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7 Ways to Maximize User Adoption of Your Document Management System

A document management system reduces costs, automates tedious manual processes and makes work life easier. Guess what? Your staff won’t automatically be jazzed about the benefits of a paperless office. User adoption becomes a challenge because many employees would rather do things the way they’ve always done them than venture into the unknown.

What is user adoption? 

User adoption is the process of motivating software users to accept and become comfortable with new technology, or new anything! Its success starts with pinpointing the sources of resistance to change and creating strategies to break through them.
 
Company executives and department managers have to find ways to encourage users to try something new and build excitement about the transition by demonstrating the value it brings to them, their department and the company as a whole. And finally, the leadership team must implement effective training to ease the switchover and ensure the software solution truly increases productivity and employee satisfaction.

A guide to fast, effective technology onboarding

How do you get employees to actually look forward to the changes a technology initiative will bring? Strong leadership, champions who build enthusiasm, targeted communication and hands-on training are best practices guaranteed to engage users.

1. Develop a leadership teamCopy of bs_51164956

Get buy-in from your organization’s executive team. These execs have the power to push the paperless agenda. When top-level management communicates the objectives, it’s more likely that everyone will pay attention and develop an understanding of big-picture goals. Prepare these leaders with the information they need to take a deep dive into the business benefits that a document management system will achieve.

2. Identify project championsSuper hero

Find a tech-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 to the project team 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 them in the process frequently, 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

News about user adoption of DMS

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 by giving them valuable time back. 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. Get users involved in workflow designFlowchart on yellow background (1)

Strong digital workflow software will include a process-mapping tool that allows your team to visualize processes during the design phase. It’s a useful mechanism that builds comprehension, consensus and process improvements. 
 
It’s important to make sure that a paperless solution addresses the goals of the leadership team. However, don’t minimize the importance of getting input from the end-users who will take part in each workflow. Employees are more open to using new technology if they’ve been consulted about the design of the new processes. 

5. Use the testing phase to train ITiStock-542310332 (1)

Depending on the system design, deploying your office automation solution may begin with the creation of a test system. 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. To simulate how a process will work when the solution goes live, run through one of your processes with sample documents or files and use this as a training exercise. Once these newly-minted experts understand the solution thoroughly, they become an in-house resource for other users. They can also take part in training the rest of the staff.

6.  Make training relevant to everyday tasks

iStock-975157976 (1)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 workstations on its shop and office floors so that employees could quickly adapt to retrieving records electronically rather than printing documents.

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.

7.  Use quick wins to generate momentum

Confetti to celebrate office automation

Share information about high-impact process improvements to build momentum and enthusiasm. Accounts payable, sales orders, customer service and human resources are typically good places to start. This is another opportunity for top-level leadership to show their support and share how well the project is going. Then make plans to celebrate each success.
 
A document management system brings the many competitive advantages of office automation to your company. Employees who will be using the solution should be an integral part of the digitization effort at every step along the way. With DocuWare, your company can experience the advantages of state-of-the-art technology developed with the objective of offering an outstanding user experience as well. 
 
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