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  • Writer's pictureJack Arnston

Training Your Document Management System Like a Puppy

A couple of months ago, I was convinced by my wife and children, that the perfect Christmas present would be a new puppy. Mind you that my oldest two kids are successfully through college and on their own. Our third attends college in another state, and is away a good part of the year. This puts the majority of work of raising and training a puppy clearly on my wife and me.

Now we have been through this once before. However, at that time I was traveling for my job and did not experience all of the work that is required to raise a puppy. And to be honest, there have been times over the past two months that I have second guessed my decision to agree to this addition. However, my family continually reminds me of the joy that our previous dog had brought to our home. And to that end I continue to push on with cleaning up messes, taking Addie out in the early morning and late evening when temperatures are in single digits, scolding her to get off of the furniture and dealing with the constant attention seeking that she seems to require.

In the end, however, I know these things are true. The time we put into training Addie now will pay off in the future. These are only temporary inconveniences for a long future of a loyal of a loving companion. And that in the end we will forget about the extra work, frustration and yes anger that we feel at times as we acclimate to the changes taking place in our home.

A similar thing can be said for deploying a document management system within your organization. For companies deploying a system for the first time, the excitement of the purchase can quickly change to what did I get myself into?  The change in how you process your information can be dramatic. Needing to scan a backfile of old documents may seem overwhelming. Training co-workers on the proper use of the system daunting. But in the end, after all of the frustration and hard work, you will ask yourself why you did not do this sooner. And as the initial pain and frustration fade from view, you realize that it was all worth it.

Nearly every client I have worked with over the past 25 plus years will admit that the transition to digital documents was at times painful, but always worth it. Never, would they consider going back to the old days of dealing with paper and manual processes. The long-term gains far out weight any short-term inconvenience they experienced. Obtaining control over their systems, and knowing where every document is in a process is invaluable. And the efficiency gains and time savings pay for the system time after time.

Once a client of ours, who converted their Account Payable approval process, commented that the system brought order to their chaos. She went on to say that what took five days to process now take two. Even more impressive, they are now proactive to their interactions with clients rather than being reactive. A pretty dramatic change that may have had a couple of hiccups at the beginning but now is an integral part of their business.

The old adage is that you get back whatever it is you put into it. This is true of our children, our pets and our work. A little hard work and a positive attitude when deploying a document management system will pay dividends down the road. And all we remember in the end is the positive changes it has had on the company and those who work within it.

Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at

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