10 Good practices for the implementation of document management software

When we talk about installing a new electronic document management system , we are faced with a sad reality: there are often more failures than successes . And this is largely due to the cultural change that this process entails. Changing the chip and reducing the use of paper is a change that has an impact in many ways and despite being in the XXI Century, it still costs.

The transition from the use of analog to digital supports brings with it its own challenges that do not appear when installing other computer systems such as an accounting manager, a client manager or a web system. And to make the matter a little more complex, many times the “problems” that exist in Document Management are not very obvious.

Changing the chip and reducing the use of paper is a change that has an impact in many ways and despite being in the 21st century, it still costs

But then why is it so difficult? , What is special about a document management software
What makes it different from others?
In reality, the “problem” is that when installing document management software, we are not really assuming a technological challenge, but rather a cultural change, a change of habits . A revolution in the way users, all of them, go to work and develop their processes with the new system.

Normally the installation of any other system implies a deployment of training and acculturation that even leads to officials taking courses on their own, reading books and training to manage the system fluently, let’s just look at what happens with office. There are hundreds of contents about this tool that, in many aspects, is elementary. The same happens with accounting, process and other systems, for which, as I already mentioned, there is a whole portfolio of courses, and the business deployment is the same.
However, when it comes to document management software, it is not usually accompanied by specific training for all users .

By installing a document management software we assume a cultural change, a change of habits

In most cases, only the person in charge of the file and their work team receive basic training on its use . Training sessions of no more than four hours, in which the user is intended to learn about everything that the new system is capable of doing. And this is where the problems start.

I have come across these situations on a couple of occasions, and the truth be told, even at some point I wanted a client to learn from a system with a mini-training. The issue here is that in the end the user is the one who ends up against the use of the system and before the whole world, he will be responsible for not having paid attention (but, what was he going to pay attention to?)

Tips to improve the process of installing and implementing document management software

In view of what I have said and with the aim of providing some help to those who are immersed in the process of installing and implementing document management software, I am going to list some aspects of vital importance, which I hope you take into account. In the end, if the list is not enough, always can you locate me
and surely we can establish a professional support agreement. Note that the order is not relevant. So you can start reading where you consider best:

1- You have to change “work habits”, routines, ways of doing things . And this, without a doubt, is much more complex than the fact of implementing a new system. Here it is about reaching users one by one, understanding them and convincing them. Make them see the benefits of the new system. It is not easy, but it is perhaps one of the most critical points.

2- Start with the easiest. There are processes that have many facilities to evolve and adapt to the new system. The same with people, there are those who are more open to what is coming. Take advantage and start here. This will give you early wins that will help convince the rest.

3- Each process and person have their particularity: The same processes cannot be generated for the commercial manager, who is out of the office 90% of the time, who uses your ipad to take notes and who has a CRM where he carries all his information than with the legal one, which depends on paper, well in its concept, it is a legally guaranteed support. Here it is necessary to plan the change due to the process and the way of working of each one.

4- Organize the house. Document Management has a physical component that we cannot ignore. But more important than that, it requires clear policies and processes, it requires well-defined instruments and responsibilities. If you do not have standardized document management, before starting the software, my recommendation is that you change the focus of your project, organize what you have very well and then, yes, think about the software.

5- The documentary structure. If you already have standardized document management, you surely know what I’m talking about. This is the Document Classification Chart, the structure of “folders and subfolders” that visually allow you to organize the information in a hierarchical and coherent way. Going from the use of shelves and folders to digital is very simple if the equivalence works in this aspect.

6- Discard. For a while, you’re better off ruling out processes and people that may be holding up your work plan. Not all processes are the same, and complex processes require yes or yes that you know more about the company, that knowledge you can only acquire, after knowing other processes. With people it is more because of their work methodologies and predisposition. The best thing will be to typify and know with whom you can or cannot start the software implementation process.

7- Strategic allies. The provider of your software must be more than a provider. It is not easy, but you must look for this. So that the commercial relationship is more pleasant and you gain knowledge that helps you to cope with the project more efficiently.

8- Do not leave aside a consultancy. It is not a secret and it is not worrying. You and your company do not know everything about document management software implementation and for this there are professionals who have been working on the matter for years and who will surely nurture the project and become your right hand guaranteeing success. It is an option that I recommend and in which I can surely help

9- It goes without saying that document management software is only a part of everything . The software alone will not be able to fix or do anything. It requires parameterization, that people use it and that it be updated and adjusted to the evolution of your company.

10- Now, it is also important to highlight that the document management software must talk to all the other systems of the company, so that the management of files and information is centralized in one place. That is what Document Management is all about. And as I said before, the software is only part of the puzzle.

The author of the post

Sergio Gómez Flórez is a Project Analyst at ALARCHIVO and a member of the Board of Directors of the Colombian Society of Archivists. Sergio has extensive experience in file management, development, updating and implementation of file instruments and, in recent years, has dedicated himself to the implementation of electronic document management software. He has received training on issues related to quality management systems, ISO 15489 and electronic document management, among other topics. Likewise, he has participated as a teacher and speaker in multiple events and courses related to electronic document management, information security and gamification processes in information units.