Common pitfalls when choosing a document management solution

If you are looking to implement a Document Management Systems (DMS) – you’ve come to the right place. In this article we will explain the most common pitfalls to prevent when it comes down to the selection and implementation of a document management solution. The pitfalls mentioned in this article are based upon our experience as a leading implementation and support partner of document management solutions of our technology partner iManage.

Pitfall 1: Only focus on things that go wrong

Many organizations emphasize on matters which aren’t going well in the organization or in its current systems. Matters or processes which actually are going well are often forgotten. Often organizations assume that automatically this is also the case in the new document management system – which obviously isn’t the case. Therefor we always recommend to analyze all possible processes, functionalities and workflows during the selection process to create a clear overview of what is covered by a new DMS –and what’s not.

Pitfall 2: Unrealistic timetable and availability of resources

Many organizations are planning a DMS project too tight in terms of available time and resources. Understandable, as the daily business routine just continues as any other day. However, one of the main reasons to implement a DMS or replace an existing one is to become more productive and work more efficiently. Meaning it would be logical to invest the right amount of time and resources upfront to have a clear and realistic project plan to implement the DMS. Even if this is the case, it could happen that the project takes longer than previously thought due to unforeseen circumstances and the availability of required resources but it surely supports in reducing such “hiccups” to a minimum!

Pitfall 3: Attention drops

At the start of the selection process for a DMS attention is often highly present. But a problem that often occurs is that this attention weakens as time goes by. Organizations could be overwhelmed by the enormous choice of different DMS systems and the corresponding suppliers. If this “DMS selection fatigue” occurs  organizations could chose to use the software asap, without a proper intake, functional- and technical design. Good intentions such as requesting references or attending workshops could be skipped with all consequences.

Even though you may not chose for IRIS as your partner for your DMS, make sure to allocate time and resources to make the right choice when it comes to the selection of a new DMS. You can always contact us if you’re not sure if iManage or OpenText is the DMS for you – as we gladly discuss if these solution fits your organization’s needs and requirements.

Pitfall 4: Users are not involved

The new DMS must match the way of work within your organization. Even though some of the existing working processes may be adjusted due to the functionalities of the new DMS, most of the processes should fit within the new DMS. We cannot stress enough the importance of involving the knowledge of future users as they, due to practical experience, can support in making sure that the new DMS works better and more convenient.

Pitfall 5: Automation and ready

The most successful DMS implementations take the period after implementation into account. Implementing a DMS is not just about automating current processes, it’s also about how these are handled within the new DMS. Therefor it is important to already anticipate on future issues which may arise with the implementation of new DMS.

Pitfall 6: Progressive insight

During the implementation process it is important to have knowledge available about both document management and other relevant systems at the company. Why? This can lead to new insights and renewed requirements instead on the ones which were set in the beginning. That’s one of the reasons why we always carry out DMS projects in pre-defined phases, so new insights can be processed if applicable.

Pitfall 7: Cut back on the price

Let’s be honest: just like other business critical IT solutions, a proper DMS with advanced functionalities costs money. There are many different factors which define the investment needed as amount of users, deployment (on-premise or Cloud), functionalities, customizations and much more. Too little budget for the desired functionalities, implementation services and training may result in a DMS that doesn’t fully fit your organization and staff. Ultimately this has a negative influence on the ROI and adoption of the new DMS.

Pitfall 8: Have the trainee sort it out

It is still too common: management is too busy to do fieldwork for a new system for document management, so a “trainee” is conducting such research. This doesn’t necessarily has to be wrong. However, a DMS often is a business critical system of the future operations and it is not advisable to postpone the selection of this solution for new or inexperienced forces. You could ask yourself the question: does the person know your business processes from head to toe? The experience with such systems, selection processes and the market overview is missing in most cases. A DMS implementation can be seen as a large and complex project and wrong choices or errors can have drastic consequences. Concluding, we recommended to select the responsible project team carefully.

Pitfall 9: Selection based on brand awareness

There are many different DMS solutions from many different manufacturers. There are packages for specific company sizes, for specific sectors or for certain functionalities. Make sure you do enough research to compare the available solutions. We are partnered with iManage and OpenText and therefor are able to offer both best-of-breed DMS solutions which we already implemented in various industries. It is safe to say that we are able to provide you with honest advice in terms of our solutions would be a good fit for your organization and if they are not – we can guide you to other solutions which have a better fit with your needs and requirements. After all, we are committed to enable our customers to excel in operational effectiveness through the use of intelligent, future-proof information management solutions.

Pitfall 10: No maintenance strategy

Once the implementation process is completed, users actually start working with the new DMS. It is unwise as an organization to stop investing after the implementation of the new document management system is finished. There are several reasons to think of why it is important to maintain the newly DMS as this is also the case with other business critical IT solutions within your organization.

First of all, having a reliable support partner of the DMS solution to support your organization with any issues that may arise is key. Support can be managed from within your organization by training your staff our the employment of new staff which have knowledge of the DMS. Another way is to outsource support to an official support partner of the DMS. Usually, support partners offer a range of Support Level Agreements so organizations can choose the type of support which fits their needs.

Secondly, as stated before, a DMS generally is a business critical IT system within an organization due to the fact that (in the best case) all business relevant information is filed in the system. Why wouldn’t you invest in ensuring the continuity of such a system as it could harm your organization’s reputation and business activities? Imagine if, for what reason, the system is not accessible, there is a data breach or anything other? Making sure your DMS is up-to-date with all the latest security standards is necessary to prevent bad events that may harm your business.

Lastly, the “fine-tuning” of the solution afterwards based on changed and possible new ways of working can greatly benefit the users productivity as well as the adoption in general. In the most ideal setting all these fine-tuning changes have been configured in the project itself but this is often not the case. An explanation for this is quite self-explanatory: users have to adapt to a new system and after a while when they have some experience suggestions for adjustments will arise to even better fit to their (new) way of working with the DMS.

How we can help

At IRIS Nederland we take information management seriously. Information is the source of every organization and therefor requires intelligent, future-proof solutions which meet the needs of organizations and their users. We keep that promise to our customers for over 20 years now. Whether you are looking to implement a new document- or any other information management solution: we have the experience to support you with such a project from start to finish. Get in touch with us if you want to know more how our solutions and services can make your organization work more efficient, secure and smarter.