Most businesses will spend more on digital technologies this year, to reduce costs and boost profits.

Eighty-three percent of businesses expect to spend more on digital technologies in 2019, and over 40 percent of businesses plan to increase their digital investments by a stout 11 percent or more.

That’s the word from a survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). With this increased spend affecting both business and IT leaders, collaboration and due diligence becomes even more vital. The pressure from executives to deliver value and insights to the organization will be shared by these groups.

Nearly three-quarters of businesses expect that their investments in digital technologies will contribute to higher profits, EIU found.  These businesses have good reason to be optimistic: 68 percent of businesses say their digital transformation strategy has resulted in higher profits.

Businesses have a lot of work to do when it comes to digitizing their processes.  Half of the businesses surveyed by EIU have digitally enabled only three mission-critical processes.  A lack of capital and concerns about security are the most commonly cited reasons for not digitizing more.

But businesses are planning to ramp up their digitization efforts over the next three years.  In fact, 58 percent of businesses anticipate that all their business units will be digitally enabled before 2022.

Accounts payable is sure to be a major area of digital transformation investments.  Less than one-quarter of accounts payable departments describe their invoice approval process as being “highly automated” (mostly electronic/touchless, with few or no manual processes), per the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM).  Moreover, accounts payable departments are prioritizing process standardization and automation, IOFM’s 2017 Future of Accounts Payable Survey found.

But there is no guarantee that accounts payable departments will achieve a strong return on their digital investments without a solid plan. In planning it is vital to not only consider the impact on the business process, but on the central ERP systems and support teams. Here are some strategies to help ensure positive outcomes:

  • Enlist essential representatives from key stakeholders to help drive your efforts
  • Define your automation objectives and strategy clearly
  • Look for solutions that facilitate cross-functional collaboration
  • Build a business case that addresses hard and soft savings and risk mitigation
  • Embrace change management as part of your digital transformation efforts
  • Ensure digital literacy in every relevant department role
  • Recruit digital-savvy employees
  • Emphasize digital technologies that help extend the value of your ERP investments
  • Ensure that prospective solutions providers have a strategy for leveraging emerging digital technologies such as robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and analytics

Businesses recognize that their future success hinges in part on their ability to automate.  Once a process is automated and system integrated with your ERP system, additional opportunities open up to develop actionable insights, extend the process with ERP functionality not currently leveraged and more.  From an initial automation project, Finance and IT will be able to drive future success with continuous improvement and wise investments in other digital technologies.

This guest post is brought to you by our Partner, Canon Information & Imaging Solutions (CIIS).

Curious on how to get started? Download Canon’s latest white paper “10 Proven Steps to Accounts Payable Automation Success” which will outline the path to automation. Ready for more resources? Contact us to arrange a consultation and discuss additional content relevant to your current stage in the automation process.

Gideon Taylor and Canon Information & Imaging Solutions

Since 2017, Gideon Taylor has partnered with CIIS to deliver powerful, integrated imaging and eForms solutions for PeopleSoft users. By combining the accuracy and efficiency of CIIS’ imaging and data capture solutions with the power of GT eForms, we can help you create solutions that automatically transfer data from paper to PeopleSoft, transforming manual paper processes into intelligent, dynamic, PeopleSoft-based solutions.

About Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, Inc.

Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, Inc. (CIIS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., brings together Canon’s world-class imaging technologies and information management expertise to assist organizations in achieving their digital transformation objectives.  With a focus on innovation, CIIS’s software development and solutions delivery capabilities scale across several practice areas: Business Process Automation – including Procure-to-Pay & Order-to-Cash automation, Document Solutions, Information Management Services with a focus on content capture, management and collaboration, and Security and Infrastructure Management.  With expertise in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics, CIIS deploys its solutions in partnership with leading technology providers and offers comprehensive consulting and professional services that are trusted by organizations of all sizes. Additional information about the company, its programs and mission can be found at ciis.canon.com.

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