How’s your digitization working?

People talk about “digitization” or “digital transformation”, and some are implementing new workflows into their organizations. Like any change, some succeeded and some failed. So how’s yours doing?

Digitization, as we collectively call both, is about smoothness and overall efficiency of workflows for all, not just providing forms in electronic or online forms.

There are two key words here:


First of all, the processes in an organization should be simplified, optimized and streamlined before digitization begins.

Turning bad processes or confusing workflows into digital forms wouldn’t help much and could be even worse due to their nature or human misinterpretation on the way.

Secondly, efficiency gain will mostly come from elimination of unnecessary or “keepsake” procedures rather than replace or even displace old ones, although the latter are seemingly useful.

“Replace” means that you’re just moving the current processes online or in some digital form, it doesn’t necessary mean efficiency. Filling a digital form is not necessarily faster or more accurate than a paper one, especially, for example, PDF or other formats that still require human intervention.

“Displace” is even worse. You keep all the legacy process and add new ones for “digital sake” such as cybersecurity measures. You may save the first trip to a bank since you can open an account online, but what’s the point if you still need to finish the business at the counter?

“For All”

That brings us to these second keywords.

Aside from elimination, replace or displace, many so called “digitized work flows” are just moving jobs that were completed by clerks to the users, or simply cost externalization.

Moving tasks from clerks to users is not essentially a bad thing, especially when it could, theoretically, save some cost, but same job that can be completed by a well-trained (read: cost) clerk in five minutes could take an average, casual user an hour to complete online.

Worse yet, many confusing, misleading and poorly designed apps or web pages are’t any helpful for users to even complete the process successfully.

“Please contact our customer service, read the FAQ or come see our reps,” you might find yourself familiar with messages like this. It takes your time to look for the helping resource that could have spent on designing a better workflow in the first place.

It’s not efficiency for all, it’s make our problems yours.

The last word

If your digital transformation doesn’t do any streamline, optimization and elimination to bring efficiency to all…

Why bother?