Planning a new or upgrade of your Document Management System? Here are 10 “do’s” to streamline the process

Many firms are looking to improve their Document Management Systems and vendors are making major improvements to their offerings.  Making changes to your DMS is a challenging effort and will have a significant impact on users.  There are many ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ and below we have listed ten do’s that should be considered.

  1. Ask for user feedback by scheduling educational sessions. Don’t ask users open ended questions. Share examples and ask specific questions. Distribute the information ahead of time so users have time to prepare their feedback.


  1. Make sure to include the administrative team when gathering requirements and feedback. Many Firms focus only on the legal practice requirements of the DMS.  While the legal practice is the most important area, there are other important design considerations that are frequently overlooked for the administrative functions.


  1. Note the locations where documents are stored. You may find that the document migration process is more complex than anticipated unless you know where the documents are located. Moving documents into the new system, the types of documents, and the number of documents all influence the process.


  1. Use the selection and implementation of a new DMS as an opportunity to assess and update your Information Governance policies. Information Governance is increasingly receiving the focus that it should.  Areas such as retention, client notification, security, what is the ‘official’ record, and more should be considered.


  1. Consider third party products that must be integrated into the DM environment. It may be necessary to update to a newer version in order to work with your new DMS. There may be a cost to upgrade that should be included in your planning budget.


  1. Include business continuity and disaster recovery in your planning. This seems obvious, but many Firms miss this when upgrading or implementing a new DMS.


  1. Be prepared for the cloud. If you are thinking about the cloud, make sure that you are fully educated on the implications.  Bandwidth, security, cost and more should be carefully assessed.  Many firms go through a formal ‘Cloud Readiness’ assessment.


  1. Conduct a thorough cost analysis if you are looking at alternatives. Include Opex, Capex, and TCO as part of the process.


  1. Assess the impact of change on your user community. Consider how the implementation of a new DMS is sequenced into the list of current projects so there is minimal overload for the end users.


  1. Make sure to include security features in your planning and DM assessment.  Your General Counsel (or someone in a similar role) should be involved in the planning and selection process.


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