Who Should Drive Your Document Management Project? (And Who Shouldn’t)

Document management all comes down to creating solutions that organize information and make it easy for the end users to accomplish their tasks.

To ensure success with any document management implementation:

  • Never forget the original ROI, or the reason for the project
  • Make sure to include end users in the vendor selection process
  • Always include end users in the design and implementation
  • Never let IT drive the project

Organizations often get bogged down in technical details to the detriment of the poor and forgotten end user. What starts out as a project to help the end user become more effective, efficient, happy or productive can quickly turn into a long and painful IT project. When this happens, and no matter how technically elegant the outcome is, the document management system is doomed to fail.

Obviously, we all know that not all IT driven projects fail. There are IT professionals who live by the first three rules above. They understand that their position is a support role that helps the organization achieve its goals. Unfortunately, those IT professionals are the exception, rather than the rule.

If you are an end user who needs to implement a document management solution to solve a specific problem such as improving your accounts payable process, managing HR documents, streamlining contract processing, or any of the hundreds of other possible issues, here’s how to know if you are doomed to fail:

1.  Has your IT department issued an RFP? If you read it and it focuses on technical specifications, you   
     might be in trouble.
2.  If your IT department issued an RFP and you get responses that are all over the map, you   
     might be in trouble.
3.  If your IT department looks for a solution, but does not include your group in the process, you   
     might be in trouble.
4.  If the first thing you hear from your IT group is about IT standards, free or open source, you need to 
     either find a new IT group or a new job because you will grow old waiting for your solution.
So regardless of which side of the project you are on, IT or end user, here’s how you can ensure that you add your new document management implementation into the “success” column. It’s all about communication. The more each side understands both the problem and the potential solutions, the more likely you are to come to a positive result.