7 Ingredients to a Successful Electronic Document Management Project, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Uploaded by LarryMitchelPhelps on 21.02.2011

bjbj 7 Ingredients to a Successful Electronic Document Imaging/Management (EDM) Project:
Over ten years ago, I volunteered for an assignment I had no idea how to start. It took me back
to the days in high school algebra class. If the teacher turned and began scribbling
a long equation on the blackboard, you knew that when she turned around and faced the
class she was looking for a victim to call on to solve the problem. That was something
you never volunteered for. The assignment I mistakenly volunteered for was to help my
client select an electronic document imaging/management solution (EDM). Maybe you are in the exact
place I was those many years ago, you are responsible to select an EDM system and you
too do not know where to begin. I began my task by talking to vendors of these products
and their references, and I learned very little. It wasn t until I remembered that in life
we learn from our failures. So, I began searching for failed EDM projects and that is when I
really began to learn. From the lessons learned from the failures, I came up with what I call
the 7 ingredients for a successful EDM project. If you use this recipe of ingredients, you
will find the result is a successful implementation of an EDM system. Ingredient 1: Easy to Learn
and Use: The product you select must be easy to learn and easy to use otherwise your project
will fail. Why you ask? I believe there are two reasons: people are too busy or too lazy
to learn a complicated program, or people take the path of least resistance. In either
case, most people will either go back to their old ways or go to the one person that took
the time to learn the product. Another important aspect to this ingredient is that it is important
for the user to easily find the document they are seeking no matter what they know about
the document. That means that the product you choose should have a good search engine
and allow index searches as well as full text searches. Ingredient 2: Non-proprietary The
product that you select cannot have anything proprietary in it. Many of the early EDM products
were loaded with proprietary technology -- they had drives, hardware, database, and image
file formats that were all proprietary. Today we even see that in many products. These products
with use a modified TIFF file format or will use the popular PDF format which requires
an Adobe reader. Also, many vendors offer an add-on imaging module to their product
such as a CRM or ERP system. These imaging modules for the most part are very limited
in their capability and are only useful for documents related to the vendor s product.
And often they use proprietary formats or methods of attaching documents to their system.
Having these proprietary items may make it difficult to upgrade the system, integrate
it to another system, use for other documents in the organization, or migrate to a completely
new EDM system. Ingredient 3: Scalable Any product you select should be able to grow
as your needs grow. Many of the early systems came in certain user units such as 10, 25,
50, or 100, so if you were at 24 users and wanted to add just one more user, you had
a huge expense. Also, many systems have limitations on the number of users and the number of pages
it will handle. The system you select should be able to expand from one user to any number
of users you need and add features such as batch processing or workflow if and when you
need it. Ingredient 4: Adaptable The product you select that the way you implement it into
your environment must be able to adapt to the way people are familiar with working.
That means that the way we stored things on paper should be similar to the way we store
them electronically. For example, if we stored accounts payable documents on paper filed
by company last name, then in the imaging system you should be able to able to see the
AP documents stored in electronic folders alphabetically by company name. You should
not have to change the way you do business to fit the software. Ingredient 5: Open architecture
Electronic document imaging systems are very powerful and useful to an organization as
a stand alone unit, but the value grows exponentially when you are able to integrate it with other
existing systems such as accounting or contact management systems. I suggest picking a system
that runs on an open platform such as Microsoft SQL and has a programmer s tool kit and other
utilities that allow it to link to other databases. One city that I work with realize the power
of integration when there integrated their document imaging system with their graphical
information system (GIS), their permit program and their online credit card processing system.
Now they are able to go to a map of the city and clink on a parcel (lot) and quickly see
all documents associated with that parcel of land including permits, correspondence,
payments or building prints. Ingredient 6: Long term vendor When I was doing my research
on failed EDM projects I was surprised to find a large number of failed projects were
cause by the vendor no longer supporting the product that the organization was using. Looking
deeper, the companies that dropped their EDM products were not the small entrepreneurial
companies but were large, solid companies that had their major focus in some other product
area such as copier equipment or computer hardware. These companies saw EDM as a small
distraction to their large corporate portfolio, but to their users it was a key product that
housed vital company documents. The users felt betrayed and left hanging with no recourse
but to find a way to migrate their data and documents to a new system. Today, I tell people
to find an EDM vendor who main focus is document imaging and that has been in business for
more than ten years. Ingredient 7: Phased approach I also found that organizations that
tried to implement everything all at once were more likely to fail than the organization
that broke the project into several phases and systematically moved thru the organizations.
One reason these all or nothing type projects fail is that nothing actually get completed
because time is divided amongst all the departments. The other reason project like this fail is
that people basically hate change and when you change everything at once they push back.
The best way to implement document imaging in an organization is by evolution rather
than revolution. 7 Ingredients to a successful document imaging/management project Solbrekk,Inc.
Normal.dot Solbrekk,Inc. Microsoft Office Word Solbrekk, Inc. 7 Ingredients to a successful
document imaging/management project Title Microsoft Office Word Document MSWordDoc Word.Document.8