Declare Your Independence from Paper
Happy Fourth of July! The day we declared our independence from paper. Well, that’s my version of the story. If you have missed the revolution of eliminating paper and improving your processes, it is not too late. Just as the Louisiana Purchase was a great deal for the United States to expand our nation’s boundaries, investing in an Intelligent Information Management solution can be a great investment for your organization to eliminate paper and become more efficient.
Our country’s forefathers had a vision for this country. Not satisfied with how things were, they sought and fought, for revolution. They pushed for radical change and put their reputations, and even their lives on the line for the betterment of all. Now I realize that I am being a little mellow-dramatic here, but too many times I run across people who resist change. Maybe because it is hard, or uncertain, or even for fear of being wrong. But the truth is, there is a better way to manage your department or company than wrestling with paper. Sure, it’s easy to leave things as they are, but in the long run you never get ahead, you’ll never improve.
Our company is nearly eleven years old and we have never owned a filing cabinet. We resist paper when possible and store the majority of our files in the cloud, in a document management system. We also utilize e-forms and workflow to create and route documents for approvals. What we have found over the years is that we are more efficient and save money by using this technology. What we have also learned is that our conviction to this technology is stronger than ever. We simple could not function without these tools.
Beginning a new project can always be daunting. The thought of redesigning your company’s processes can almost seem like an insurmountable feat. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few tips to help you through the process:
Begin small, with a single application.
Don’t try and do everything yourself. Delegate some of the work to other people in the company. Also, consider retaining the services of a document management consultant. Someone who has experience in doing these types of projects. You will be amazed at the amount of information that person will provide. You will also be surprised at how much you will learn about your own processes when you work with an independent outside consultant.
Set a reasonable budget and stick to it. If you collaborate with an outside consultant share this number with that person. This will force them to help design a system that will fit not only your needs, but your budget as well.
Share your vision with your workers. Get them excited by the positive change you will be implementing. Good communication will break down barriers between people who typically resist change.
Educate both yourself, and others to the new technology. This will help you to better design and roll out the new system.
Provide training for people who will be using the system. Make them feel comfortable using the technology.
Elicit positive feedback from others, consider their comments and don’t be afraid to tweak the system. Rarely does any new system gets deployed with subtle changes and tweaks to make it better.
Always look for ways to improve, even after the system has been deployed.
There is no better time than now to declare your independence from paper and free yourself from old and inefficient processes. Using the tips above you will surely be successful. When you are finished, you will ask yourself “why didn’t I do this sooner”?
Happy Independence Day!
Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.