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How To Get Users On Board With Your Paperless Office Initiative

How To Get Users On Board With Your Paperless Office InitiativeWhen you’re taking steps to become a paperless company, it’s inevitable that some users are going to hesitate or resist moving away from familiar, paper-based processes. The last thing you want is for users to feel like they’ve been forced into a business process change without having any input in designing the system.

In many paperless office initiatives, the leadership team does a good job of communicating the high-level benefits for the organization and specific departments, such as accounting or human resources, but fails to communicate the benefits to individual end users. Creating this awareness is key to effective change management.

End users tend to focus on their jobs and daily tasks, rather than company-wide strategy, so they judge the value of the paperless office based on how they think it’s going to affect their job. If they don’t see a clear benefit, they tend to drag their feet when it’s time to roll out the enterprise content management (ECM) solution, and that hurts user adoption.

Creating Awareness

When users see that an initiative has strong support at the executive level and understand what it’s trying to achieve, it reduces the tendency to keep doing things the old way, and helps to connect users to the overall mission. Creating awareness of the initiative’s high-level goals early on helps to head off objections, because it gives users time to get comfortable with the idea and develop a better understanding of how it’s likely to impact their day-to-day tasks.

One good way to spread the word is by sharing YouTube videos or documentation that gives a high-level view of the solution. It’s best to build a content library focused on the benefits of the paperless office. The goal isn’t to sell users on the technology features, but to create awareness of how ECM improves specific areas of your business.

By creating awareness early on, users are familiar with the concepts and goals by the time you’re rolling out the solution, rather than having something brand new forced on them. The benefits of this stage may not be apparent until later on in the process, but having everyone moving toward the same goal is key for a successful paperless office initiative.

Understanding Business Processes With User Feedback

If you don’t have a clear understanding of your business processes and what’s needed when moving them into a digital environment, you’re likely to head down the wrong path and end up with a system that fails to meet your goals. Missing a key step could result in lost revenue and carrying your current inefficiencies into the paperless office.

Taking the time to dig into those processes ensures that your ECM leadership team has a holistic understanding and good visibility into your current bottlenecks. Your end users know where these bottlenecks are, but executives may not, so this “discovery” process is essential.

The goal here is to go through each process, identifying the key steps and users’ frustrations with the current system. Documenting these issues allows you to address them later in the design step, and gives end users a voice in the process.

As you follow the paper trail, you’ll find a lot of the bottlenecks. Start by walking through the life cycle of a specific document or process, and asking questions: 

  • What initiates the process — an email, a phone call, a walk-in?

  • Who’s involved in the process?

  • How do you capture the information?

  • Where do you route that document or data?

  • Who needs to be notified?

  • Where is it archived?

  • How do you retrieve it later? 

As you go through these questions, users may help you identify problems, such as, “I wish it could do this,” or “It’s wasteful that we have to do this.” Resolving those user concerns as you create digital workflows helps to improve efficiency and user adoption, as well as job satisfaction.

Ready to learn more? Download our e-book, Become A Paperless Company In Less Than 90 Days and discover the six-step process for making your paperless office a reality.


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