The COVID-19, a catalyst for digital transformation?
“At the beginning of 2020, a client had begun to study the implementation of dematerialized expense receipts. Due to the situation at the end of March 2020, he was forced to control employee receipts on his premises. Facing lockdown, the client decided to speed up the implementation of electronic archiving with probative value and dematerialized expense receipts,” says Jean-Pierre.
The client’s original expense management process was very manual, traditional, and of course time-consuming. The sanitary crisis, which we are still experiencing today, has pushed several of our customers to an even more advanced or complete state of dematerialization of their expense and travel management.
As a mobility management solution provider, we regularly hear this from our customers. But even globally, the pandemic has incited many companies to improve their internal processes. A large number of organizations are now opting for increased dematerialization of processes within their various departments, including human resources, financial functions, etc.
“Whether it’s for invoicing, business travel bookings, delivery notes, or expense reports, there are tools that enable the implementation of digitalized and paperless processes.”
With our OCR, all fields such as VAT, currency or amount are automatically detected. With the electronic archiving, your expense receipts are stored in a secure cloud, no more paper.
What are the reasons for this accelerated digital transformation?
“It’s a combination of factors. The reliance on telecommuting, greater availability of teams (due to a certain drop in activity), and regulatory changes have accelerated the implementation of these projects,” says Jean-Pierre.
Since employees are no longer in the office, some of the old processes are no longer necessary, such as:
- printing the expense report,
- adding paper receipts to it,
- sending the whole package to a centralized department for control.
2. Availability of teams to manage projects
In normal times, improving existing internal processes is the goal of any organization, but there is currently a stronger call for it. Some organizations have taken advantage of the decline in activity and the related drop in the volume of expense reports, to spend time analyzing their processes and redefining their organization following new procedures complete with new and more efficient digital tools.
3. New regulations
It should be noted that the regulation which legalized the dematerialization of receipts dates back to 2019. As it is quite recent, companies were still at the stage where they slowly grew aware of it and evaluated its possible impacts on their organization.
The next stage is for companies to launch the project, which includes different phases, namely the initial study and evaluation of the project, scheduling, cost analysis, ROI analysis, etc. These phases usually take several months, but the health crisis increased their priority among the firm’s projects.
Additionally, new practices and professions are emerging. In French companies, internal reflection has led to the creation of functions dedicated to the search for more efficient processes, innovations, and continuous improvements. These changes are most often tied to technological developments that favour the deployment of digital solutions, such as the digitization of documents.
“When I check in with our customers today, they are always satisfied with our digital solution and can’t even imagine going back to a manual expense management process. They have almost forgotten that less than a year or two ago, they were doing everything manually” continues Jean-Pierre SEIGLE.
Isn’t this at odds with the economic reality of companies?
“Recently, someone shared a quote from John Kennedy with me: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”.
While the economic downturn may have an impact on investments, companies anticipating an upturn in business are taking advantage of this period to engage in organizational changes. In this context, all investments that facilitate and simplify administrative processes, improve productivity and means of control will be maintained since they are key ROI elements. The digitization process is fully in line with this dynamic.”
An acceleration for some but a brake for others
It would be incorrect to say that the current situation has accelerated the digital transformation of all French companies. Indeed, for some, the effect of the crisis has put a stop to or postponed certain projects.
“Some companies have taken a very conservative economical approach, which can be summed up as follows: with a drop in activity and therefore in revenue, investments are interrupted or deferred. However, the companies whose sectors were the least affected by the crisis have acted differently and have prepared for the future by investing” concludes Jean-Pierre SEIGLE.
Jean-Pierre SEIGLE had the good fortune to join the DIMO Software group in 1998. He initially started his career at Notilus as a consultant at a time when the Expense Reports Management software was marketed as an “on-premise” solution and stored on floppy disks. In 2010, he made the shift from the “project” to the “sales”, partly because he desired to accompany customers through the numerous Notilus updates. Thanks to his operational experience, his support was very much appreciated by his interlocutors.
Our solution is dedicated to the moblity management. In addition to the expense reports management you can plan, book and track your business trips. It is also possible to manage your car fleet.