Digital Transformation – where do you start? Guest Blog: Ian Birch

It is commonly acknowledged in business that if you’re standing still, you’re actually moving backwards. Your competition will likely be seeking ways to improve their operations and the products and services they offer to their clients. This brings a degree of pressure but should be embraced rather than pushed to the back of your mind. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is sending waves through the global economy in addition to the human cost, the need to be agile is more important than ever.

However, it’s clear that embarking on a digital transformation journey can often feel like a daunting task. The reality of resource availability may make this feel potentially impossible, but by breaking it down into smaller chunks and having a clear and practical way to start, it needn’t feel so intimidating.

Paper Process Steps

So, where do you start? Print and paper usage in a business can provide an insight into areas of a business where improvements can be made.

Paper plays a significant role in how people work today, providing a link between systems which are not digitally connected. Paper documents can be read, annotated, shared and stored when automatic system links are not in place.

The printed page remains the right tool in certain situations, but it comes with many restrictions, especially in an age when the workplace is more than simply a building, rather any place where people work and create value. People have got used to remote working during the COVID-19 outbreak and it’s likely will continue afterwards too.

As most documents are born digital, this paper API role can help steer some of the first digital transformation projects to be undertaken. And the best news is that much of the data needed to kick this off is already residing in your business.

Print Data Analysis

There’s a good chance that some level of print data is already available in your business. Monthly usage data may have been supplied by your service provider for each print device, which will allow you to understand which floors and departments are heavily reliant on paper.

Such printer data is very useful but does have its limitations. Analysing this data will allow you to see trends over a period of time and compare mono vs colour usage. However, more granular print data will be captured if you have a print management system in place, which is common for companies of all sizes today.

Such systems record individual print job transactions and, using the Intuitive BusinessIntelligence dashboard platform, it’s possible to analyse who printed what, when and where. Being able to look at your print usage by date, by department, by application, starts to give real insights into user behaviour.

User Behaviour

These insights will allow more meaningful discussions to be completed with your teams. What processes are driving these print behaviours, and why are they printing? Understanding this will help identify where the first steps on the digital transformation journey should be focused.

Should you look at the processes which contain high volumes of print which could be made more efficient and reduce your print related costs?

Or should you look at the processes where small volumes of print are creating significant delays in the process, and a digital solution can reduce errors, speed up the process and improve the experience of both your employees and your customers?

No doubt, this approach will help you identify a mix of quick wins and more transformational projects. This is a great starting place. You can prioritise where your efforts will be focused and put a roadmap in place for the short, medium and longer term. All of which will ensure you’re no longer standing still, rather taking those initial steps into an exciting future.

About the Author

Ian Birch, Managing Director, IBC Group

With 20 years’ experience in IT services, Ian founded IBC Group two years ago offering fully independent consultancy services. In Ian’s career, he’s worked with a number of OEMs, including Ricoh and Kyocera, and most recently as Head of Digital Transformation at Xerox.

IBC Group has supported a wide range of OEM vendors, channel partners and end clients since launching, with a focus on data insight, process automation and regulatory compliance services.

Recognising the challenges facing traditional managed print service providers, Ian has set out to support the transformation of their business models to meet the changing client needs. Delivering solutions which positively impact the way end-clients work drive deeper relationships and increase resilience to competitor enquiries.

For assistance on your digital transformation journey, please email, call 0330 223 4922 or visit