Investments in Digital Tools Increase Growth


In a previous post, we discussed Gartner’s assertion of a decline in content services (what analysts call ECM) and that we don’t see the same trends with our clients. Recently, in an excellent Harvard Business Review article, authors Doug Farren and Anil K. Makhija note that investment in digital tools in the middle market has increased. To wit:


“Investment in digital tools and processes has not suffered as much over the past 18 months as other business functions, partly out of necessity. Indeed, investment also accelerated to achieve the goal of a more efficient, profitable, and productive future state of work, and the investment has paid off. Middle-market companies with a digital vision that is clear, comprehensive, and guides strategic decisions grow 75% faster on average than less digitally sophisticated peers.”


As organizations of all stripes go back to business-as-usual, one thing is clear, the need for IT infrastructure investments has increased in urgency. We’ve seen the same increase in spending on digital tools with some quasi-government agencies such as special districts. At The 2021 Special District’s Virtual Summit, a workgroup discussed “challenges and emerging solutions. In particular, using pilots for innovation and use innovation to improve resilience and responsiveness.” This subject matter suggests technical infrastructure improvements such as digitization, records management, and trusted systems, improving service delivery.


In a more comprehensive yet similar way, Farren and Makhija provide a framework for how digital transformation drives a mid-market organization:

  1. What We Sell – product and service offerings

  2. How We Produce It – supply chain, manufacturing, operations

  3. How We Sell It – customer experience, channels, marketing

  4. Our IT Backbone – infrastructure, security

  5. Our Workforce – talent, digital skills

If we shift the center to ECM technology and use service delivery as the organizational mission, the framework above might look like so:

  1. What Service We Deliver- water and power

  2. How We Create the Service- generators, natural resources

  3. How We Deliver the Service- plumbing and electric grid infrastructure

  4. How We Prove Compliance with Regulatory Bodies- compliance program, ECM, audits

  5. Our Enterprise Technology- ECM, process automation, cyber security, DR, billing, and facility management systems, records management, back-office functions for hiring and onboarding, trusted systems

  6. Our Team- upskill staff w/ digital tools

Digitalization offers capabilities to help these organization accomplish their mission and goals. If you want to do the same, consider using the “adjusted” framework to envision where ECM fits in your digitization efforts.