A paperless agenda or agenda packet can be easily created by using common tools, such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and a basic document scanner. In many cases, taking this first step to making your agenda and packet available electronically can help you reduce costs and reduce waste. If you create the overall packet as a PDF, all can easily access it (and annotate it) from virtually any tablet, computer, or phone.
Now while assembling the agenda and packet may take a bit of time, the results are worth it.
When people decide that they want to take the next step, they typically begin to look toward automating the process end to end. This is when they look at paperless agenda systems. These systems can easily create your agenda and packet for you. However, one of the key benefits is eliminating the paper (and incessant email) during the submission and approval process for agenda items. Before, staff would fill out a staff report, attach some supporting documents, and send off the item via email. After a number of emails back and forth, the files are finalized and included in the agenda / packet.
Your new process with a paperless agenda management system will typically save you time. Items are submitted and routed for approval electronically. However, based upon the way your system handles this process, you can run the risk of introducing potentially major changes to your prior process that can put the adoption of your system by staff at risk!
Let’s break this down…
Almost all paperless agenda management systems out there make you change your process. Rather than following what you did before, you now have to fill out complex forms in the application in addition to submitting all of the files that you had them submit previously.
The system is supposed to make life easier for everyone…why on earth would you introduce something that increases the amount of work.
Other systems, such as AgendaPal, don’t add the additional work. Users simply include the files and the system does all of the work for you.
When looking at paperless agenda management systems, be sure to assess any risks to staff actually using the system. Any investment in a system that eventually doesn’t get used is quickly lost.
Have you had an experience where you had trouble with users adopting a new system? If so, leave a comment below.
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