Digital Transformation, digital signatures, automation, AI, customer experience

Sign of the times

Digital transformation is not only changing the way people work, but altering the competitive landscape for companies. And if firms don’t look to transform technologically, they risk being left behind.

“There is a fundamental message here that all organisations – and this includes Adobe – need to transform to compete and remain relevant otherwise they will be disrupted,” Adobe’s Mark Greenaway tells Business Reporter at the Adobe Sign event in London. Greenaway, who is director of emerging business at the creative software developer, points to a survey by Accenture, which found 63 per cent of organisations were experiencing disruption in their core markets.

“It is not necessarily the other major organisations competing against them,” he says. “It is new entrants – more agile players and organisations that are perhaps more creative, or can come up with a digital-only offering.”

He sees technology as changing the way people work and reducing errors in manual processes. One way Adobe has been doing this is through developing its digital signature platform, enabling businesses to get documents or contracts signed electronically instead of using traditional paper-based systems.

Greenaway points out one of Adobe’s clients, BT, has made huge savings of £630,000 per year by enabling its sales force to use Adobe Sign for its electronic signatures. The change reduced average contract turnaround time by 99 per cent, from 28 days to just seven hours.

“They can have more productive conversations and reach more customers because those paper-based processes now happen electronically,” he says. “They have saved many BT Towers’ worth or paper in the process.”

He explains that sales staff at BT also no longer needed to travel to their customers to get papers signed, and that there was also a 98 per cent decrease in time spent creating, chasing and uploading contracts.

“It increases [sales] conversion rates and provides better customer experience,” he says. “The organisation saves time and cost, and improves the customer experience because there is no need to be chasing processes. The customer receives a better experience at the end of the day, because things happen in a more timely way.”

Greenaway also sees huge opportunities for companies to digitally transform their workplace through AI. For example, Adobe Sensei – Adobe’s new AI and machine learning engine – can learn to understand language and images, and can potentially pick up on the sentiment and nuance of text in documents to learn what clients want and improve customer experience.

According to Greenaway, companies that focus their digital transformation on improving the experience will have an advantage in the marketplace, and this is what future workforces should concentrate on. “Those that deliver a better experience will be more successful,” he says. “Experience will be the differentiator.”

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