If you’re considering implementing ECM software, there are many things you need to consider. This change is major in an organization, and forces employees to adapt to a new system that they may or may not be comfortable with. When you are thinking of this change, fully assess your company’s need for ECM software by utilizing the following steps.
- Analyze your current inefficiencies and pain points.
- Identify the departments, document types and processes that offer the most potential for improvement.
- Ignore stakeholders who have valuable insight into your current situation.
- Jump in without executive sponsorship and support.
No company is going to make a large investment in new technology – such as ECM – without having a specific goal or ROI in mind. Even so, those goals should come from a thorough assessment of your organization’s needs, and must be clearly communicated across the organization – especially to the people impacted most by the changes.
For most organizations, the accounting department offers the greatest potential for improvement through ECM. Accounting tends to still be paper-centric in how departments process incoming invoices, for example. It also offers one of the strongest ROI opportunities for ECM because there’s a lot of money tied to these processes.
If you use ECM to become more efficient at sending invoices or collecting on them, it allows you to collect these funds more quickly, resulting in improved cash flow.
Accounting is a good start, but ECM is one of those applications that ultimately works best when multiple departments are connected. Even if the actual implementation starts only in one department, it’s important during the assessment to gain an overview in which other departments an ECM implementation makes sense. This allows you to develop a staggered implementation timeline for one department to go “live” while planning and organization of the next department is already underway.
That’s where securing input from various stakeholders and executive sponsorship come into play. You need someone on the project – a high-ranking executive such as the CFO, head of IT or sometimes even the CEO – who has a clear view across different departments and interests. These stakeholders and executives help to make the project truly cross-departmental, allowing your organization to fully leverage the power of ECM.
If you don’t have an executive who is able to explain the importance of document management in terms of the larger business goals you want to accomplish, people tend to get caught up in thinking that the project’s ultimate goal is simply to go paperless.
Without a clear sense of where ECM fits in the big picture, people see the project as change for change’s sake. Even if ECM makes their jobs simpler in the long run, they’re likely to perceive the initiative as making their jobs more complicated for no good reason. Having that executive sponsorship at the outset helps people understand the true goal of the project and encourages buy-in across the organization.