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How to Convince Your Boss You Need Document Management

by Kristin Logan | Oct 27, 2016

strategic planningIt's frustrating when you know that electronic document management would offer your organization a host of benefits, but your boss says no. 
In order to get document management systems in place, you have to help management see the same value in it that you see, and then some.
The resistance you experience from management can be from a number of factors. Some managers just don’t like to spend money. Others view technology as a luxury, missing the advantages it presents the organization.

So how do you convince them?

With a good proposal.

First things first. Identify other technology projects your manager has signed off on. Maybe they agreed to a new phone system or some new software. Whatever it was, determine what sold them on those projects. Some managers adopt new technology to save money, some might want to improve service. It’s up to you to identify these motives.

Next, list out the benefits that document management solutions bring for your organization or department. There are several possible benefits, but you want to specifically pick out the ones that align with your manager’s core objectives.

To be able to articulate how a document management system will bring the touted benefits, you should be deeply familiar with your current paper processes.

Your proposal should address the following:

1. What do you do with the paper, exactly?
Spell it out, step by step. Identify the number of people involved with the average file, the amount of time each employee spends with the file and the number of files your office processes on a weekly or monthly basis. Are there unnecessarily redundant processes?

2. Pinpoint costs associated with these paper processes. Special paper, ink/toner, leasing or buying copiers and printers, copier maintenance costs, purchasing filing cabinets and shredding services. There are other associated costs as well, such as the square footage of the storage space and the cost of recovering lost data through file restoration – if it is even recoverable.

3. Identify associated labor. How much time does each employee spend with the document? According to a 2012 IDC report, the average worker spends up to 20% of their time filing, retrieving and searching for paper documents. That would be an entire work day of a normal 40-hour work week. Needless to say, labor is a significant cost and if employees are spending that much time on paper, you can demonstrate a considerable savings with an electronic document management system. 

4. Highlight risks.
Paper documents have a number of inherent risks, from typos to loss. In many settings, these risks are increasingly penalized by regulatory fines. If you’re required to ensure the security of documents because of regulations, then paper documents pose a threat. If you’re required to retain files for long periods of time, the environment can be hazardous. Paper is very vulnerable to environmental damage, disaster and accidental destruction (especially when they’re not backed up in any way). What would these risks mean to your organization?

To help demonstrate how an electronic document management system will be different from your existing paper processes, you can enlist the assistance of a document management expert. Once you start outlining how storing, retrieving, and using documents is different with a document management system, you can start to highlight cost savings, improved productivity and quality control measures that you won’t get with paper.

Your management will focus on what they deem to be key business objectives and issues. When you know what your manager’s specific focal points are, you can better tailor your document management proposal to their core concerns. Not only will that make it more likely for you to get document management systems in place and start reaping the benefits, but it will also demonstrate to management how you are addressing their most pressing challenges and key objectives. 

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​Milner Technologies is a leading provider of document management solutions. From planning to execution, we help organizations across heavily regulated industries maximize their efficiency and compliance with our solutions. Contact us