This is the second of two posts dealing with the management side of taking your office paperless. The first post from last week dealt with the first 5 things to consider from a management perspective. This post looks at the remaining 5 things to be part of your paperless plan.
Here are the next 5 things to consider:
- Research: Do a thorough investigation of the available tools to help you (document management systems, electronic faxing, scanners, data backup systems, security systems, document conversion companies, process consultants, storage formats, storage devices, remote access devices etc…). Knowledgeable consultants can help you out here.
- Budget: This is required!!! Select your needs in advance (hardware, software, training and installation, consultants) and arrange to incorporate these into your budget and into your business plans. You may have to spread things out a bit to accommodate everything in the budget. For software, consider what will fit with your needs, including ease of use and implementation, cost, and integration with your existing systems. Don’t neglect backup needs to keep electronic data from being lost!
- Do a small test project: make any needed changes; and then move to the transition into the rest of the practice, using your early adopters as change agents.
- Develop a plan: for ongoing practice-wide use. Include a document storage plan for employees with specific guidelines.
- Do a celebration followed by a post-mortem. Learn from the experience!
There are many benefits of taking your firm paperless. Much of the literature in the area speaks to the technological side of the process. However, paying attention to the management side will oftentimes make the difference between a successful and straightforward conversion to the digital world and one that was fraught with anxiety, stress and wasted energy.
Having a plan means that you are prepared to handle the potential roadblocks as you have given them due consideration and have your responses thereto already thought out and are ready to handle them in a smooth and businesslike manner.