What Next ??!! – The Art of the Government ECM Roadmap

Just back from our biggest ever users’ conference and the question on many government end users’ minds is “What next?”

Not surprising in the current “New Normal” climate of risk reduction, cost-cutting and staff squeezes. Even without these dilemmas, the timing and expansion of enterprise solutions has always required thought, diplomacy and planning. The struggles of these end users include delayed and reduced budgets, less appetite for change in the context of reduced staff and the need for quick success in terms of ROI and the application’s dependability. 

So, what next? Here are some ideas about how to pick your next enterprise content management solution expansion :

  • Measure the paper. The fact is, paper-based systems are slower and costly to sustain. Tackling departments with the most paper will produce savings of both time and money. It will also produce benefits in terms of better or maintained customer service levels, because the time your staff used to spend printing, filing,photocopying  and searching for documents is recaptured and can now point toward other needs.
  • Biggest cuts. It’s likely one or more departments experienced big cuts in budget or staff. If you find yourself looking for the next expansion, it makes sense to address what is likely the same workload despite cuts. In this scenario, you eliminate low-value tasks associated with paper systems and replace them with fast retrieval and no need to print, file or photocopy. That allows remaining staff to work within a smaller budget and recaptures time to make up for staff cuts.
  • Compliance burden. My own experience with document management started with the need to produce and store complete documentation for my department. If you have departments that live and die on the completeness of the documentation of processes, they are great candidates for your next expansion. And in the era of reduced staffing, this may save your agency from a difficult audit or monitoring visit. Why? Because the tools offered by document management can reinforce documentation requirements even as the staff avoids some of the low-value tasks discussed above.
  • Horizontal application Savvy deployment folks know user acceptance and change management is often at the core of the success of that government IT investment. They also know this is not easy. Picking a horizontal application for a next step not only brings the new investment into every user’s life, it forces change in a productive way. So, it may be that AP or HR are the logical next steps, and using document management to automate some of these processes can really speed the document management adoption rate. . Horizontal applications may be the best place to start because it tells your users document management is here to stay, but you would be doing that within departments that have had some of the highest reported ROIs.
  • Deploying a new application. This one thanks to a great end user. Whenever they deploy a new database or solution they integrate it into document management. In that way they make a change at once and the new experience with their solution includes a hot key to bring up the related documents. That’s smart change management.
  • Funding. Sometimes the next expansion is about who has the money. The good news is the solution’s  value, your expertise and your experience grows just the same, but the availability of funding can keep your overall progress going, even during difficult budget times.
  • The champion. There is no doubt you are facing change management challenges when you propose document management. Why not embrace those with vision,tackle them first and let the good news about document management make its way around the organization, thanks to these champions of vision.

Government end users that are satisfied with their document management solution are always looking for the next deployment. These ideas form the basis for how to decide between multiple options as you move forward to get the most from your document management investment.

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10 plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at terri.jones@onbase.com.

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