Best Practices for Building a Core of Internal Champions

Steve Comer, Credit Union Industry Manager, Hyland Softwareby: Steve Comer, Credit Union Industry Manager, Hyland Software

Your credit union is buried in paper. And if it’s not negatively impacting member service, it will be soon. But being the forward-thinking leader that you are, you’ve come up with a solution: use enterprise content management (ECM) to electronically capture documents and the important information that surrounds them.

In fact, it’s such a great solution, not only will it decrease your reliance on paper and speed up your processes by giving everyone instant access to information, it will also save money on shipping and storing all that paper. Plus, it gives you the ability to proactively comply with regulations. And you can integrate your ECM platform with the systems you rely on every day so information is readily available from the applications where your employees spend the majority of their time.

With a quick return on investment, it should be an easy sell, right?

Unfortunately, now comes the tricky part: getting other people in your credit union on board. Sure, you’re already a champion for the project, but enlisting other people in departments across your credit union will only make your job easier. Working with almost 11,000 customers over the last 20 years, Hyland Software has come up with some best practices to help you share your vision with other decision makers.

Here are the top five.

1. Start with paper-intensive processes that affect member service

The best places to start looking for internal champions are where paper-based processes affect member service. For example, many credit unions store member-related information like IDs and signature cards at the branch where the member originally signed up. When members visit a different branch, they’re forced to wait while their information is faxed over. Do you really want to make your members wait minutes, hours or even a day for paperwork?

Providing exceptional member service is how credit unions differentiate themselves, so this is a great area to look for champions. People who interact with members will understand how immediate access to information is a huge benefit, both internally and externally.

2. Identify your core of internal champions
Organizations don’t buy things, people do. And the higher you go in the organization to find champions or evangelists, the greater influence those people will have. Cultivating high-level support will also help with user adoption and promotion of the solution to the rest of the executive team. Show them how capturing documents and information electronically gives them increased visibility into processes and empowers them to manage the credit union with real-time information.

But you’ll also want to reach far and wide. The more your champions know about processes, issues and needs in other areas across the organization, the better. Find experts who can help others understand how processes that are drowning in paper – or are simply inefficient – can be optimized and how the solution can be expanded across the credit union to share information to further increase speed and accuracy. IT is always a great place to look for early adopters.

Now that you’ve gone far and wide, go deep. Add more people to your team. A group of voices from different areas within the organization is more impactful than one voice. Once you have some key people in your corner, take time to find out what return on investment these individuals expect. Ask them what they think success would look like. The more questions you can anticipate and answer, the more likely you’ll be able to give the ultimate decision makers the answers they’re looking for.

3. Develop your core of internal champions

Now that you’ve identified champions, utilize their knowledge. Find out what pains your influencers are experiencing and schedule a short session to teach these influential people how an ECM solution can quickly solve their issues. When implemented correctly with the end user in mind, tasks and processes that used to take days with paper can take just a few minutes with ECM.

Show your advocates how capturing and storing documents – and the important information that surrounds them – as electronic documentation lets employees instantly access them, so they take care of members immediately, instead of making them wait. Demonstrate how ECM takes their cumbersome day to day processes and automates them – minimizing their workload, increasing their efficiency and providing consistency. Once your champions see the positive changes an ECM solution brings to their world, you’ll have a team full of people who believe in a common goal. The next step is utilizing that dedication to benefit the entire credit union.

4. Respect that change is challenging
Manage your project with the knowledge that many people like paper because it’s tangible – they can hold it in their hands and feel connected to the information on it. Gently remind them that paper isn’t secure. It can be lost or accidentally thrown away, someone may spill coffee on it and it’s always going to be susceptible to disasters like fires or floods.

Focus on the impact to that individual, on what ECM does for them – like speeding up processes, increasing accuracy and making information easy to access. The more you help them understand how an ECM solution helps change their daily life for the better, the more likely they’ll be to jump on board. Some people don’t like change, so introducing it slowly – gaining backers along the way – is the easiest way to achieve organizational buy-in.

5. Engage your champions to evangelize to the entire credit union
Now that you’ve built your team of supporters, it’s time to let them tell everyone about the project. Effective internal communication about an ECM project can build momentum and even have a positive effect on morale and culture. People will have “Hey, we’re really doing something about all this paper!” moments.

Set up training classes for the “new, better way” to do things. Come up with a way to make the proposed changes a positive push, instead of a negative adjustment. Be creative, but most importantly, maintain the excitement and enthusiasm you’ve worked hard to build with your core team of champions.

The more people talk about how the company is thinking about making information available with the click of a mouse, the more the idea will seem like a no-brainer.

Unite people to make your project a reality
In theory, it shouldn’t be hard to find and develop champions, but paper is still a standard in the industry. People will have an easier time joining your cause when you methodically show them how decreasing your credit union’s dependency on paper increases speed and accuracy, cuts costs and helps provide superior member service. Then you can move on to show them how you’ll be able to proactively comply with regulations like Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms.

Going into the process with these tips in mind, you’ll set yourself – and your organization – up for success. The trick is unleashing your most important assets: people. The more people you can get on board, and the higher up you reach, the easier it will be to initiate an ECM project that everyone will thank you for. Just not on paper.

Steve Comer, Credit Union Industry Manager, Hyland Software
Developed by Hyland Software, Inc., OnBase® document management solution meets the unique service and regulatory needs of more than 550 credit unions. OnBase allows credit unions to instantly access documents by integrating with core systems to reduce costs and increase processing times while safeguarding member information.  In 2011, Hyland Software was recognized again as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and was honored as the CUES Supplier of the Year for its contributions and achievements in the credit union industry.

Steve Comer

Steve Comer

Steve Comer, Director of the Financial Services industry at Hyland Software. For the past 13+ years, Steve has been dedicated to helping the financial services industry transform their business through ... Web: Details

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