Voices

Digital transformation: How technology can improve company oversight and efficiency

For a period of five years, Gabriel Fung regularly met Nadia Minetto in shopping malls, clandestinely purchasing still-packaged Apple products for resale. Allegedly, no questions were asked about the origins of the products, but if they had been, perhaps Fung would’ve reconsidered the arrangement. It turns out that Minetto, an accounting manager at a software company, had procured the products — 5,321 iPads and 4,942 iPods — through the company credit card, according to the National Post. There was $6 million missing and not a single worker at the company noticed.

Cases such as this are more common than one would think. As companies become larger, it becomes more difficult to perform the requisite oversight. Fortunately, technology has advanced to a point where companies can better detect instances of fraud and other suspicious activity. Additionally, companies can use digital means to improve work efficiency from top to bottom.

In the 21st century, the best strategy for businesses is to take advantage of the technology available to them in order to reduce wasted time and money.

Keeping track of payments and combating fraud

It may seem preposterous that a company could allow an employee to steal millions of dollars right from under their noses, but traditional oversight measures often lack the capability to supervise large quantities of assets. Therefore, it’s essential for companies to use technology to oversee and track payments. Employees in the company can spot anomalies and bring them to the attention of higher-ups in the company much more easily.

Blockchain is a technology that seems to be putting its footprint in every industry — for good reason. Working as a transparent verifiable digital ledger where all payments and transactions are listed online, blockchain ensures that nobody can lie about where they sent a payment. With blockchain, companies are able to better manage their accounts on a massive scale, resulting in greatly improved internal oversight.

An AFP report on fraud found that one of the most common strategies used by fraudsters is to send an email claiming to be a senior executive asking an employee to transfer money into their account. While applying traditional security measures such as a verbal order to not accept transaction requests through email is somewhat effective, digital means are much more efficient. Two-factor authentication or other digital security measures on top of traditional means are the best way to combat this kind of fraud.

It’s important that fraud is caught quickly so that responses to them can be efficient and effective. Digitalization allows for this in the form of intelligent algorithms — transactions can be checked and verified in a split second. Of course, the effectiveness depends on the programming: A faulty algorithm will not be able to read and react to problems in a sufficient time frame. But AI, when designed well, has the potential to decrease fraudulent activities exponentially.

Optimizing workplace efficiency

In addition to keeping track of payments, digital transformation provides significant improvement in workflow efficiency, helping optimize internal processes in a company.

The digital transformation of internal processes largely remains an untapped opportunity for many companies — 58 percent of companies haven’t yet adapted their internal processes to digital, according to PA Consulting. Streamlining these processes by going digital allows organizations to save time and money by improving work efficiency. Offering digital access to relevant company information and increased automation of menial tasks can increase employee inclusivity while skyrocketing their productivity.

A recent report from WorkJam showed that employees’ current roles prevent them from reaching their full potential at work, while 61 percent of former employees cited scheduling and communication as being the main reasons for leaving a company. Digital transformation allows for increased communicative efficiency — especially when combined with the potential of mobile devices. With company-wide updates, contact information and other information available by a simple reach into the pocket, employees are able to improve productivity.

AI also plays a major role in the digital transformation of businesses, taking on the menial tasks to free up managers and employees to devote their time to more important, strategic tasks that require critical thinking. Getting caught up in details can be a massive waste of time, especially for managers with heavy client workloads.

Gone are the days where pen and paper served as the only tools to keep track of the comings and goings of a company. The digital age has brought innovative technology designed to reduce fraud, keep companies focused, and increase productivity. Companies that refuse to adapt risk being swept away by fraudsters, unhappy employees and efficient competitors. Full digital adaptation is the best means to combat these modern issues and optimize for the future.