Georges Akl, Products & Business Development Manager at Canon Middle East, says the digital transformation has happened exceptionally fast, with rapid uptake across industries.
"It wasn't necessarily a conscious decision,” Georges says. “We are currently living in an immersive digital environment. From digital workplaces to mobile applications, people and customers became very digital and tech-savvy with more defined and higher expectations to meet.
“Going more into the business environment, the impact of the digital era made it easier than ever for anyone to define their digital needs. CFOs, operation managers, accountants, and administrators are requesting solutions and applications. They know what they need, and the IT function supports their key business objectives.
“It’s important to note that the IT function has evolved – from the sole owner of the introduction and implementation of new technologies to a consultative and supporting role for managers and C-levels.”
The biggest factor that blocks innovation is the reliance on rational decisions alone. It is suggested that a successful journey to embed innovation in a corporate or government culture starts with a willingness to start thinking with a different mindset.
One of the most common buzzwords today, unique technologies, requires disruptive thinking and problem-solving skills.
The past couple of years have seen traditional industries such as transportation and hospitality being disrupted by new business models such as Uber and Airbnb, respectively. Amazon and Alibaba Group have also disrupted supply chains.
“As digital needs shift, our focus has expanded from print and imaging solutions into more data and information-centric applications,” he says.
Georges says over the past five to 10 years, digital workplaces have become a reality as automation has helped take paper-based processes into a fully digital environment, covering and serving any business process across industries and departments.
“The shift has been made through several disruptive and innovative technologies,” he says. “This can range from a hybrid transitional model from paper to scan and smart data capture, workflow, and robotic process automation, interconnected devices (IoT), cloud computing and multipurpose ready-made platforms, towards artificial intelligence services and blockchain infrastructures.
“These technology tools and platform have become the sole means of businesses to survive in an ever-changing and disruptive digital ecosystem.”
Georges says digital transformation is best customized to the specific needs of a business and can solve problems across a range of industries.
“When a government entity wanted to streamline their reviews and approvals, we looked at their needs across legal and policy documents where they needed more than a simple tick to approve,” he says.
“We developed a more complex solution which managed the digital identity and included an anti-tampering system. Our automation solutions and digital signatures ensured all data was properly encrypted and protected.”
For teachers, exam preparation, marking and administration can be a time and resource-intensive process. Georges and his team have worked with schools to digitize and automate the exam process.
“The system generates exams with a few clicks – customized to a subject, grade level and types of questions,” he says. “Teachers can generate several versions of the same exam to ensure fairness, and a simple scanning solution takes care of the grading and recording of results.
“Smart solutions mean teachers focus on engaging with students and developing quality content. It also means building a data bank for each student, so learning gaps can be identified if teachers change."
With all the benefits of digital transformation available, Georges says customizing the solution to your business and working with the right provider is crucial.
Around the world, and across every region, governments and businesses are striving to find innovative solutions to the challenges of modern living.