steps to introducing a document management system

10 steps to introducing a document management system


Many organisations will currently have a mix of paper and digital processes.

Applications acquired in order to serve an immediate need may have been working as expected. Yet the chances are that as the complexity of the organisation grows, the current processes  are no longer fit for purpose.
Take document management, for example. This is likely to be handled by a digital solution combined with some physical storage or at least involving some manual effort from staff to ensure information is indexed correctly.  This approach may be working well, however it may be time to consider a more comprehensive solution that will make operational processes more efficient, save on cost and allow employees to focus on their jobs rather than looking for information. Implementing a document management system (DMS) can be a challenge but with a systematic approach you can avoid problems. 

1. Convince those involved and bring in specialist departments

The introduction of a  DMS is a complex and extensive project that changes the work of colleagues. Create team spirit at an early stage and involve all relevant employees and departments. Use their knowledge, experience and expertise.

2. Conduct a comprehensive inventory of the current situation

A detailed as-is analysis forms the basis of well-founded project planning:
  • What documents do you work with in your organisation?
  • How is the processing, indexing and archiving of these currently carried out?
  • What are the reasons for onboarding a new system?
List all points in detail and create a checklist.

3. Develop objectives

The as-is analysis is the foundation on which you define detailed goals aligned with what you want to achieve. Formulate which document types you want to digitise and how you want to organise the flow of information in the organisation.
The question of which departments and people should have access to the documents is also important. Think of criteria such as work efficiency, data protection and information security. It is also key to set priorities. 

4. Choose established IT professionals as partners

For most organisations an all-inclusive package supplied by IT providers with extensive service from planning to installation to support is recommended. 
You must be able to rely on the smooth operation and easy handling of the DMS software. Make sure that an IT service provider has sufficient experience and guarantees intensive project support.

5. Organise and conduct training for employees

Adequate training on the new software means that your staff get a good introduction to the program. A good partner will support you with this to ensure best practice is implemented.
When you plan your steps to introduce digital document management, you should think about the necessary skills of your workforce. Ideally, your employees can use the software directly after the introduction. This allows you to quickly realise the benefits.
Invest in quality training and workshops. Your IT service provider should offer practical training courses.

6. The implementation: Introduction of the DMS software

You have mastered the preparatory steps for the introduction, now comes the big moment: IT specialists roll out the software and your staff can use the digital applications. Previous training should enable them to understand and operate the functions that are required.
Nevertheless, there will be questions and problems. This is normal with such a comprehensive changeover. The right digital partner will support you with project management. Rapid support is particularly important for minor problems.

7. Closely support the implementation of the DMS

The digitisation of your document management is usually a medium to long-term process. Sometimes it is only in practice that it becomes clear where there is an additional need for optimisation.
Collect the experience of your departments and employees systematically.

8. Implement review workshops

A valuable contribution to systematic project support includes review workshops  where you can get targeted feedback from your workforce. Lots of things get lost in everyday life. For example, a problem arises or someone has a suggestion for improvement, but then forgets to forward it. With review workshops, you can capture and address your team's practical experience.

9. Gradually implement your new digital processes

Many organisations decide to digitise their document management step by step. This enables clear implementation over a longer period of time and better control. The organisation of training courses and other tasks are a constant part of this over several months or years. Therefore, forward planning is essential.

10. Permanent project management: controlling and adjustment

Understand the digitisation of your document management as a long-term project. Technical possibilities can change just like your individual requirements. You should therefore consistently check to what extent your current DMS corresponds to the needs of your organisation.
Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson


Ricoh can support you with the introduction of document management

Introducing a new DMS and process in a systemic and co-ordinated way is vital to the long-term success of the project. It’s important to make sure you work with a digital partner who can support you through all stages of the implementation, and who can provide training and ongoing support to embed the behaviour change within your organisation that’s needed.

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