The only thing we have to fear is ....going paperless?

12/8/2010

In a recent records management poll we conducted over 56% of people chose “Fear of change” as the main obstacle in their way to a paperless future.  The response that came in 2nd was funding.  I found that to be an interesting statement that made me curious to what is behind this fear.

 I’ve asked some people here at Archive Systems who deal with clients every day.  Here are some of the reasons we see:

  • Fear of letting go of paper (paper = comfort)
  • Distrust of electronic documents (security, disaster recovery)
  • Perception of project being large and costly
  • Not knowing where to begin
  • Fear of failure

The first three fall into the category “Fear of the Unknown”.   These fears exist in the departments that will be impacted by a change in process, and typically not the Records Managers.  The goal for the Records Manager is to educate each group to relieve these fears.  If the users do not have all the information readily available they will continue to be an obstacle. 

The latter two fall into the category “Deer in the Headlights”. Records Managers see the enormous amount of work in front of them and fall into gridlock.  This is not an unusual response for anyone who gets overwhelmed with “to dos” – nothing ends up getting done.  My two cents here – prioritize and plan.  Go for the quick wins first; begin with a department that is accepting and eager for change and work with them as the pilot.  From there tackle department after department. 

Fear is healthy if it produces careful planning and risk mitigation.  It is deadly if it stops progress.

What are your thoughts?  Have you experienced other fears?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Paul Giardina
Chief Marketing Officer
Archive Systems, Inc.
Changing the Way the World Manages Documents


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