If you want to make the switch from filing paper to scanning and filing in an electronic document management (EDM) system, but don’t have the authority to make the decision, here’s how to sell your boss on the idea.

Find allies Talk with a few coworkers you think will be able to understand and appreciate the potential benefits of EDM, especially those people with influence in your office. Then, in your meeting you can drop names to demonstrate support for the idea: “I was talking with Jim and Mary about this the other day, and they said they thought this could save them a lot of time filing and retrieving documents.”

Anticipate objections Before you bring up the subject, think about what counter-arguments your boss might raise and how you would address them. Is she a miser who will say that you can’t afford it? Is he a security nut who’ll worry about people having access to files they shouldn’t be able to see? How will you address those concerns?

Focus on the benefits Which of these benefits of electronic document management will appeal most to your boss?

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced filing costs
  • Reclaimed storage space
  • Enhanced data security
  • Compliance with Federal regulations
  • Better customer service

Educate yourself on these, and focus on the two or three that will have the most impact.

Do the numbers Figure out how much filing paper is costing your office right now. Consider tangible costs that can be found on a balance sheet as well as intangible costs. Tangible costs include paper, ink, folders, labels, filing cabinets, and rental fees for storage units for documents. Intangible costs include employee time to file and retrieve documents and the cost of replacing lost or misplaced documents. You can prepare this information in advance of your meeting or walk through it with your boss.

Keep it simple Nothing kills a conversation faster than excessive use of acronyms and jargon. Just because you’ve exhaustively researched EDM doesn’t mean your boss knows a PDF from a PDA.

Be persistent Just because you get turned down doesn’t mean you get to throw in the towel. A “no” today could be a “yes” when you bring it up again next quarter or next year. If you believe that switching to an electronic document management system will bring big benefits to your business, then it’s worth it to keep asking.
If you can convince your boss to consider EDM, tell him or her to sign up for a free 20-minute online demo of Scan123. Our knowledgeable specialists can answer any questions they have.