Enterprises around the world have been embarking on digital transformation journeys for years now. Even businesses that weren’t there yet have had to accelerate the process due to the remote and hybrid working realities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is ultimately a move in the right direction—whether proactively or reactively—as a result, knowledge workers increasingly expect the systems they use to provide the agility, automation, and information they need to get their job done.

However, challenges arise when organizations try to layer their legacy governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) tools onto their newly upgraded processes. In fact, there are several major barriers that outdated GRC tools and practices pose for digital transformation initiatives. Fortunately, there are several steps enterprises can take to overcome these hurdles, giving employees access to what they need and restricting access to what they don’t.

Here are a few of the most common barriers to digital transformation and how organizations can use workflow automation to solve them.

Workflows Lack Intelligence and Automation

Employees need access to the right data at the right time to be productive, contributing team members. Despite this, nearly 40% of enterprises say intelligence and automation are the most important features missing from their compliance products, according to 451 Research. One of the reasons for this is that compliance is too often thought of as an IT or security initiative, rather than something mission-critical to the entire business. To overcome this, enterprises need to encourage a culture of compliance, making sure its importance extends beyond technology and into the everyday workflow. Only then can companies fully understand the spectrum of access, and privileges and use that data to gain important business insights.

Workers Lack Access to What They Need

The aforementioned 451 Research also found that the two features employees want most out of their enterprise systems are ways to reduce repetitive tasks and to more easily store, find, and share information. However, in most organizations, information is siloed and applications aren’t integrated, making it difficult for them to find what they need. These components are critical for digital collaboration—something that’s becoming increasingly important in the new ‘work from everywhere’ economy. While adding automation and intelligence to the equation can help, enterprises would be smart to consider the user experience when implementing compliance initiatives. Clunky processes can hinder employees from following protocols and just makes it harder for them to stay motivated. Moving applications and information into a central repository with a single workflow will make it easier for people to get their job done and to manage access.

Software Tools Dictate Business Processes

When business systems aren’t integrated, employees are forced into outdated business processes that involve a lot of copying, pasting, and emailing. This is a recipe for human error and poor security practices. Compliance tools that embed identity security data into everyday workflows can provide employees access to multiple business systems within a single workflow. This lets the business, rather than the software, dictate the process that’s most productive for a particular task. This also makes it easier to onboard new employees; something that may not be top of mind, but can affect the bottom line. In fact, the same 451 Research report found that more than 40% of employees must be on the job at least six months in order to begin adding value. Aligning compliance and onboarding enables the automatic provisioning of data and applications to the right users, which removes productivity delays.

Digital transformation is by no means an easy undertaking. It can take months and even years to achieve, and rarely comes without bumps along the road. But before blindly jumping in, enterprises should consider how compliance and workflow automation will be part of the experience and take the appropriate steps to get it right.