How COVID-19 drove Australia’s digital business transformation
COVID-19 interrupted the everyday workflow of businesses Australia-wide. Over 88% of Australian businesses were switched to remote work, with research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that a third of businesses expect the COVID-19 modifications they made to remain in place long term.
With their everyday business workflow interrupted, Australian businesses worked through COVID-19 by developing a digital transformation strategy.
Digital business transformations and COVID-19
A digital business transformation is a change that takes place when organizations replace outdated business practises with solutions offered by digital technologies. There are four types of digital business transformation, including transforming everyday business processes, the organisation’s business model, the businesses domain/field and the culture of the organisation.
Research shows that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformations in businesses by an average of 2 - 6 years.
In a study of decision-makers from 2,500 organisations, it was found that 97% of those who participated felt COVID-19 accelerated their organisation's digital business transformation. 79% also reported an increase in their budget for digital expansions - showing that organisations used technology to mitigate the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Why a digital business transformation is important
Embracing digital transformation offers many benefits for both small and large organisations. This is because digital transformations can allow businesses to:
Improve their customer experience
Improve their productivity
Collect data about their customers
Increase their agility
Take advantage of new technologies
Manage their resources more efficiently
Reduce their expenses and increase their profits
Allow their employees to work from anywhere
There are many great examples of digital business transformations, including online faxing.
Faxing as a form of digital business transformation
Faxing dates back to 1860, but it became a source of digital expansion when it was widely adopted into businesses in the 20th century.
Faxing underwent another major transformation in 1996 when online faxing was introduced to the public. This transformation is still ongoing today, as many Australian businesses are ditching their expensive and inefficient fax machines to switch to online fax.
Fax usage trends
While we rarely talk about fax machines, they remain an indispensable part of business for many companies.
Worldwide, there are still over 46 million fax machines in operation. These machines are responsible for sending over 17 billion faxes each year. Fax machines are also included in many multi-function printers (MFP’s), which typically combine printer, fax machine, photocopier, scanner and email technologies.
While the rise of email has reduced the need for faxing, it has not erased it. Although fax machine sales are no longer at their peak, millions of new machines are still sold every year.
Faxing is also a normal part of life in many countries like Japan. In 2014, fax machine sales in Japan reached 1.2 million. In 2015, sales still sat at 1.1 million.
A worldwide study conducted in 2017 also confirms that the prevalence of faxing remains fairly constant. After surveying 200 large companies, the study found that 82% of companies reported that the number of faxes sent in 2017 increased or remained the same from 2016.
The same survey identifies the three industries with the highest increase in year-on-year fax usage growth: manufacturing, finance and healthcare. To fully understand the digital transformation of faxing, let’s look at how these industries use their fax machines in Australia.
Australia’s manufacturing industry is heavily reliant on fax machines, as organisations are constantly sending and receiving high volumes of faxes from suppliers, customers, regulators and government departments.
In many industries, documents need to be stored securely for long periods. This leaves businesses keeping printed faxes in file rooms long term. To make the faxing and filing process more efficient, many businesses are switching to online faxing as it allows them to send, receive and store faxes without needing to print them.
Organisations in Australia’s finance and banking sector send and receive sensitive and confidential documents every day.
While many companies send these documents through traditional fax machines, this opens them up to cyber risks. Traditional faxing relies on faxes being manually printed, which makes it easy for confidential documents to be stolen, lost or intercepted. Traditional fax machines are also expensive, as they require ink, toner, paper, maintenance and repairs.
As a result, many organisations are embracing online faxing as a form of digital transformation.
The adoption of online faxing in the finance sector has also been driven by changes made by Australia’s Electronic Transactions Amendment (COVID-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulations. Now, remote witnessing of signatures on mortgages, trusts, guarantees, deeds and statutory declarations is considered legally binding, meaning online fax systems can be used to transfer documents that are witnessed remotely.
Research from 2020 shows that 79% of the communication in the medical industry is through fax. In Australia, fax is used in doctors offices, pharmacies, hospitals, aged care homes and outpatient care facilities.
As these organisations are sending large quantities of faxes, they are increasingly switching to online fax as a form of digital business transformation. While traditional fax machines are delayed by a ‘busy’ signal, online faxing systems can handle a high volume of faxes 24/7. This allows healthcare organisations to streamline the document-sending and storing process, saving time, money and providing better protection for patient data.
The future of digital business transformations
Over the next few years, Australian businesses will continue to expand digitally. While we can’t predict the future, experts expect that this will see organisations adopting:
Automated customer service like chatbots
Natural language processing (NLP) in machines
Cloud-based computing and storage
Robotic process automation (RPA)
As a business, there are many ways you can embrace digital transformation - including embracing online fax with eFax.
eFax has been helping businesses like yours adopt online fax since 1997. eFax works with over 11 million customers worldwide, giving them access to a secure and reliable online faxing system.
eFax allows you to send internet faxes through your computer, smartphone or tablet. Their online faxing system is NBN compatible, making it future proof for incoming advancements in technology.
eFax loves supporting small businesses and offers all customers free cloud-based storage and end-to-end encryption to keep your faxes safe and secure.
While many Australian businesses lose their fax connection when switching to the NBN, eFax’s faxing experts can help you transition to the NBN smoothly. With eFax, you can even keep faxing from your NBN fax number from day one.
Transform your business with eFax by starting a 30-day free trial
or calling 1800 283 361.