15 February 2018

Obstacles in the way of digital transformation

According to the Experian and Forrester report, 49% of decision-makers in Europe, Africa and Middle East think that business development is being held back by disparate legacy technology systems. The BIT online magazine asked Alexey Trefilov, the head of ELMA, for his opinion.

— Do you think that disparate legacy IT systems are the main threat to business development?
— Indeed, when companies start thinking about development, they come to realize that their current IT systems no longer provide growth. However, I think that the lack of knowledge and experience in business digitalization is even a bigger threat.

The market is short of experts, and businesses have poor knowledge of automation and digitalization. This has become a real problem. It is my opinion that software developers and integrators working in business automation should focus on this issue.

We commit to delivering information about business process management, document management, automation in HR and KPI. There should be more webinars, articles, books and courses on this matter. Most importantly, business owners must see and understand what changes must be done.

When going digital, the main obstacle that a mature company comes across is a pile of IT solutions implemented over time.

— Is there anything else preventing digital transformation?

— When going digital, the main obstacle that a mature company comes across is a pile of IT solutions implemented over time.
Here are just some of arising problems: integration of all these solutions into end-to-end processes; difficult if at all possible, system upgrade; and outdated technologies.

— Are there any difficulties specific to Russian businesses?

— Sadly, IT systems are usually implemented to automate existing processes and do not aim at business transformation in general. EDM systems are merely used to make document management faster, whereas it is crucial to focus on the core of business activity – the company’s business processes.

We should ask ourselves, “How should we work?” “What can we do differently?” and “How can we make our client happy?”. Automation of document handling should be secondary, although still highly important.

Many of document management terms used in Russia do not even exist in other countries meaning that the approach to automation in those countries is completely different.

— What does ELMA do to help businesses overcome these difficulties?
— Concerning the lack of knowledge and expertise, we are constantly working on awareness and education in business process automation and digital transformation. Our experts hold free educational webinars, we collaborate with universities and colleges, and there is classroom training for all people interested in IT professions. Now we are working on a large-scale project: we want to turn our offline courses into an online educational space.

To deal with budget constraints, we have released a free fully functional BPM system – ELMA Community. It can be used to automate the business processes of a company without spending money on expensive IT software.

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Ekaterina Mokrushina
Marketing Specialist