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7 DMS Implementation Tips from Ice Miller: How to Crush Change Management with a Large Team

By:
The NetDocuments Team
Nov 17, 2021

Reaching 90% user adoption just three days after implementing a new document management system (DMS) is an impressive achievement… especially when you’ve got over 750 internal users to onboard in the middle of a global pandemic.

Fortunately, Ice Miller knows a thing or two about how to absolutely crush change management with a large team, and they’ve generously shared their hard-won insight for an ultra-smooth DMS implementation. Here are seven of their best tips to help you hit the ground running and jumpstart adoption with your firm:

Check out the Ice Miller case study for the full story!

1. Get the correct stakeholders involved.

Before you start tackling a big major change like replacing your DMS, it’s important to get the right people involved and invested in the process from the very start.

“We had a large group of people involved in the selection and approval before we even got to the implementation stage,” says Kelly Kaustky, an IT project manager at Ice Miller. “The firm was clamoring for a new [DMS] for years, and we had the right people championing this project."

2. Plan for the unexpected.

Not every organization will have their implementation plan interrupted by a pandemic like Ice Miller, but preparing for potential hiccups can help you stay on track — no matter what happens.

“Allowing enough time for things to go wrong is important,” says Steve Johnson, Director of Applications at Ice Miller. “Nobody planned for something like COVID-19 when it came along. But you need to have the ability to step back, regroup, and critically look at what it takes to accomplish what needs to be done.”

“We did not take any shortcuts on this project and I truly think that’s one of the reasons why we’re smiling and happy,” he continues. “It’s a big investment of time, effort, and money to migrate an enterprise DM. It’s not something to take lightly.”

3. Take advantage of your fresh start.

Here’s the thing: getting a new DMS is your opportunity to start fresh and set everything up for maximum impact and productivity. That process takes effort, and it can be easy to fall back on how you’ve always done things. Take advantage of your opportunity to do it right!

“I would recommend giving a lot of thought to how you set up your new DM world. It’s important that you don’t repeat the mistakes of your previous DM environment,” Steve says.

4. Trust your implementation partner.

Of course, sometimes you learn things the hard way:

“There are a couple of smaller decisions we made that, in hindsight, we might have done differently,” Steve admits. “We were advised by implementation partner Kraft Kennedy to do things one way, but we decided to go the route we wanted.

Six months later, I think we're all in agreement that we probably should have gone the way that Kraft told us to,” he laughs.

Fortunately for Ice Miller, those decisions weren’t of huge consequence. However, the lesson learned is clear: Trust the experience of your implementation partner.

5. Kick the tires hard during pilot.

Before rolling out NetDocuments to the entire firm, Ice Miller set up a large pilot group to help them test the software and identify any trouble spots so they’d be ready on implementation day.

“We had a large pilot so we could really give the tires a good strong kick,” Kelly says. “We had partners, associates, and staff members in the pilot. We cast a wide net, so to speak, to make sure that we were representative of the firm.”

“Before we decided to move forward, we made sure we did thorough testing, that we accommodated for any special needs for practice group classifications,” she explains. “We got a lot of good feedback.”

The team also went through several iterations of validating and verifying that their documents all came over correctly, so that when it was time to migrate their 23 million documents and emails, the process went smoothly.

6. Choose an experienced training partner.

When the team was ready to get NetDocuments rolled out to the entire firm, Ice Miller wanted to get everyone up and running as quickly as possible. To help accomplish that, they found a training partner in Encoretech.

“Having experienced trainers that are excellent at what they do is key,” says Brian Podolsky of Kraft Kennedy. “You can have a great technical design and a desktop that doesn’t crash, but if the attorneys don’t know how to find documents, save, or organize — if they don’t understand the capabilities of what’s given to them — it’s not going to be a successful project.”

7. Make it a team effort.

Above all, the key to a successful implementation is getting all-star teams together and working toward a common goal.

"It was a huge team effort," Kelly says. “IT, information governance, the training team, the apps team, the infrastructure team, and the help desk: We worked together with Kraft Kennedy and Encoretech to make this a success.”

And there’s no doubt about it — Ice Miller’s experience has been a massive success.


Want to hear the full story of how Ice Miller achieved over 90% user adoption in the first three days after implementing NetDocuments? Check out the case study!

Want more info on change management? Check out our interactive white paper!

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