There's no escaping it, if not's being discussed in your organization now you can be certain it's not far away. Striving to provide better customer service, reduce inefficient manual process and reclaim office space used for storage has caused companies in Toronto and the rest of Canada are adopting document management solutions like never before. But like any major change it's important to remember the determining factor for success of failure is planning.
Over the past 40 years we have helped clients in the Toronto area address their document management challenges, and we owe our 100% success rate to experience and planning. Today, we want to share that with you. Outlined below are what we feel are the 8 key steps for a successful document management roll-out:
It Starts At The Top
Deploying a document management solution across your organization means major changes in the way you work and without support from the executive level it will be nearly impossible to overcome the "business as usual" mentality.
Building A Business Case
A document management solution, like any new business initiative, needs to align with the company's overall goals and objectives. When building the internal business case it's important to highlight (with measurable results) how the new system will address knowledge transfer, security, customer service, cost reduction, employee morale and the mitigation of business risks.
Think Long Term
Consider the resources that are going to be required, not just in the short term but also in the future. What is your data migration plan to address technology changes? What are your annual volumes, retention periods and related storage requirements? What are your support/upgrade costs after the initial roll-out?
"Should We Scan Our Back-File?"
There's really no right or wrong answer to this question, the answer depends on your specific application and business requirements. Some things to consider are; could the space being used for storage be put to better use? Are employees retrieving paper records at a rate high enough to justify scanning?
Build Your Document Management Team
You can't take on a project like this all by yourself. You need to surround yourself with a document management team in order to be successful. This team should be comprised management, knowledge workers and IT representatives. The team needs to have insight on the overall business impact, retention requirements, integration, support, etc.
Rome Wasn't Built In A Day
Rolling out a document management system is going to take time, trying to rush the project will only lead to delays, missed steps and potentially overall failure . Take the time to identify the departments and applications that will realize the great impact of the new solution and start there. Examine the existing processes, metadata requirements, document classification and template enhancements (i.e. barcodes).
When rolling out a document management solution it's always a smart idea to solicit input from all departments and all levels, from the CEO to the file clerk. By involving everyone early you help improve user acceptance of the system and uncover valuable insight from document owners and users.
Partnering For Success
When the time comes, how do you select a document management solution provider that's right for you? It's simple, you need to look for partners who understand and have a background in document management and records management. You'll want to check their references and you'll want to make sure they aren't trying to force you into a "cookie cutter" solution. Make sure they take the time to understand your business goals and requirements.
That about wraps it up; I think the most important point to stress here is to take things one step at a time; rushing into a solution like this is when things get overlooked and projects begin to backslide.