While “Haste makes waste” is a common proverb in the United States, the English seem to favor the variant, “More haste, less speed.” Moving to a digital document management system should ultimately bring greater efficiency and speed to a variety of your business processes. But in order to achieve that speed, it’s important to avoid a hasty implementation.
Improving productivity is one of the main goals that lead companies to invest in document management systems, or enterprise content management (ECM). They need to accomplish more without the additional costs of hiring more staff, so they use ECM as a way to increase process efficiency. Implementing a digital document management system is essential to stay competitive in the marketplace, but a poorly planned, hurried implementation is doomed from the start.
While some shortcuts are attempts to cut costs by skimping on hardware and other resources, many come down to well-intentioned haste.
For example, the decision-makers involved in the ECM buying process may get excited by the possibilities of the new technology, and can’t wait to start realizing its benefits. If they don’t slow down to analyze their current inefficiencies, however, they won’t understand how to truly solve those inefficiencies with a document management system.
It’s important for these decision-makers to take time to understand their current situation before diving in with a new ECM solution. They need to conduct an analysis, create a scope of work and develop the configuration. When you start by scoping out your company’s pain points, it helps you create a clear, realistic plan for achieving the benefits and solutions ECM offers.
Another problem that dooms hasty implementations is inadequate support and sponsorship for the project. The people involved in the buying process may want to jump right in, but haven’t taken the time to get everyone else on board, from IT to department managers and other influencers in the company. Even if you later make time for proper planning before starting the implementation, a hasty start often creates internal resistance from those less involved in the buying process.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that all relevant parties are part of the process from the beginning. Make sure everyone’s on board before you figure out how to achieve your goals with ECM, instead of the other way around.
Sometimes, the desire to achieve the final outcome is so strong that it leads to mistakes along the way that ultimately prevent you from achieving that outcome. One example is being in such a hurry to go live that you gloss over checkpoints along the way and fail to conduct proper testing.
If you rush into a digital document management system and the implementation doesn’t quite work, you may end up in a hybrid scenario, with people using the new system for some tasks and functions but still needing the old platform for other processes. In a best-case scenario, this hybrid state may be much better than what you had before, but still fails to reach the desired goals and business outcomes. More likely, you’d have projects falling through the cracks between parallel systems, and end up creating more problems than you’ve solved.
As you’re planning your ECM or document management implementation, keep the phrase “more haste, less speed” in mind. Any time you feel tempted to cut corners on the planning, analyzing, testing or training, remember that avoiding haste in the short term is key to achieving speed and efficiency in the long term.
Ready to learn more about successfully implementing an ECM solution at your organization? Read our free e-book, An ECM Insider’s Guide: The 7 Factors For Success.
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