A good document management system will help you to automate your business processes. Moving from manual to automated processes will make your business more efficient AND add to your business’ bottom line. Almost every business I speak to realizes the importance of document management and automated, streamlined business processes and understands the potential return on investment.
Yet there is always hesitation – even though there is a definite and defined path to ROI.
Here are a few common causes of hesitation as well as the truth about some of the misperceptions that cause business owners to hesitate on software purchase and implementation.
Spending More Money
Nearly every business has a printer or copier. Upgrading or adding features to a copier is easy to understand and the business already has a budget for printing. Adding document management and automating processes is new money spent. Which raises the question of where the money is going to come from, which makes the question “Will this new software save us time or money?” really important.
Fear of Making the Wrong Decision
Even though document management software doesn’t cost nearly as much as business owners initially think it is there’s still hesitation even after they understand the value. There’s always the concern of “What if it doesn’t work?” because we’ve never done anything like this before. And software companies don’t make a habit of giving refunds if you don’t use their product well.
Not Enough Time
The reason for hesitation I see most, and maybe the most frustrating for everyone involved, is knowing when the right time to buy is and implement is. Most falsely believe the implementation will shut down their business for a period of time.
We use an implementation and purchasing process to alleviate our customers’ fears of making a poor purchase decision – wasting money and time. Our implementation success rate is 100% because we have put a repeatable, easily understood process in place to make everyone successful.
Here’s how we do it.
Most importantly, you can’t just buy software and expect it to magically fix an inefficient business process. You need to plan. We first decide the company’s business goals – what do you want to accomplish? We then align business processes with the software using simple business process mapping. Whether you work with us, someone else, or attempt automation on your own, don’t skip this step. Clearly define and state the objectives upfront to ensure dollars are spent wisely with and there is an overall end goal.
Involve the people that do the work in business process remapping. Understand the entire process from beginning to end and map out each workflow that makes up the entire process. This creates employee buy in and everyone sees the value and important of participating in the new process. This process is simple, repeatable, and enjoyable for the people involved. It’s enjoyable because in one short meeting real progress will be made and involves the employees that do the work.
Scope the entire project, but plan to do releases in phases. Look at the business process that is repeated the most or causes the most problems and start there. Once those processes are operating smoothly, then expand into other areas. What’s the expression about how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Once the work up front is done, the decision to purchase or not purchase should be easily recognizable. The plan to implement should clearly present itself.
Installing the software and setting up the processes will be done behind the scenes. While this is done; it’s business as usual for the employees. Once the software is ready to go, training will cause the most interruption. For many implementations, training should take a day (at the most) and only involve the workers for that particular business workflow to minimize disruption. By releasing in phases, success in the first phase primes the pump for employees in the next phases to be ready for the improved way of doing business.
Once the software is installed and employees are trained, it’s time to turn the implementation live. Just in case of glitches or bugs, the designers of the system need to be available that day for any questions that may come up.
Good planning, solid understanding of the business goals, and communication with the employees involved in the process will lead to a successful purchase and implementation document management.