Are you tired of crawling through forests of digital folders, disappearing directories, or forgetting where you saved your documents? Have you finally decided that Document Management system just what your firm needs to get organized? Excellent! You’re on the way to a more efficient and productive office. That is, of course, unless your firm avoids the following four pit-falls.
Here are 4 signs your firm is not ready for Document Management Software.
1) Your firm is not comfortable with new technology
Implementing DMS is a commitment and it will change your workflow. Initially this can be disruptive. But once the new system is adopted, the time saved, improved security, revised organization, and advanced searching utilities will make life a lot easier. However, if your firm is not comfortable with technology, then this learning curve could slow or weaken your implementation.
So how do you get around this issue? If you know your firm is not that comfortable with technology, then make sure to invest in training and support. Look for onsite support following an installation, or training that is supplemented with videos, worksheets, or a sandbox environment. I would even recommend annual or semiannual training, which could be done by an outside consultant or even an internal resource or product champion.
Some firms will also benefit from additional training in Microsoft Office products like Word or Outlook. How many of you create tables of contents manually, or redesign your headers and formatting every time you create a new document? Oh and don’t forget about your .pdf tools too; Adobe or pdfDocs!
2) You don’t have Firm-Wide commitment
Every firm I have worked with has that rebel employee who refuses to use the DMS. Whether they can “always find what they are looking for” or simply “don’t want to use it”, they have to. Document management is not something that is done 95%. It needs full commitment and all users must be on the same page. This includes the partners of the frim, too! If people are excluded then the entire existence of the new organizational paradigm is contradicted.
Once the decision to employ DMS is made, the office manager or decision makers need to consider who will be resistant and prepare that person specifically. A good consultant can handle this, but this places them in an awkward position since they do not have the relationship or authority to enforce the firm’s new policy. When one “rebel” refuses to use the new system, others will surely follow.
3) You’re not committed to storing ALL documents in the DMS
In addition to the reluctant user, I frequently encounter the “everything except” mindset. An office manager wants all documents in the DMS except “theirs.” Or everything except the “human resources, billing, administration, etc.” documents.
A DMS is designed to store all of your documents. If it’s access to confidential information that worries you, then discuss this with your consultant. Permissions and security can be, and should be, implemented to prevent access to these documents. In the end, these files will actually be easier to maintain and more secure due to the security features of a DMS.
4) You’re not willing to invest in training
As mentioned earlier, implementing DMS requires an investment in training. Everyone in the firm needs to understand how to use the tools that the system provides. Without this, the entire purpose of using a Document Management System will be lost, and the software will quickly become a hindrance to productivity.
I have encountered firms that are willing to spend thousands on the software, but want to cut or eliminate training altogether. Personally, I won’t allow it! Going into a project with this mindset is like buying a Bentley when you don’t know how to drive. It becomes an expensive tool that is destroyed though misuse or decay.
Are you ready for Document Management Software?