How to Successfully Implement RIM Software – Part 1
Records management software isn’t something you can pull off the shelf and start using right away. It requires careful planning and implementation to deliver the maximum value.
In a two-part blog post, we share five strategies that our clients have used to ensure a successful implementation of records management software.
The insights and lessons will help you:
- assign the right people to the implementation team
- plan the implementation and software roll-out
- tackle some of the big issues along the way.
STRATEGY 1: ASSEMBLE A DIVERSE TEAM
The sooner you can bring key stakeholders into the process, the better. The most successful way to do this is to assemble a project team that oversees the entire process from initiation, through to implementation, and beyond. Whether you are just building the business case or starting to evaluate software providers, your project team can be a great source of helpful input to the process. Our clients have shared amazing anecdotes about the important contributions made by all kinds of participants, including individuals with little knowledge of records management or IT. So when choosing your team, be sure to include a cross-section of seniority levels and areas of expertise.
Who Should Be on the Team?
Each team should reflect the particular organization and situation, but the most successful implementation teams include the following groups:
- Records Management
- Departmental Staff
- Business Analyst or Systems Engineer
The business analyst or systems engineer is one of the most important roles on the team. This is the individual who captures your unique requirements and ensures that they are translated into set of specifications for the software implementation. Your software vendor should provide you with a business analyst or systems engineer for the implementation process. Consider it a big red flag if they don’t. One of the main reasons that software installations fail is the lack of attention to this vital role.
STRATEGY 2: PARTICIPATE PASSIONATELY IN THE PROCESS
One of the reasons you assemble a project team is to keep key stakeholders up-to-speed on the process, but the bigger reason is to obtain their input and feedback.
To obtain valuable input throughout the process, you need two things: smart team management and a process that is interactive by design – which is something your software provider should be driving for you.
When it is done right, the implementation process will be held together by a series of project meetings and working sessions. Here are a few tactics to help you manage your team and ensure that those meetings are productive.
- Communicate the meeting schedule and agendas clearly, and well in advance.
- Make attendance mandatory. You’ll need support from senior management on this.
- Provide homework whenever possible to ensure that individuals have time to think about their contributions.
- Create an open atmosphere for discussion. Our clients are continually finding that there are no “dumb” questions.
- Bring everyone along with you. One of our clients made a point not to move past any specific discussion until everyone was 100 percent clear on the situation and the rationale for the decision that was being agreed to. This ensures that no one gets left behind or disassociated from the process.
In next week’s blog post we look at three more strategies to ensure a successful RIM software implementation, including: embracing the hybrid environment, tackling electronic content selectively, and proactively managing change.