In the first part of this blog mini-series we touched on the critical steps that come in the beginning of a successful document management software implementation. The first 8 steps walked us through defining requirements, software selection, managing change, and other important considerations. If you missed the first half, you can read it here. In this section we will discuss the second half of the suggested implementation steps through go-live and beyond to ensure your organization recognizes the benefits and the expected ROI of your documents management software implementation project.
- Identify compliance requirements with federal, vendor, or customer policies and adapt your document management software and workflow to manage your compliance requirements. Compliance requirements frequently change. As such, it’s important that employees who have new compliance information are part of your on-going document management team.
Document management security should be setup during the initial implementation but security needs may be changed as your overall security policies and procedures change.
Everyone has a different way to organize information. It’s critical that your organization defines how documents and files are stored so that it’s easier for users to find the information. Depending on the system you choose, you may need to define what types of documents and files are to be stored in system and what tags are used to identify them.
You must consider other document management systems already in place in your organization and if you can eliminate them or clearly define which systems will remain for specific types of documents. For example, you may implement document management for your core ERP data but you may not be able to replace the embedded document management capabilities in your CRM software. Further, many companies choose to utilize Microsoft SharePoint as an employee, customer, or vendor portal. It’s important to define what information should be managed on SharePoint and what information is managed in the document management software. It’s best to consolidate down to as few solutions as possible.
Evaluate your existing infrastructure to understand if it fully supports your document management goals. You will likely identify ways to utilize new technology such as tablets, mobile phones, intranets and extranets, etc. to capture, retrieve, and manage documents more effectively further eliminating manual processes and paper.
Train current employees and external users on how to effectively utilize the document management software. Involve key employees in the implementation so they are more committed to the success of the project. Develop on-going training for new employees who will inevitably resort to paper and manual systems if they do not understand how to use the software or workflow. Tutorial videos and written policies and procedure documents (stored in the system of course) are useful for on-going training. Also consider training employees if you implement new procedures, change existing procedures, add new capabilities, or upgrade to a new version of the software.
Roll-out the document management software in a conference room pilot where you can test the workflow to ensure that the setup will work for your users across departments. Do not attempt to go-live until you are confident in the conference room pilot results.
Plan your go-live event ensuring that the infrastructure is in place, the software is setup properly, the conference room pilot is complete, and users are trained. Make sure that data migration is also complete for existing documents. It’s also important to have extra resources available to help users during the initial adoption period and always have a back-up plan in case you discover something that was missed during the implementation.
Don’t stop. You can implement the best document management software in the world but people will stop using it over time. You need to continually monitor usage, retrain employees, and continually improve processes, change processes, or create new processes as your business needs evolve.
Remember, the success of your implementation hinges heavily on choosing not only the right software system, but the right vendor to support you.
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