Around the world, a mind-boggling $4 trillion will be spent on IT this year. Businesses are pouring profits into new technologies that promise bigger, better, faster, and more secure services. But, as we’ll explore here, it’s not necessarily how much money you spend on digital transformation, but what you spend it on.

The first thing to note is that digital transformation can be risky. A lot of projects fail. Of the $1.3 trillion spent on digital transformation last year, $900 billion went to waste. This goes to show that, while new technologies may open the door to remarkable opportunities, increased productivity and ways to engage with customers, they are not always the best fit for you.

With this in mind, being a little more strategic about your tech spend can pay dividends in the long run.

Yes, you have to keep investing in infrastructure and cloud services that enable you to create winning customer experiences. And yes, you certainly have to stay on top of cybersecurity, maintaining a strong investment in your strategy here. But you don’t have to break the bank. Most importantly? There is one small and simple thing you can do to give your business the best chance of turning any investment in digital transformation into a success.

This is it: make paper a thing of the past

 All of the latest applications and innovations in technology have data at their core. Data is driving the performance of chatbots on customer service sites, the efficiency of maintenance bots in manufacturing … even the recommendations for what movie you should watch on your streaming channel of choice.

If you still capture data using paper-based forms, then that data is pretty useless in this era of AI and machine learning. Even if you manually enter the data into online systems, there’s the risk of error upon entry – not to mention the time it takes to get the job done. Slowly entering data doesn’t really fly in this real-time era of modern apps.

Most businesses are not paperless yet

Recent research from DocuSign found that the average worker spends three hours each day dealing with paper-based processes. That’s two whole days out of each working week just spent dealing with paper-based forms, contracts, and more. And let’s not even start on what this means for our planet’s trees.

The research shows that paper is still very much a part of working life. Could this be one of the reasons why $900 billion of digital transformation went down the drain last year? All that paperwork produces data that needs to be entered into applications before anything remarkable can be done to it.

There is huge potential for businesses to reclaim those lost hours and vastly improve their chances of ROI on new digital transformation activities by going paperless.

Where to start with getting rid of paper?

Going paperless is actually easier than you might think. Many forms, contracts and systems of agreement these days are still created using desktop applications like Microsoft Word. In many cases, the only reason you hit Ctrl+P is because the customer needs to sign the bottom of the form. Pages of paper get printed out just to capture that one little signature at the end. Ouch.

You should have a fair idea of what types of agreements your business still prints out for a customer to sign. If you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at this list of common agreements used in business – you might be surprised at just how many there are.

Making one small change to these agreements can negate the need for printing; and eliminate all that paper handling that consumes so much of your employees’ time. Simply add an eSignature solution like DocuSign to the document and you’re away. eSignatures are now recognised around the world as a legal, legitimate way to capture consent for the vast majority of contracts – and consumers are now more than ever expecting a simple, digital solution.

With your eSignatures in place, your business will significantly reduce its reliance on paper, which is a fundamental first step in achieving success with digital transformation. Give DocuSign a go today.

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