A document management system reduces costs, automates tedious manual processes and makes work life easier. Guess what? Your staff won’t automatically be on board and jazzed about the benefits of a paperless office. Many employees would rather do things the way they’ve always done them than venture into the unknown.
1. Develop a leadership team
Get buy-in from your organization’s management team. These execs have the power to push the paperless agenda. When top-level management communicate the objectives, it’s more likely that everyone will pay attention and develop an understanding of big-picture goals. Prepare management with the information they need to take a deep dive into the business benefits that a document management system will achieve.
2. Identify project champions
Find a digital-savvy project lead in each department who will advocate for the initiative and share their enthusiasm with the group. This point person communicates their department’s needs and addresses users’ concerns.
Use their input to ensure you consider feedback from end users who often understand more about the day-to-day work than their managers do. If you engage end users in the process, they start asking, “How soon can we install it?” They see the vision, and they want to see its results. For optimum user adoption, make sure project leads are available during the go-live stage to help users quickly resolve any problems. You want a user’s first experience with the solution to be very positive.
3. Communicate the plan
Creating awareness is key to effective change management. Share the project team’s vision for the paperless office at every opportunity. Even those who hesitate or resist moving away from familiar, paper-based processes will come around.
A focus on training and talent development reassures employees that the goal is not to downsize, but to involve them in more meaningful work. Think about how your organization can redefine roles and responsibilities so end users are motivated to embrace the change.
One good way to spread the word is by sharing videos that give a high-level view of the solution. The goal isn’t to sell users on the technology features, but to create awareness of how office automation takes the drudgery out of daily tasks and helps employees to achieve job-related business goals.
4. Use the testing phase to train IT
Depending on the system design, deploying your office automation solution might begin with the creation of a test system or occur in several phases. Test early and often. Testing is often glossed over, but it’s a great way to avoid surprises that could cause business disruptions later. Resolve outstanding issues and demonstrate progress in regular review meetings.
This is also the time to begin training IT administrators and power users. Once the system has been deployed, run through one of your processes with sample documents or files and use this as a training exercise
5. Make training relevant to everyday tasks
Training time can vary from a few hours for the end users assigned to a small number of workflows to one or two days for system administrators and power users. Give end users plenty of opportunities to practice what they’ve learned. For example, Criterion Tool & Die installed DocuWare stations on its shop and office floors so that employees could train to retrieve records electronically rather than printing documents on paper.
Don’t forget to create ongoing technical documentation. The paperless office is an evolving ecosystem, not something you set up and never think about again. Include discovery findings and design choices as well as system configuration settings. Your documentation should also identify who the system administrators and power users are so that everyone knows who to contact when questions arise.
6. Use a quick win to generate momentum
Share information about high-impact process improvements to build momentum and enthusiasm. Accounts payable, sales orders, customer service and human resources are typically a good place to start. This is another opportunity for the top-level leadership to show their support and share how well the project is going. Then make plans to celebrate each success.