Don't Ask a Vendor for a Document Management System

By Roger Poole posted 05-12-2010 11:30


What factors should be taken into consideration when choosing an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS)?

What a question..! And one that has, no doubt, been asked/considered many times throughout small, medium and large organisations across the world. Indeed, there are so many influencing factors, it’s impossible to name all of them in this space. I will attempt to capture the most significant issues and challenges. I shall also attempt to make this relatively easy to follow by using bullet points – so as to avoid lengthy paragraphs to digest!

What makes you think you need an EDMS, what has led you to this conclusion?

  • Did IT tell you this is what you need?
  • Did a vendor suggest this will help you solve all of your challenges?
  • Do you know another, perhaps peer, organisation which has implemented such a solution?
  • Did your boss suggest your company should have one?
  • Have you, or your team, undertaken extensive analysis of your needs, compared these with functionality of an EDMS and concluded this is the best solution

 What steps can you take to validate your thoughts/requirements?

  • Thoroughly analyse your business requirements and the key drivers for change. Are they:
    • Cost issues
    • Volume processing issues
    • Staffing level issues (need to reduce)
    • Meeting deadline issues
    • Future expansion plans
    • Records Management issues
  • Work closely with the business/legal and IT to ensure an understanding of the issues/requirements and do your homework in terms of possible solutions
  • Hire consultants to undertake the review and give you an unbiased opinion as to the best solution – take care to ensure the consultants are experts in the appropriate business and, preferable, are not “tied” to one or two Global IT Vendors
  • Hire an IT Vendor to undertake the review and then recommend and install a/their product
  • Never approach a Vendor and state that you need an EDMS – your approach should be “this is the business issue we have, what is the best solution?”

Now you have determined that an EDMS is the right solution for your company here are some further considerations:

  • You must have a very senior sponsor in the business. Without such a sponsor the chances of your project being successful are significantly reduced
  • Make sure you have budgeted for all costs, particularly consultancy services provided by the Vendor. You will need these.
  • Ensure the business and IT have the resources to work on this project. Do not underestimate the amount of time required of these experts. Their assistance is critical to success.

 Development and implementation

  • ·A project team with a strong project manager and representatives of the business, IT, legal, Vendor and (if appropriate compliance)
  • ·Involve the business from the start (they should have been involved in the Vendor/system selection)
  • ·Accurate and regular communication with the business is critical. Keep them appraised of progress and listen to their feedback
  • ·Thorough business analysis is essential
  • ·Implement a small, proof of concept, project to help gain acceptance and allow an appropriate learning curve and resolve any, unforeseen, issues
  • ·Form a user group to get feedback from key users within the business
  • ·Be honest and admit mistakes, but be sure to rectify them

I hope the above helps…..interested to hear your views….

#EDMS #implementation #documentmanagement #ElectronicRecordsManagement #planning