Companies around the world have been embarking on digital transformation journeys for years. Even companies that weren’t there yet had to speed up the process due to the remote and hybrid work realities created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, while ultimately a step in the right direction – whether proactive or reactive – knowledge workers increasingly expect the systems they use to provide the agility, automation, and information they need to do their jobs.

However, challenges arise when organizations attempt to migrate their legacy governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) tools to their newly updated processes. Indeed, there are several major barriers that legacy GRC tools and practices pose to digital transformation initiatives. Fortunately, there are several steps companies can take to overcome these hurdles by giving employees access to what they need and restricting access to what they don’t.

Here are some of the most common barriers to digital transformation and how organizations can use workflow automation to solve them.

Workflows lack intelligence and automation

Employees need access to the right data at the right time in order to be productive and team members to contribute. Even so, according to 451 Research, nearly 40% of organizations say intelligence and automation are the most important features their compliance products lack. One of the reasons for this is that compliance is too often viewed as an IT or security initiative rather than something that is business-critical for the entire company. To overcome this, organizations need to foster a compliance culture and ensure that its meaning extends beyond technology into day-to-day workflow. Only then can companies fully understand the spectrum of access and permissions and use this data to gain important business insights.

Workers do not have access to what they need

The above-mentioned 451 research also found that the two functions employees most expect from their enterprise systems are ways to reduce repetitive tasks and make information easier to store, find, and share. However, in most organizations, information is isolated and applications not integrated, making it difficult for them to find what they are looking for. These components are critical to digital collaboration – something that is becoming increasingly important in the new “work from anywhere” economy. While the automation and intelligence of the equation can help, organizations should consider user experience when implementing compliance initiatives. Cumbersome processes can prevent employees from following protocols and make it difficult for them to stay motivated. Moving applications and information to a central repository with a single workflow makes it easy for people to get their jobs done and manage access.

Software tools dictate business processes

When business systems are not integrated, employees are forced into outdated business processes that require a lot of copying, pasting, and emailing. This is a recipe for human error and bad safety practices. Compliance tools that embed identity security data into everyday workflows can enable employees to access multiple business systems within a single workflow. This way, the company, not the software, can determine the process that is most productive for a given task. This also makes it easier to onboard new employees; something that may not be the most important thing, but can affect the bottom line. The same 451 research report found that more than 40% of employees need to have been on the job for at least six months to start creating value. Alignment of compliance and onboarding enables data and applications to be automatically delivered to the right users, avoiding productivity delays.

The digital transformation is not an easy undertaking. It can take months and even years to achieve and rarely comes without bumps on the road. However, before jumping in blind, organizations should consider how compliance and workflow automation will be part of the experience and take the appropriate steps to get it right.

Author: John Milburn

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