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We all know that to be successful these days, businesses must transform and stay on top of the innovation curve. In a study conducted by MIT Sloan Management and Capgemini Consulting, more than three quarters of executives stated they needed to invest in technology in the near term, but face a host of challenges associated with doing so successfully. While we all concede that working with paper processes is, in today’s world, an archaic way of running your business, how do you surmount technology that was cutting edge 12 months ago (or even less). More importantly, what do you do if  your business is, quite literally, paper based? Lexmark International, provider of printing, imaging, software and solutions services in more than 170 countries, has done it successfully. Keep reading for a summary of a whitepaper SAP issued on how Lexmark was able to do this, courtesy of Forbes staff writer Chandni Vyas.

Lexmark’s digital transformation, according to Vyas, was hinged on the company’s ability to transform its business model from manufacturing hardware into becoming a provider of business solutions. While optimized customer service is certainly key to any transformative effort, Lexmark had to think about how its machines (and the processes they delivered) would automate and talk to one another. To be successful, they implemented a three-pronged strategy to drive innovation:

  • Getting rid of manual processes. Receiving more than 1,000 invoices daily, Lexmark knew that simplifying this process was key to moving their business ahead. In a case study sponsored by SAP, “Lexmark began using a data-extraction engine that uses optical character recognition to capture and compare new information to existing data. [T]hey were able to eliminate more than 75% of the manual effort.” Talk about automation.
  • Making unstructured content available whenever it’s needed simply by reimagining the workflow process. Lexmark found a way to optimize this process to capture pre-transactional data and pushing it through their system to accelerate their approval process.
  • Saying farewell to printing (everything). Lexmark made a dramatic move – they made paper output something available only if it is absolutely necessary. Creating a global print driver, all print jobs are held in  queue until an authorized person prints them. By printing only what needs to be printed, Lexmark has saved millions in printing costs.

Read the full Forbes article here. You can also download a copy of the SAP sponsored report: Looking for a Digital Transformation? Start with Paper.