Resistance to Change

By Timothy Elmore posted 05-07-2010 12:11


In the previous blog that I posted (“Progress at Different Paces”), it was observed that user acceptance and adoption of records management and ECM systems appear to be a widespread challenge for many organizations. Rather than leave it as a hypothetical statement on my part, I tried to find either validation or rejection. Judging by the number of seemingly relevant links that I found on the first few pages using the search “records management user acceptance challenge” (much longer than my usual 2 or 3 word limit), there seems to be something to it.

The first hit that caught my eye was a statement from a four year old, but still mostly relevant, whitepaper from Xerox Docushare:

“DocuShare responds to the most pressing challenge that the records management industry faces today: user acceptance. If a user will not use the system because it is too complex, adds work to an already busy workday, or makes the worker feel he or she is at risk for making a “records management” mistake, the user will simply not use the system as intended.”

While there is some degree of hyperbole in making an absolute statement about what is the “most pressing challenge” in records management, there is significant truth in implying that human factors and behaviors are often notable obstacles to the successful implementation of otherwise excellent systems & processes (this goes well beyond ERM and ECM!).

Lynn Fraas of Crown Partners and the current Chairperson of the AIIM Board of Directors, wrote about “8 Ways to Increase User Adoption of ECM and ERM Systems” in John Mancini’s e-Book  8 Secrets of an Effective Content or Records Management Implementation . There is a great deal of common business sense in Lynn’s 8 tips for improving your chances for a successful RM implementation:

  • Ensure there is top-level support
  • Start small, build on successes
  • Be fanatical about internal PR & communication
  • Create user “personas” to understand impacts and anticipate user needs
  • Focus on business processes
  • Involve users & business owners
  • Leverage collaboration tools, and
  • Don’t forget a comprehensive training plan

Thinking back to our project to consolidate to a single electronic records management system, I would say that of these eight guidelines, we focused on five of these and had a successful implementation that created a strong baseline that we have built on for the past nine years. The points that were key to our success were starting small to accomplish a specific objective (transition of content from the previous systems), ensuring that we had clear communication about our objectives and timeline with stakeholders from a number of functional areas, and most importantly, ensuring that there was effective (and mandatory) user training with takeaway quick reference guides.

Another key to success we found in making that transition was to make sure the new system was complete, which enabled us to remove access to the old systems just a week after the go-live date. Removing the potential crutch of going back to the more familiar system ensured that we were all using the new system.

#change #ECM #useracceptance #implementation #ElectronicRecordsManagement #training #changemanagement #Xerox