From working in the office to working anywhere

While not news, many companies only embraced hybrid work during the corona crisis. The pandemic has accelerated the digitization process and has woken us up. Why should we be stuck in traffic for another three hours for something that can be done at home?

During the Smart Media Agency’s Focus Podcast, we talk to experts about today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. In the previous episode, we already talked about how more and more companies have embraced hybrid work. To do this, companies have massively invested time, money and labor in the digitization of workflows. Zoom today Valeska Crab, Charles Vervaecke, Alex Dossche and Suraj Somaisk into the processes that make hybrid work possible.

Valeska Krabbe is the founder of DPO4YOU, a company that guides other companies – large, small, national and international – in the GDPR and AVG event. They focus on digitization, on how processes change, and in what direction data flows should ensure that GDPR is woven into a company’s DNA by design and by default.

Charles Vervaecke is Team Leader – Direct Sales at Odoo. He started his career here as a Business Partnership Consultant before moving to his current position. Odoo offers all kinds of tools, such as for websites, e-commerce or accounting, to help companies digitize their processes. It is their mission to offer software that is at home in all markets.

Alex Dossche is Chief Sales & Marketing for the business segment at Isabel Group, a fintech company serving both large financial institutions and SMEs, with over 25 years of experience in digital transaction security. Alex helps companies with the administrative burden they can experience when it comes to handling documents, payments and identities.

Suraj Somaisk is Digital Innovation Coach at Konica Minolta. They help customers with digitization of processes, aimed at innovation and document management. Suraj specializes in various (IT) proposals and takes customers on their digitalisation journey through Konica Minolta’s internally connected workplace.

Some employees have been doing this for a long time, but many were only introduced to hybrid and homework during the corona pandemic. To make this possible, a number of changes were made, such as the digitization of workflows in a company

This transition means converting everything that is now done manually or requires manual action, to a digital version, so that it is accessible to anyone who uses this documentation, whether it is in the office or remotely. In other words, it is the digital realization of actions that one otherwise performs physically. In addition, this digitization can be used to streamline a business. Based on what the company is doing today, you check what is going wrong to find a solution. An example of this is merging several small processes into one large process, for example by integrating an e-signing solution into document management. That way, everything can be done completely digitally, from creating the document, sending and receiving the right person to signing and archiving.

Do you believe in the process or do you follow the crowd?

If you want to digitize the workflow of your business, it is important to believe in this process. You need to believe inherently in this digital transition and that it will bring your business forward. To want to change ‘because everyone else does’ or ‘because others recommend it’ is the wrong reason. Crab recommends that you ask your employees, your internal customers. “We were all forced to work from home overnight and then we all had to go back to the office. Some people want this, but others may find that hybrid work is more efficient. You have to respect this and, very importantly, facilitate it.” When you give your employees time and space to take that step themselves, you can come up with really good insights and capture information by using the right techniques.

Although we often tend to digitize everything and develop apps, Vervaecke recommends thinking about the output and making a statement: where can something be effectively changed, and how can you ultimately implement this. Digitization of processes is not always necessary or useful. “A standard solution is often the way to solve and implement something quickly and efficiently.”

Digitization is not the same as automation

We must remember that there is a difference between digitizing and automating. Process automation ensures that you save money and effort, because a process can be simplified, so to speak, to three clicks of a button. Digitization can give you all sorts of new insights because you can also apply intelligence afterwards. However, digitization should not be an end in itself. It is a means of being able to use data afterwards for better automation, ”says Dossche. He recommends starting with a vision. “What value do I want to offer the customer? For example, do you want to be available 24/24 to your customers? Then digitization is not a goal in itself, but a means to that accessibility. ”

What we must not lose sight of in the context of digitalisation is the awareness of cybercrime. The risk of the company’s data leak was often greatest while working from home. An open-ended laptop or children using the laptop to do their homework: it makes it easier for cybercriminals to access data. It’s also something Crab is aware of. “I think we still have a lot of work to do with it. What is possible and what is not possible, what is safe and what is not? As an employee, you can use a VPN connection at home, but it goes beyond just security on the part of your employee. ”

Digitization should not be an end in itself. It is a means to be able to use data afterwards and to automate it better.

Alex Dossche

Privacy woven into your DNA

As a company, it is important privacy by design and by default integrate it into your processes. These terms are often mentioned in the same breath and are explicitly mentioned in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The literal translation is “data protection by design and by default”. The thought behind privacy by design This means that you take into account privacy from the start of process preparation, thus enforcing careful handling of personal data. How long may certain documents be kept, who has read and / or write rights, what data does the document contain, etc. By design – by design – you incorporate the GDPR guidelines and ensure that this is interwoven from the start of a process. Privacy by default can in turn be seen as part of privacy by design† It requires that the default settings are always as privacy-friendly as possible. In other words, a social media application should protect the profiles as well as possible in the default settings, unless a user decides otherwise.

There is more to digitization than one might immediately think, but according to Dossche, that should not be an obstacle. “Thanks to digitalisation, companies as a whole also have many opportunities to pitch certain ideas in short cycles and find out how a limited audience reacts to them. These opportunities to get in touch with a potential audience very quickly are available to everyone. “You no longer need to have the biggest business idea or have done an important market research to try something new as a business.” You can now start with a business idea in small steps. There is a big difference with, for example, 20 or 25 years ago. “

A small world

Will digital development make many jobs disappear? It’s a question that often pops up in this context, but according to our podcast guests, there’s no need to panic. “Leisure work can change, but jobs will make more sense instead of disappearing. You see even more and more vacancies within the IT sector, ”says Somai. Thanks to hybrid work, the opportunities for employee and company even increase. Not all jobs need to be done in an office. Belgian companies can therefore attract people who do not live in Belgium, and employees are no longer tied to the country of residence to look for work. We are moving into an increasingly global world where we are more likely to be short of graduates than short of jobs.

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