Part 2 of our series, on setting expectations for cloud document management.

Over the past 5 years, nearly every Community IT infrastructure project has included some cloud document management component. As we have helped clients plan and migrate their platform for managing documents to the cloud, several trends have started to emerge.

In this series of posts we’re covering different aspects of a migration project and how to be successful. As you think more seriously about migrating to a cloud based document management solution please consider our tested and proven methodology:

Define Your Project Scope Using Research and Due Diligence

After you have defined your business case you will also need to define the appropriate project scope: requirements, schedule, cost, system design, success criteria and deliverables. These are the foundations for a successful cloud deployment project.

Begin with research.  Network with colleagues to learn about their systems, and any pros and cons they can pass along. In other words, the sales rep interested in selling you a product should never be your only source of information on what that cloud solution does and how it works in real life.
Here are a few examples of due diligence around pros and cons of a cloud based document management solution:

Set Realistic Expectations

When proposing changes to your organization, it is essential to set realistic expectations as early in the process as possible. Although you can start by highlighting the biggest benefits and efficiencies of the new systems, you will also need to be honest about the potential limitations.  You may reduce functionality in different operating systems, your new system may have additional software and hardware that will need to be purchased, or you may have incompatibility with existing systems that will no longer integrate.  The user interface will most likely change, and in some cases will change dramatically.

A good consultant or sales rep should be able to tell you the cons as well as the pros about moving to cloud based document storage. Community IT Innovators has started to regard our introduction to SharePoint as an “un-selling” process – we consciously point out the negatives, which can help us gauge an organization’s tolerance for change.  If the benefits are seen to outweigh the drawbacks, then we know we have good organizational buy-in for the project.

In the decision making process you will need to examine carefully any processes that need to be changed, or created, for effective use of the new platform. If there are any hidden or future costs associated with the system, they need to be brought to light.
Here are some examples of process change or hidden cost considerations:

You should expect to be able to test the proposed systems with specific examples of your business case (which your proposed system should improve, not just change!)  For example, you should expect the sales rep or consultant to be able to show you either a demonstration with a sample file from your organization, or a very similar user case. Ideally different systems can be tested on the same file set, by your staff who will be users, to determine which of them best meets the defined business case.
Some examples of testing different options:

Finally, you will need to take into consideration the culture of your organization and plan for roll out, training, and usability testing and corrections after implementation.  Your decision on a new cloud system shouldn’t be delayed by a fear of roll out, but a good sales rep or consultant will help you take roll out and training demands into consideration as you compare products.

Here are a few examples of issues with training users and recruiting champions:

Part 3 in this series will cover usability, usability, and usability.  If you missed the previous posts you’ll find links at the top.
If you’ve missed any of our past webinars or posts on cloud document storage platforms or planning, you can find more resources here.
You can download a pdf (1.2MB) or share this entire series online here.

Johanny TorricoJohan Hammerstrom, Abdul Musa and Carolyn Woodard contributed to this series.