Making changes to manage the electronic records in your organization is going to impact your users. We no longer want them to simply dumb files on their local drives and network share drives.
There needs to be a new perspective with the users – there is a proper place to store your records. Clearly, there will be new processes and you definitely need to use technology, whether it’s an ECM/ERM solution of simply copying files to an active archive.
Are your users prepared for change?
For your user community, defining and scoping the user community of an ERM system is a significant task. It is the key to understanding how best to address findability, the building of one or more taxonomies and security models.
So, who are these users in the community? How are you targeting them so that you understand what they're trying to get out of the ERM system?
Is there a single community, or multiple communities? There may be, for example, certain departments, such as marketing or sales, that lean towards the “cutting edge” and are more likely to adopt new technologies and seek out more efficient processes, while executives or line workers tend to be removed from the direct actions of the ERM system, and may be more reluctant to move to systems that put them directly in control, or with more responsibility for creating, finding and managing their corporate information.
In the management of the community, looking at the health and balance of participation within the community, and any changes occurring within the community, such as re-organizations or acquisitions and mergers, are obviously important to be aware of. As the community changes, so then must your project scope and appreciation for user needs.
If initial use of the system is going swimmingly well, and suddenly use falls off… that's a very bad sign and you need to take a look at why it happened. Is it because of usability? Is it because of cultural problems? Was the initial surge only because of an intense push from management, and the “regular users” lost interest shortly after management moved on to the next quarterly goal? Is it because of technical issue or a procedural issue?
These are issues to keep in mind as you go about probing what the current state of acceptance of proposed changes is, and to keep aware of through vigilant and continuous monitoring as the ERM system grows and matures.
Regardless of the kind of change, whether technological, cultural, procedural, role-based, or any other, it must first be decided if an organization is ready to face the change and adjust to it. Change may be coming whether it’s welcome or not. Determining readiness is a big factor in the potential success of your ERM project.
Organizational change is always going to appear threatening to people as it is often linked to job security. Some enterprises freely disseminate information regarding strategy changes. Other firms are very secretive and feel that this is for senior management only. The project management team should be as open and honest with staff about change as they possibly can. Typically, people will more readily embrace the change process if clear information is available.
Of course, downsizing or drastically changing the way people work will obviously bother people. Sometimes, you have to deal with this. Disgruntled staff may try to obstruct your project and you’re going to have to manage that process.
Assess your enterprise’s readiness for change. The readiness of both the management to support the change and the affected workers to accept and adapt to the change are the most crucial factors in the success, or failure, of your project. Management may be far more ready to change than the potentially-effected workers, particularly if the idea for the proposed change is coming from management – as it typically is. However, just because you have meetings with middle or senior management who are very enthusiastic about this new project, doesn’t mean that the organization as a whole is ready to change.
Enterprise readiness does not take a huge amount of time to assess, but it is a very crucial activity. Early assessments into an ERM environment are useful diagnostics to understand maturity levels within the organization, and how work is currently accomplished. It will also give you an appreciation on how success your implementation will be.
What are your thoughts on carrying out an early assessment for change management within your organization?
Tell us about your success stories in change management.
I will be speaking at the following events:
January 31st - February 3rd, 2012 AIIM ECM Masters in Silver Spring, MD
February 7th - 10th, 2012 AIIM ERM Masters in Dallas, TX
February 28th– March 2, 2012 AIIM ERM Masters in Amsterdam, Netherlands
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