Forrester study finds digital documents key to business continuity in APAC

By Chandra Sinnathamby

Posted on 12-02-2020

Businesses that have implemented digital document solutions are seeing significant benefits, according to a new study by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Adobe.

The study expects that investment in digital document solutions will increase by about 51 percent over the next 12 months.

The report, titled Digital Document Processes in 2020: A Spotlight on APAC, surveyed 450 executives from companies in Australia and New Zealand, India, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Digital Document Processes In 2020: A Spotlight On APAC

APAC results from the August 2020 thought leadership paper, “How Digital Document Processes Are Shifting From Best Practice To Business Necessity.”

Get the report

Here are four key takeaways from the Forrester report on what digital documents can do for your business.

Business continuity and digitised experiences

Between coronavirus lockdowns, spiking case numbers and the need to work remotely, business continuity has been a high priority in this new working environment.

Businesses often rely on manual, paper-based processes to keep their operations running smoothly. However, COVID-19 has forced a shift in perception.

Among APAC companies, 77 percent of respondents say their business is shifting focus from broader digital transformation initiatives to more immediate, concrete projects that promote continuity in the short term and resilience in the longer term. For many, this has meant digitising those legacy paper-based systems.

HR outsourcing company CXC Global is a prime example that has been able to help other businesses pivot with their e-signature solution. In the face of the pandemic, the Australian Government put the country on lockdown and needed to immediately establish a COVID-19 hotline. CXC had just moved much of its workforce remotely and temporarily closed most of its offices but was able to continue to provide a seamless contract management process powered by Adobe Sign.

Better serve customers looking for digitised services

According to the report, 58 percent of APAC organisations say their customers want improved digital interactions. This presents fresh opportunities for businesses to enhance customer satisfaction.

In education, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital adoption, with traditionally paper-based documentation such as prescriptions and referrals moving to the digital sphere. This has been crucial in addressing some of the challenges imposed by lockdowns and restrictions on travel.

Sonoma State University (SSU) has been able to rethink its student experiences in the face of the pandemic. The university’s large biology department runs regular field trips that require distinct approval and agreements from students outlined in lengthy documents. Adopting Adobe Sign has turned this weeks-long, error-prone manual task into a short, efficient online activity that can be submitted by students from their mobile phones.

“We initially implemented Adobe Sign for efficiency and sustainability, but it set us ahead of the curve when the wildfires and pandemic forced our hand,” says Mike Ogg, director of continuous improvement, at the university. “Departments were forced to adopt Adobe Sign quickly, but I don’t think anyone would go back. It’s set a strong precedent for how we can do things better and much more efficiently in the future.”

Improve employee productivity

Remote working scenarios are benefiting from digital document processes, with 45 percent of businesses surveyed in the Forrester report saying productivity has increased. It’s a shift that bodes well for the future of work.

Employees agree. According to digital intelligence agency Which-50, Australian technology workers feel more productive now than before the pandemic, with 55 percent expecting the industry will have changed for the better due to the changes necessitated by COVID-19.

Australian tech giant Atlassian is just one organisation allowing employees to work from home permanently if they wish.

“We have an exciting opportunity to create the future of work by living it,” Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar told Smart Company. “But we can’t do it with half measures and wait-and-see approaches. Now is the time to be bold.”

Supporting collaboration for business resilience

In a remote working environment, collaboration is king. Digital document solutions facilitate greater collaboration across entire workflows and in doing so create business efficiencies.

Across the APAC region, 74 percent of respondents in the report say features such as document sharing are in demand; 66 percent highlight document editing, annotations and format conversions; and 60 percent emphasise document tracking for accelerated workflow.

Applying digital document solutions to enable sharing, e-signing and storage will bring immediate benefits, with 52 percent of respondents saying digital document processes enable and support collaboration while working remotely.

Employees use digital documents to get their work done, share it with others and get it signed off electronically, all from their desk at home.

The Forrester report concludes that decision makers in APAC organisations must recognise the value of digital documentation processes not just for their resilience during the pandemic, but also for their long-term success.

Digital Document Processes In 2020: A Spotlight On APAC

APAC results from the August 2020 thought leadership paper, “How Digital Document Processes Are Shifting From Best Practice To Business Necessity.”

Get the report

Topics: Productivity, Future of Work, Trends & Research, Document Cloud, Customer Stories,

Products: Sign,