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Digital Transformation 101: Seven Tips for Planning and Running Successful Pilots

For many organizations, the digital transformation to build a project can seem very daunting. Rather than taking an all-or-nothing approach and diving into large-scale digitization, you might consider starting with a smaller pilot project. Our experience tells us that approaching a project as a pilot project is a best practice that increases the likelihood of long-term success of digital transformation initiatives through M&A advisory.

Here are seven tips for planning and executing an effective digital transformation pilot:

Determine the completion schedule, budget, and scope of work

For your pilot project, specify which set of documents you will be digitizing, and which employees are using or planning to use them. Document this information, along with a proposed timeline and budget, in a project outline or standard operating procedure (SOP). This document will be useful to you when you seek organizational support and support for the pilot project. Remember that it should be a “living” document that evolves as the project does.

Determine which parts of the process you will outsource

Your organization doesn’t need to handle all aspects of scanning in-house. For example, some teams decide to digitize their documents in-house but outsource the physical storage of the documents. Whether you outsource a portion of the project or not, it is essential to consider the security of the chain of custody of documents. This is relevant if you transport documents for scanning, storage, or destruction. For your pilot project, clearly outline internal resources, outsourcing plans, and chain of custody processes.

Clarify scanning requirements

You then need to determine whether the pilot project will include standard or specialized documents such as very detailed engineering drawings and specifications or oversized documents. For your pilot project, you may decide to use an external vendor for scanning rather than investing in expensive custom production equipment or specialized scanning. Before the pilot begins, clearly explain the image quality requirements of the end user and the destination system.

Do not forget the preparation of the document

This stage of scanning tends to be time-consuming and expensive. It also requires a lot of space. These people can also group and file documents and being able to do this properly sometimes takes a lot of training and knowledge. Combining manifest validation with barcode tracking is an effective way to validate that every paper document has been scanned and accounted for.

Consider document search and retrieval requirements

During the planning stages of the pilot project, take time to think about access to users’ digital documents. In some cases, organizations want to prevent certain users from accessing sensitive documents or certain parts of documents. Another point to consider is document retention. Capturing the appropriate metadata for indexing each document is essential to meet search, retrieval, and retention requirements.

Create a plan for disposing of documents

Once physical records have been digitized during a pilot project. The organization must decide whether to store the physical records securely or destroy them. The layout of the documents must consider the regulatory requirements. Once the documents have been scanned and subjected to quality control reviews. It may be appropriate to destroy the physical paper versions.

Remember to plan the layout of digital documents

A digital document may be subject to the same laws and regulations as a physical document. Make sure your digitization process matches long-term retention requirements. Document classification and metadata capture processes are key to achieving this. Finally, make sure you have a plan to be able to execute the disposition once the retention period is over with the help of an M&A advisor.

If your organization is interested in starting a digital transformation pilot project but isn’t sure where to start, please get in touch with an M&A advisor. Access has worked with many companies to digitize, index, store and dispose of documents. A well-designed pilot project is one of the best ways to demonstrate the value. Of digitization and build momentum for large-scale initiatives.

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