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Beth Politsch

The face of AP is changing. What was traditionally a department with a tactical, task-oriented focus is transforming into a leaner operation with a stake in strategic business outcomes. A new study from Ardent Partners calls accounts payable “a function that, when improved, drives financial and operational value on a grand scale.”

Lexmark recently partnered with the Shared Services Outsourcing Network to collect survey responses from 181 Finance and Accounts Payable professionals about both the current capabilities of their AP departments, as well as their plans for improvements in the near future. The findings highlight three major areas within these accounts payable departments that are slated for upgrades, including invoice processing time, workflow and visibility.

Not surprisingly, these areas fall in line with the aggressive push to change traditional perceptions of the AP department by the best-in-class organizations highlighted in the Ardent Partners’ study. Let’s dive in and take a closer look.

No more hurry up and wait

The first two areas flagged for upgrades by survey respondents, faster invoice processing and workflow, are actually not two separate areas at all. A sub-system in the overall invoice-processing framework, workflow enables the routing of invoice information for validation and approval. Even if an AP department has capture technology for getting documents into their systems, a basic workflow that relies on a manual system for routing the information will stall invoice processing times and keep them from taking advantage of early payment discounts. 

48% of those surveyed by Lexmark and the SSON put faster invoice processing at the top of their list of priorities. Almost the same percentage (47%) called out an improved workflow as a top target and 49% plan to invest in or improve their workflow automation in the coming year.

With only 25% designating their cycle time as good or excellent, the need for improvement is clear. And Ardent Partners’ ePayables 2016 report agrees, explaining that “over the next 12 months, more AP departments are focused on improving the activities around invoice processing than any other area.” Invoice approval and workflow as a whole were also the largest priority in that survey, which gathered data from professionals in over 24 industries worldwide.

You might be wondering how invoice processing time and workflow relate back to the shift toward a more strategic AP department. Reducing manual tasks and increasing the amount of invoices that can be processed straight through doesn’t just increase efficiency. Improvement in these areas gives AP teams the ability to take on more strategic roles, learn new systems and have insights into more data than ever before.

More than analytics: Visibility

The third area of improvement prioritized by survey respondents is “increased process visibility.” But what is “visibility”? 32% of those surveyed had implemented analytics for workflow to monitor straight-through invoice processing. And analytics can certainly give you insights into metrics like per invoice cost and volume.

But there’s more to it than that. 

Visibility is a clear view into all of your financial data streams and processes with up to the minute access to critical information. Analytics solutions that provide such a high level of clarity with business processes are becoming a major priority for enterprises, with 37% planning to invest in a solution in the next 12 – 18 months.

According to Ardent Partners, top performing AP teams are more likely to use analytics for tasks like “forecasting, budgeting and planning; understanding the impact of cash; and developing better payment strategies.” A view into audit trails and the ability to perform ad hoc reporting are two more areas where analytics for true visibility can prove invaluable.

Respondents to the SSON survey demonstrated a clear alignment with these areas for implementing analytics, with “predictive analysis” coming in as the top driver for adopting or improving analytics solutions. Monitoring straight-through processing of invoices, productivity and compliance followed closely behind. 

The road to greatness

Let’s face it, twelve to eighteen months isn’t much time. But the fact that companies have set their sights on these major areas of improvement in the near future has some big implications. Not only do they recognize that processes can be more efficient, they see that Accounts Payable has big potential to become a source of deep insights and intelligence for their companies. With the availability of advanced technologies that align with these goals, AP departments are positioned to become strategic collaborators that can influence a company’s overall financial outlook.

Get the full infographic here.

Lyle McMillin

Turning data into value


Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum held in San Francisco. This forum describes its mission as an environment to help organizations “translate data into real dollars and make a measurable impact on clinical care. Through healthcare-focused insights, successes and lessons learned discover the most effective paths forward to conquer the transition to value-based care.” With this mission in mind, healthcare data science found an excellent environment in which to exchange ideas and learn from the experiences of others in this ever-changing industry.

In total, almost all of the presentations offered information that could be used to progress the data science initiatives of those who attended, but there were a few key topics that kept appearing through the presentations:

The truth (and the data!) is out there

This theme appeared in several presentations and boards. Many speakers discussed how their access to data has grown exponentially over the years, and growth over the last five years has been staggering.  This access to data is unprecedented in an industry that is ripe for improvement. None of this should be shocking to those who follow the industry with any level of frequency. However, there were a few things I found interesting. 

First, the speakers mostly concurred that healthcare data scientists now have access to the data they require, but the old adage that 80% of the effort goes into data exploration and manipulation still rings true today. Multiple speakers discussed the fact that in an age of constant change in the US healthcare industry, clean, easily usable data still remains a panacea. These numbers bear out for all industries, a fact highlighted in a recent survey of data scientists by Crowdflower. The survey found 66.7% said cleaning and organizing data is one of their most time-consuming tasks. This disheartening statistic and the firsthand accounts expressed at the event will ultimately serve as a beacon for the healthcare industry to drive focused solutions in this as an area of need. The access to data was also raised a challenge that may ultimately delay the industry’s vision of population health. With the core inhibitor to that vision being the access to a patient’s entire medical history as in many cases that content is not available  for a large-scale population health study due to the lack of consistent, useable data across an individual organization and across disparate organizations.

Secondly, Dr. Atul Butte, who was the keynote speaker for the conference, brought up a somewhat alternative view on data availability. He discussed the power that exists with openly-available data and how those with creative minds and the statistical/programming skills can change the world without having to require the backing of a large academic or corporate entity. Dr. Butte  gave the example of then-teenager Brittney Wenger’s work to develop a neural network to enhance breast cancer detection was done with (in addition to a lot of smarts and hard work!) public breast cancer samples.  What’s truly amazing about this story is that the samples and the technology to process them were available, but it took a creative mind to exploit that information for a positive outcome. In today’s world of global data liquidity, these types of studies are happening with greater frequency across the globe, as more and more people begin to understand the tools that are available to anyone who seeks them out.

No one trusts the data

This idea that analytics is still viewed as “voodoo magic” by many in the clinical and administrative ranks was evident in many of the presentations, none moreso than Dr. Jean Huddleston’s presentation on the second day. Many of this inspiring speaker’s topics focused on the effort required to bring an analytics project forward to production, and also the enormous amount of buy-in that clinical data science teams must procure before they gain acceptance from key stakeholders. Combine that with the previously mentioned data exploration and manipulation requirements in today’s world of “big data,” and you see that these projects are really tangible examples of the Iceberg Principle (where most of the effort and information is hidden below the surface). 

This realization (that there’s more to a successful analytics project than just statistical knowledge) was evident throughout many of the presentations. Today’s healthcare analytics executives need many skills to be successful, including political savviness, a working knowledge of IT systems and application, a working knowledge of clinical workflows and a great deal of patience.

Focus, focus, focus.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Dr. John Showalter and Alexandra Castillo from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and then hearing their presentation the following day.  They moved the UMM Medical Center toward becoming a knowledge driven organization was one of practicality, and their success was thanks to their focus on getting wins, no matter how small.

Their ability to tie clinical outcomes to the financial performance of the organization combined with focusing on physician and executive leadership buy-in allowed them to demonstrate some very impressive returns on their initial investments. Their results only reiterated the overall message of focus that many at the conference hoped to impart on the crowd.  

In summary, the HIMSS Big Data and Analytics Conference – San Francisco was a great gauge of where the industry is and the challenges it needs to overcome to deliver on investments made in healthcare analytics and health information technology. Together, presenters and attendees showed that while challenges do exist, when healthcare information technology and data science come together, the results can positively affect the level of care provided to patients. 

This is an exciting field of study with many passionate individuals involved – one that will ultimately yield benefits for all facets of the healthcare industry. We still have a long way to go, as many still struggle to democratize data and standardize the learnings being realized around the globe, but gatherings such as these go a long way in making the journey possible.

Nanette Mills

CDI embraces patient-centric care with the Lexmark VNA


“We had a patient in a rural trauma center in northern Minnesota that had been in a car accident and needed to be airlifted to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for treatment. In the past, the patient would have had to wait in the emergency room while film was produced or medical images were burned onto a CD to accompany the transport. Because of our vendor neutral archive (VNA) and the connectivity between hospitals, the patient was able to be loaded into the helicopter and sent ahead to Minneapolis while we transmitted images to waiting physicians,” said Linda Bagley, Senior Vice President, Business Process and Technology at Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI).

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an estimated 30 percent of Medicare payments are now tied to alternative payment models that reward the quality of care over quantity of services provided. For CDI, preparing for this value-based reimbursement model means adopting patient-centric systems that deliver patient information to clinicians when and where it’s required. CDI purchased the Lexmark Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) to give their providers quick, easy access to images so they could focus on providing treatment—not searching for files or waiting for copies to arrive.

“In another patient case in Minnesota referred to us by a provider in California,” said Bagley. “The provider had not previously referred anyone to us, but because of the way our infrastructure was set up, we were able to get him online in near real-time as we were scanning the patient here in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He was able to view the images at the same time as our radiologist, which provided a better patient result.”

The Lexmark VNA helps CDI providers be much more patient-centric in providing care with fewer delays. “When you realize you could possibly have an impact on someone’s life, that’s when all the investment in the right technology really matters. Patient care is core to CDI’s mission,” said Bagley.

Analytics important to patient safety

CDI has also begun taking advantage of analytics information derived from the Lexmark VNA to improve patient safety and provider efficiency.

“We can do a lot more with data analytics based on information we pull from the DICOM record,” said Bagley. “We’re doing CT dose monitoring for patient safety. As a leader in patient safety within our industry, we will continually look for ways to capture the high-quality diagnostic images we are known for, while using the smallest amount of radiation possible for each patient. We are also looking at how we are protocoling MRs in one market versus another. We are looking at quality on an associate-by-associate basis in order to continuously improve the images being produced across our markets. The Lexmark VNA is helping us gather all of this information. The more we are able to look at how we are doing things today in the enterprise, the better we’ll be tomorrow.”

To read CDI’s complete story visit





Sarah Bajek

Three things we learned at Inforum 2016

Accounting and finance

Last week, more than 8,000 Infor users met in New York City for Inforum 2016. Since it’s been nearly two years since the last Inforum, many attendees were interested in hearing about updates and plans for their ERP. But, conversations quickly turned to hot topics and trends including the impact of digital transformation, the many ways Infor and partners are innovating, and for many organizations we talked to, the feeling that they are falling behind when it comes to automation. Here are three of our biggest takeaways from the conference:

1. Digital disruption isn’t slowing down

Three years ago only 5% of Infor business was in the cloud. Today, that number is 55%! If you factor in advances in mobile and communications technology, analytics and the Internet of Things—it’s no wonder the way we work, and serve our customers, is being disrupted. But, what can we do about it? According to Stephan Scholl, Infor President, “Digital disruption requires whole new levels of connectivity and collaboration.” Systems must be integrated, information must be readily available and we need better visibility into our business processes to keep up.

2. Diversity leads to innovation

Diversity in technologies, industries and applications can lead to greater innovation. Much like Infor, when a company serves customers across a variety of industries they have a wealth of knowledge to tap into to solve problems and advance solutions for every industry. And, when a company owns a variety of technology and application offerings, they are better equipped to be flexible in meeting the needs of their customers. Infor CEO, Charles Phillips called this phenomenon “adjacent innovation” and it’s a huge advantage not only for the company but the customer, too.

3. We’re ALL the last to automate our business processes

“I think we’re the last company to automate.”

“I’m pretty sure we’re the only people left manually processing invoices.”

“We’re the last ones around dealing with this much paperwork in HR.”

And, we kept hearing it. People declaring themselves the last hold outs when it comes to automating AP and HR processes. But, clearly they aren’t as alone as they think they are. What’s holding them back? In some cases money, in others a lack of resources to tackle a project right now, or not realizing the solutions available to streamline processes and create efficiency from AP to HR and Supply Chain Management. To many people’s surprise, they can be the same solutions—capture, process and content management applications that leverage their current ERP investment.

At Inforum 2016, Lexmark was the destination for AP and HR Automation and we demonstrated how our solutions integrate with Infor Lawson to improve invoice processing and financial visibility in AP and enhance employee onboarding and eliminate paperwork in HR.

If you’re one of the last to automate your business processes, it’s an investment that is definitely worth it. Check out what it did for Centura Health and Riverside Health. And, then learn how Lexmark solutions work with your Infor Lawson solutions to enhance Accounts Payable and Human Resources processes. 

Grant Johnson

Five stages of digital transformation: Stage three

Digital transformation

Almost every product or service imaginable can now be sold, purchased or exchanged online. You can order fresh groceries, watch your children via a webcam, even have a doctor diagnose your ailment over video chat. This phenomenon – doing things digitally that you never could have done just a few years ago – is the essence of a digitally transformed society.

Now that we’ve reached the third stage of assessing digital transformation for your organization, you should be thinking about how to make it possible for your customers to interact digitally with your organization, from wherever they are, on whatever device they’d like, as any time, day or night. Because chances are, they no longer want manually delivered full-service that used to be synonymous with excellent customer experience. Now, they want to be able to do what they need to do – quickly, from home or the office or while on vacation, and they are willing to do some of the work –aka self-service— themselves.

Consider banking as an example: An analysis of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data found a 6.3% reduction in bank branches between 2009 and 2015, just because fewer people needed them. Sure, branches still have an important place in the banking world – especially for things like dealing with serious account problems, opening new accounts and completing large or complex transactions – but for smaller, routine transactions like transferring money between accounts, bill pay, and new account opening, customers prefer online banking. And now more than ever, they’re doing their online activities via smart mobile devices.

Welcome to the third stage of digital transformation: the mobile web stage.

The majority of customers’ mobile banking interactions involve routine transactions, according to Deloitte Center for Financial Services Report: United States Federal Reserve, “Consumers and mobile financial services 2013,” March 2013. That includes:

  • Checking account balances
  • Finding a nearby branch or ATM
  • Transferring money
  • Paying bills

Mobile improves the customer experience by allowing customers to engage at their convenience, via their preferred channel – it’s simple and fast. And more importantly, a good mobile experience is expected by your customer. No matter what service you’re providing, the process must be easy, frictionless and accessible. According to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing … in fact, 40% would visit a competitor’s site instead.

Want to keep your customers … and even keep attracting new ones? Answer these questions to assess your organization's stage three progress toward digital transformation:

  • Have you deployed responsive design so customers have the same great experience on any device? After all, 83% of mobile users say a seamless experience across devices is very important.
  • On your site, is the option to open an account “above the fold” and in other easily accessible places?
  • Do you actively promote your banking app and update it based on user needs?

If you answered yes to all three questions, you’ve achieved personalized status and are ready to move on to the stage four assessment questions (which will help you create an even more enjoyable mobile experience). If you answered no, you’re in a prime spot to add some dynamic functionality to your web presence and capture the attention of current and new customers, wherever and whenever they want to connect with you. 

Nanette Mills

Can the NHS go paperless by 2020?


“Is a paperless National Health Service (NHS) by 2020 feasible?” was the question asked during a panel discussion at UK e-Health Week at London’s Olympia. The answer? “Yes…but.”

The panellists, including three NHS chief clinical information officers (CCIO), a trainee anaesthetist, and vendor representatives, all agree on the importance of digitising clinical information. They also agree the NHS still needs to make large strides in the next four years to get there.

A CCIO on the panel warned organisations to take care as they go digital, so they don’t turn the relationship between clinician and patient, which is currently a narrative, into fragmented pieces of data.

Another CCIO made the point that access to funding is a major challenge to achieving a paperless NHS. She said executives need to provide leadership to prioritize competing initiatives. She went on to say there is currently a duplication of efforts across the systems largely due to traditional competiveness. She said the NHS needs to pool resources to work collaboratively with vendors instead of living in silos.

The vendor representatives provided practical lessons learned while assisting organizations to go paperless.

Dominic Kirkman, International Manager of Pre-Sales Engineering at Lexmark Healthcare, stressed the importance of thinking about the transition to paperless. “It may not be a big bang approach. You might start by capturing information on paper then scanning that paper to capture the information digitally. You can still achieve many of the benefits of going digital without going through large scale changes,” he said. “The NHS needs to look within the system at areas that already have electronic workflows. Also, you can look across Europe at places like the Nordics and the Netherlands. These places have already overcome some of the challenges facing the NHS and we should learn from them.”

Vendors need to play their part in getting to a paperless NHS by 2020, according to Graham King, Solution Architect at Lexmark Healthcare. “Vendors should develop systems that are easy to pick up by clinicians. And organisations need to look for vendors that have a modular approach to going digital. That way you can start on a foundation and then build with modules over time.”

To finish up the session, each panellist summarised the most important considerations for achieving a paperless NHS by 2020:

  • Insist on standards and interoperability from vendors. Learn from organisations that are focused on standards like Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise UK (IHE-UK)
  • Develop strong clinical and executive leadership
  • Work together across national, regional and local organizations and build partnerships with vendors
  • Treat Healthcare IT as a utility within the organisation, just like water or electricity
  • Make sure the people who implement systems get all the support they need to get the last five yards between the desk and the patient correct, or else all the other investment will come to nothing
  • Develop a very clear strategy for what your organization wants to achieve, and stick to that strategy

By taking these considerations seriously and working with the right vendors to implement digital processes, the expert panellists at this year’s UK e-Health Week believe the answer to “Was the National NHS able to go paperless by 2020?” will be a resounding “yes” – no buts about it.

Grant Johnson

Five stages of digital transformation: Stage two

Digital transformation

Once you make the decision to start taking digital transformation seriously, it’s easier to keep the ball rolling. For example, think about the first question you asked yourself in our stage one assessment: can staff quickly and easily onboard new customers without making them wait in line? Or the second question: Do you invest in web, mobile or kiosk technology so customers can quickly complete a self-service transaction?

When you answered yes to those questions (or started considering how quickly you could be able to), without knowing, you were already thinking ahead to the second stage of digital transformation: the self-service stage.

Ever since 1916, when Piggly Wiggly owner Clarence Saunders first allowed shoppers to use a shopping basket and choose their own items from store shelves without the assistance of a clerk, businesses across all industries have embraced the concept of self-service. By allowing customers to scan their own barcodes after shopping, deposit their own checks via a smart phone at any hour of the day or night, choose their own event tickets and download electronically, and so on, businesses experience cost savings and increased loyalty, and customers enjoy convenience, shorter wait times and increased autonomy.

Customers enjoy these perks so much, in fact, that they’ve come to expect them. An estimate from London-based strategic research and consulting firm RBR projected the number of installed self-checkout terminals at retail stores will grow from 191,000 in 2013 to almost 325,000 by 2019.

A 2014 NCR global study found that 90% of 2,803 consumers in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, UK, and the US, identify as self-checkout users, and 7% of those will always use self-checkout, no matter how many items they’re buying or how long they need to wait.

Today, more than 80% of a retail banking customer’s interactions, including mobile check deposit and checking an account balance over the phone, take place through self-service channels.

No matter your business, your customers expect self-service with knowledgeable human assistance waiting just in the wings should it be needed. Are you ready to provide what they’re after?

Answer these questions to assess your organization's stage two progress toward digital transformation:

  • Is it easy for customers to complete self-service transactions at any time of day? And is support staff available in case they need assistance?
  • Have you removed as much friction from the self-service process as possible?
  • Do you offer pre-configured product and service packages so customers can easily choose what’s right for them?

If you answered yes to all three questions, you’ve achieved transactional status and are ready to move on to the stage three assessment questions! Does that mean your self-service offerings are exactly where they need to be? Maybe not. After all, “digital transformation doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor.” Chances are, no matter where you’re starting on the journey of self-service offerings, there are still ways to improve efficiency and increase visibility into your systems and customer behavior, even if you never work with them face-to-face. 

Robert Zoch


Accounting and finance

The jig is up, the news is out; they’ve finally found me—

The renegade who had it made retrieved for a bounty.

Never more to go astray,

This will be the end today

Of the wanted man.

-Styx, “Renegade”

Does your purchasing department have a renegade in its midst? You know the signs—unauthorized spending, costs unaccounted for, the quick fix obtained for a premium, failure to capitalize on negotiated terms, a reliance on petty cash, and so on. These renegade spenders, with their maverick spending, are costing you money. Every day.

According to Aberdeen Group, organizations lose nearly 25% of every dollar spent on account of uncontrolled spending, usually because people are circumventing standard requisition processes, thus missing out on preferred pricing and terms.

As a procurement professional, you want to eliminate that waste, and boost your margins, freeing up that cash for any number of valuable projects or plans. Luckily, that’s our specialty. Lexmark’s purchase requisition processing solution for SAP helps eliminate renegade spenders from the equation. Here’s how it works:

  • A purchaser creates a requisition document, which is entered via a user-friendly form, with fast access to existing catalogs directing users to standard/accepted materials and services.
  • The organization customizes its review and approval workflows; all approvals leave an electronic audit trail and all relevant documentation is available on demand.
  • Final approval yields an automatic purchase order in SAP; the order is available across the purchase-to-pay (P2P) operation for quick matching with confirmations, notes and invoices, and the end-to-end document trail supports price negotiations later.

The value of automated purchasing routines was observed firsthand by Allweiler, a German manufacturer that implemented the ReadSoft Process Director application for SAP. “Highly satisfied” with the results, the organization reported a considerable efficiency gain across P2P.

“The optimizations in Procurement then also have a positive effect on the processes in Accounts,” said Boris Müller, Allweiler’s head of procurement. “It is, of course, a great advantage that by using Process Director, the number of invoices with an order reference increases. We now even record taxi rides in the SAP system. This greatly simplifies the automated assignment and subsequent processing with the invoice processing solution.”

Automating purchasing processes heightens visibility, which enables greater spend control and better standing for negotiating optimal supplier terms. You know who initiated the order, you can see who approved it, and you can then reference the data when it comes time to process the invoices. The technology fits seamlessly within the SAP environment staff is accustomed to, and workflows can be built around whichever processes and safeguards the organization deems fit. 

Stomp out wasteful spend. Follow the paper trail. Shackle that renegade.

Phil Wasson

System interoperability in healthcare IT: Why is it important?


What do healthcare quality, cost management, and effective delivery have in common? The answer, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), is system interoperability. System interoperability will allow healthcare providers to exchange patient information in order to minimize duplication, contribute data for research purposes, and allow contributions of clinical data for predictive healthcare research. Driving this initiative is the requirement to achieve health IT system interoperability improvements in healthcare.

Hospital and health system leaders are already challenged by issues that include accountable care, mergers and acquisitions, capital funding needs, and caring for a growing number of patients with fewer resources.  As if those issues were not enough to keep us all awake at night, now along come additional requirements for improved  interoperability and sharing of patient data, including the demand for data sharing with  competing healthcare delivery systems.

IT interoperability is pivotal to the success of healthcare delivery in the U.S., according to the ONC, including the capability to share information between providers, between payers and providers and between patients and providers.

At the ONC Annual Meeting, which took place in Washington D.C., ONC officials identified three specific keys to achieving these goals:

  1. Development of and adherence to common technical standards. This means all healthcare IT vendors must adhere to common technical standards when building and delivering software solutions. Lexmark is committed to this effort with its participation in the Integrated Healthcare Enterprise standards organization (IHE). IHE has actively pursued the development of common technical interoperability standards for more than 15 years.
  2. Development of a cultural change around information access. Patients and providers must adopt a new mindset related to the way they share information in order for improvements in care and outcomes to be realized.
  3. Development of a true business case for interoperability. Interoperable data exchange must be supported through development of a business case that ensures value for all stakeholders. The ONC’s approach is to tie healthcare reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid to meaningful health IT standards, essentially creating incentives for healthcare providers to support data exchange cultures and methods.

Much of this effort has been developed by aligning Meaningful Use Stage 3 standards with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), also referred to as the “permanent doc fix.” MACRA contains a set of important payment provisions, including the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) which reimburses providers based on a new formula that supports payments based on four conditions: clinical quality; resource use; health IT meaningful use; and clinical practice improvement activities.

As a result of these changes to Medicare reimbursement, providers will need to adopt IT components that address these conditions. With regard to health IT meaningful use, this includes the capability to exchange clinical records with other providers and with patients in order to support improvements in clinical quality and resource use. All of these changes will require healthcare IT systems that support the measurements and improvements made within the clinician's practice. This focus on interoperability and exchange will only grow stronger as the industry evolves toward a value-based approach to patient care.

Grant Johnson

Five stages of digital transformation: Stage one

Digital transformation

Digital transformation. You hear the term so often, but you still don’t know exactly what it means, or how to make it happen. You might assume your competitors have it all figured out. But think again. According to Forrester, 73 percent of organizations don’t have a working digital strategy. So that’s the good news – you aren’t too late to take full advantage of the enhanced customer experience, streamlined operations and new business models afforded by successful digital transformation.

The bad news is that it can feel overwhelming to stand on the precipice of what sounds like a huge undertaking – transformation. Where do you start? Which of your offerings and processes are you supposed to digitize? When will you be “transformed?” But don’t worry – if you take it step by step and work with the right partners, digital transformation is not only very beneficial, but very achievable.

First things first: What is digital transformation? At its core, digital transformation is the conversion of business operations, processes, competencies and models to leverage the opportunities provided by intelligent, tailored digital technologies.

How is digital transformation assessed? We’ve determined five key stages of progress toward digital transformation: physical, self-service, mobile web, mobile app and omnichannel.

The first stage of digital transformation is the physical stage.

It might seem counterintuitive, but the first step in priming your organization for digital transformation is to ensure the customer experience at your branch, office or field locations is smooth, seamless and customer-driven. While the 2015 North America Consumer Digital Banking Survey found 81% of customers would not switch banks if their primary bank closed the local branch, that doesn’t mean you can ignore your brick and mortar existence. Instead, your branches should serve as physical conduits to your digital presence.

Are you ready to check for yourself? Answer these questions to assess your organization's stage one progress toward digital transformation:

  • Can branch staff quickly and easily onboard new customers without making them wait in line?
  • Do you invest in banking kiosk technology so customers can quickly complete a self-service transaction at the bank?
  • Are your branches inviting and memorable? Do they meet expectations of both technology-driven and relationship-oriented customers, and those in between?

If you answered yes, congratulations! You’ve achieved informational status and you’re ready to move on to the stage two assessment questions. If you answered no, or you’re not really sure, congratulations to you, too! You’re perfectly positioned to begin your digital transformation journey. Learn more about digitizing the customer experience in banking, or get some expert assistance in transforming to a predominantly digital customer experience.