Document Management Success: Three Things to Consider When Planning a New Solution
The consolidation and digital conversion of a company or agency’s paper documents can be a daunting process with a lot of questions: why are we undergoing this document scanning process now? What if some of our documents get lost during the document conversion process? What are the benefits? Who is making the decisions? Here are three common topics that we see come up with the companies and agencies we work with.
Consideration #1: Executive Level Support
Digitally converting your organization’s paper assets and deploying a new document management solution requires someone in the organization to think big picture. Change is risk and it is too easy for people used to current processes to make excuses not to modernize or upgrade systems.
To be truly successful, the document management project needs executive level support that can overcome the mentality of business as usual. You need someone or a team that understands how document management will benefit business processes over the next 5 years and beyond.
Consideration #2: Build the Business Case
Anyone using a paper-based filing system knows how much time can be spent looking for a paper record that has been misfiled or even lost. Accessing digital documents from within an application makes it easier for knowledge workers to find information. If your organization currently has one, three or more employees dedicated to information archive and retrieval, you’ll be able to reallocate those resources to more value add activities. You’ll also add to the competitive differentiation of your company overall because you’ll respond faster to clients and offer better customer service.
Security is another important variable. Are you able to audit who accesses your paper records today? Are they even supposed to have access to these records? What are they doing with these records and how long are they keeping them? What if a file goes missing? Who took it? Document management solutions leverage automatic audit trails as well as secure access to your business records to ensure you know who is accessing records, their authority and what they are ultimately doing with the information.
Finally, what is your contingency plan should you have a site disaster? There are too many organizations that have faced a flood or some other disaster at their site only to learn the hard way that they only had one copy of the business or agency records … on paper. A properly deployed document management solution includes backup of your digital records and off-site digital copies for business continuance should something happen at your site.
Consideration #3: A Document Management Solution Isn’t Built in a Day
We periodically get calls asking for a document management system in two weeks and a request for a price. Simply deploying document management software (hosted or on premise) and then trying to work around it typically causes problems. The right way to deploy document management is to think about your processes today and improvements you can make to them moving forward. Examining information flow, documents to classify, indexing schemes, etc. can take a little time to plan but it will pay off in the future. It doesn’t have to take a year, but typical projects from start to finish can be accomplished within a few months.
How do you select a document management partner that is right for you? They should understand records management and document management industry software is just a tool that is part of an overall document management solution. It’s the experience, planning and process considerations with other clients like your own organization that help determine the success of your own document management project.