In 2009, just after the U.S. mortgage crisis that caused a global economic tsunami, most companies were busy treading water and trying not to drown. It was a time to survive, not expand; to keep business, as usual, going as smoothly as possible, not disrupt and innovate.

“Survival mode” wasn’t the mandate for General Electric in 2009. Founded in 1892, GE is a stalwart multinational conglomerate whose beginnings were innovative—light bulb, anyone?—but had since become bloated and slow to change.

GE could have taken the same death march as Blockbuster or Circuit City: a publicly-traded company one day and gone the next. But in 2009, GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt had his own light-bulb moment: he realized that the data GE’s jet engines collected was possibly more valuable than the engines themselves. The only problem? GE didn’t have the technology to extrapolate, analyze and leverage that data.

That was the moment GE decided that digital transformation was the path forward. The industrial giant began considering Amazon and Google its competitors instead of peers in the industry.

The GE digital transformation story is inspiring and encouraging to enterprise organizations, where change is slow and transformation complex. But GE didn’t just flip a switch and “go digital.” It took making the commitment and then making step-by-step changes over time to achieve true enterprise agility…and because the digital revolution is ongoing, so is GE’s continued digital transformation.

Inspired to follow GE’s path? Kofax has a proven framework for a step-by-step progression organizations can take to go from digital zero to total enterprise agility. We call this framework the Business Value Stairway, and it’s based on years of working with thousands of organizations around the globe and providing technology solutions that enable their digital transformations.

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Every business is at a different stage of the journey, and each stage of transformation creates increased value both internally and to the customer experience for all of your stakeholders.

Let’s take a look at Step One in the digital transformation journey, and in the next several weeks we’ll explore subsequent steps.

Step One: Improve Information Visibility

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If your organization is still working with a lot of paper, you’ve likely got several pain points, from a lack of information access and visibility to a painful customer experience and a potential compliance nightmare.

Step One of the Business Value Stairway is digitizing information with a smart capture solution that captures paper and electronic documents and forms, transforms them into accurate and actionable digitized information, and delivers this information into your core business applications, processes and workflows.smart capture solution that captures paper and electronic documents and forms, transforms them into accurate and actionable digitized information, and delivers this information into your core business applications, processes, and workflows.

We call the improvement of information visibility “step one” for a good reason: once organizations take that first step toward digital transformation, they quickly see the possibilities in other areas, like streamlining workflows and creating a better customer experience.

Get inspired: Two industry pioneers accomplish the first step

ING-DiBa, Germany’s third largest retail bank, had a vision of becoming Germany’s leading digital bank by delivering on a key promise: “ING-DiBa’s offerings are simple, fast and convenient for our customers.” The institution was already leveraging Kofax solutions like Kofax Capture and Kofax Transformation Modules for scanning around 150,000 documents per day (Step One of the Business Value Stairway). There was just one problem: their customers were mobile and they were not.

The bank realized they could extend inputs beyond internal scanners and right to customers’ devices, empowering customers to turn their smartphones into scanners. Customers can take pictures of bills, remittance slips and other documents, which are read and processed by a central application, sent back to the customer for approval, and then sent directly to ING-DiBa’s banking software.

After just three months, more than 3,000 documents were arriving at the bank each day through customer-led mobile capture. ING-DiBa’s initiative created digital visibility not just within the organization, but within its customer base as well.

The North Dakota University System (NDUS) leveraged paper digitization to improve the student experience across 11 campuses. While they already had Kofax Perceptive Content installed in individual instances on campuses to enable digital content management, information wasn’t being managed consistently, and timely content access and sharing across campuses was an issue. With many students having a presence across multiple campuses, information like admissions records, financial data, and transcripts needed to be shared quickly and efficiently.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative in higher education, the NDUS unified its operations on the Perceptive Content platform to enable a faster, simpler exchange of student records.higher education, the NDUS unified its operations on the Perceptive Content platform to enable a faster, simpler exchange of student records.

What’s more, the unified platform has given the NDUS a valuable opportunity to look more closely at their processes and unlock greater efficiencies. In other words, the NDUS is poised for Step Two of the Business Value Stairway: Achieve Operational Excellence. We’ll explore just what this means and highlight companies who have achieved Step Two in next week’s post—stay tuned.

Learn how your organization can take the first step toward digital transformation and unlock information through digitization. Join us at Inspire, our annual customer and partner conference this April 23-26 in Nashville. You’ll be inspired by industry-leading speakers, customer-led sessions and powerful opportunities to connect. Don’t wait—register today.

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