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In 5 Steps to a Successful DMS

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One thing is certain if a company is considering the purchase of a document management system (DMS): a change in the field of IT affects an organization. From day-to-day practice, in which we organize DMS for clients in various branches and of different company sizes, the experience is that IT implementations therefore require an integrated approach. A successful DMS implementation stands or falls with an approach that pays attention to organizational value, reason, commitment, change structure and communication.

One of the ways to arrive at an integrated approach is to follow a step-by-step plan. The text below describes 5 steps to a successful DMS and is the result of answers to questions from (potential) customers, practical experience and project evaluations.

Step-by-step plan for successful DMS

A workable and effective DMS can only be achieved by applying and communicating a clear strategy from the orientation phase. The 5-step plan below is a tool that ensures that that strategy contains the elements of business interest, necessity, support, project organization and communication.

The 5 steps to a successful DMS are:

1. Determine and describe the need
2. Limit the scope of the project
3. Compile the package of requirements (PVE)
4. Select a supplier
5. Prepare a project plan for implementation

Step 1: Description of necessity

Whatever the problem, vision or decision is the reason for purchasing a DMS, it's very important to clearly state the need for change on paper. This is best reflected in a description of the current situation and the desired situation. A proven approach is to include department representatives directly from step 1 in the project team. This ensures involvement from all layers of the organization and makes control possible. From step 1, communication about the project and progress is crucial to create support for change throughout the company. The project members act as ambassadors and contacts in this regard.

Step 2: Scope limitation

Often during step 1 several points arise that require a solution. Experience has shown that setting priorities helps to limit the scope of the project. The scope can be determined better by separating requirements from wishes. This makes the project manageable, easier to implement and it increases the chances of success. It also prevents the final design of the DMS from meeting expectations. Wishes can always be included in a follow-up process.

Step 3: Composition of the PVE

The project team has been assembled, the scope has been determined, but which software comes closest to the desired solution? In step 3, a package of requirements (PVE) must be compiled for this. This describes in detail what requirements a solution must meet.

Because the project team reflects the organization, the detailed PVE will contain elements that meet the conditions that the various departments set for a workable DMS.

Step 4: Supplier selection process

With a detailed PVE, the selection process for a DMS software supplier can be made in step 4be started. This naturally starts with the preparation of a long list. These suppliers are sent a Request for Information (RFI) with the detailed PVE for reply. Based on this phase, the long list is reduced to a short list of companies that come to give a presentation to the project team. It's good to ask the supplier to fill in a suggested example, a script, with his solution. In this way you can quickly see whether it meets demand and operational management. When compiling a script, try to stay close to current reality and determine a real scenario. The misconception of making a script of how it should work in the ideal image is quickly made. After the presentations, the project team makes a choice for a supplier.

Step 5: Drawing up a project plan for implementation

With the choice of a supplier, the last stage, step 5, has arrived: drawing up a project plan for the implementation of the DMS. Together with the supplier, the project members make a scenario for the design and delivery of the DMS. Consideration should also be given to training employees in the use of the new application.

Summary and conclusion

Every IT implementation entails changes for the organization. By launching a DMS project as an organizational change and ensuring an integrated approach, a controlled implementation and successful DMS comes within reach. This way, those directly involved know what is expected of them and the entire organization is aware of the upcoming change. The 5-step plan can help with this.

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