Paper to Digital Transition Projects: What to Take Into Account

It’s still fairly frequent to come across document management paper to digital transition projects. These projects include:

  • Processes that are currently carried out 100% on paper.
  • Mixed processes that are carried out in part on paper and in part using obsolete tools, Excel files, or Access databases.

The main characteristic of these projects is that the users are not very familiar with technology. They feel comfortable using paper and they probably have been doing their job in the same way for many years. In regards to project management, this means that we have to take special care. Below, we have listed several measures to consider.

Involve users in the definition phase

In paper to digital transition document management projects, you especially have to take the end users of the tool into account. Don’t make the mistake of leaving definitions in the hands of IT alone. Just the opposite: from the consulting and definition phase, you have to make these users feel that the change is going to help them in their job and that they are going to be able to work better. To be able to help them do their job better, you have to understand how they currently work, where the current inefficiencies are, and understand the value that the technology can provide them.

Familiarise users with the tool from the early phases

Remember that we are talking about users who feel comfortable with paper or who have been working with Excel for a long time. We are going to radically change the way they work.. Making the change as smooth as possible for users can be done by having them visualise what the tool they are going to be working with will be like. This has to be done from the beginning so that users have an ongoing period of time to visually familiarise themselves with the tool. This must be done at a pace at which they don’t feel overwhelmed by pressure to start using the tool now.

Many UATs

For the majority of users, we don’t completely learn something when someone simply tells us about it. We have to play around with it and get our hands dirty. We need to make mistakes and try again. User acceptance tests are not only important for discovering incidents, they are also a way to train users and have them detect if there are situations in their work that have not been considered.

Though projects of this type tend to have risks associated with adopting the new tool, they are also very interesting and gratifying projects with highly visible results that truly shine. These projects simply need extra effort when it comes to educating users.

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About Almudena Delgado