process bottlenecks, ensuring policy adherence, and generally getting more done in less time.

Businesses of virtually all sizes and across all industries face an important challenge: the need to better manage physical and electronic records. This due in large part to the explosive growth in the amount of data being created and stored, which is doubling every two years and has already reached immense proportions.1

Much of the focus on business today is on acquiring new customers, but did you know that it costs six to seven times more to land a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one? Your current customers are more profitable too; a repeat customer spends over two-thirds more than a new one, and nearly all customers who have had a great service experience will buy from you again. Clearly, it makes good business sense to keep your existing customers engaged and coming back for more.

The year 2016 brought significant advances in the tech world. Low-code/no-code development platforms started to boom, IoT made its mark in niche areas, and a power shift in enterprise software began. The year 2017 will bring a wave of companies focusing on improving their overall business process management (BPM). Here are a couple of trends to watch out for in 2017.

How do you help your customers manage the conversion from paper to digital? For many technology gurus, our thoughts immediately jump to hardware and software, but leadership research shows that people are the most common reason that IT projects fail. In a list of the 101 most common reasons projects fail, more than 60 percent of the items were related to people and change management. So, improving your ability to guide your customers through a change process will result in better overall project success rates and higher customer satisfaction.

If your company disagrees with the 96 percent majority that view digital transformation as critical, then your chances for survival are declining. Sound a little too cataclysmic for you? How about this statistic: 86 percent of companies believe they have two years to make significant progress in their digital strategy before suffering financial or competitive consequences.

The concept of the “paperless office” started as a PR slogan nearly 40 years ago intended to describe the “office of the future” and the rise of automation in the workplace. It has since evolved into an aspirational goal that businesses have strived to achieve over the last several decades.

The year 2016 was one of change for the enterprise content management (ECM) industry. In September, OpenText signed a definite agreement to acquire one of the other larger ECM players, Dell EMC's Enterprise Content Division, including Documentum. The highly-publicized merger put the ECM industry under the spotlight — sparking questions about OpenText's future growth strategy. In November, Lexmark was acquired by Apex Technology — a deal that will separate their Enterprise Software group (now rebranded to Kofax). Simultaneously, new and innovative "next generation" vendors are gaining market shares from the legacy players.

The concept of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is becoming a big interest for many organizations as they attempt to enhance buyer experiences, improve ergonomics in design, and advance software usability and accessibility. This is all amazing and cool and will take usability to the next level for many applications.

Business process workflow experts have been writing for some time about the value of implementing an effective document capture strategy. To take advantage of that value, especially for cost containment, it is important to keep in mind that converting documents from physical to electronic format is a science.