The 3 Most Challenging Barriers to Paperless Agendas And How to Overcome Them
When it comes to implementing a paperless agenda management system at your organization, it’s often much easier than you’d expect. However, there are still a number of things to consider – whether that be questions over budget, time or reluctance over using new technology.
Anne Uecker has used AgendaFree, the first free agenda management tool for local governments, since August 2015 with great success. In this blog, you’ll learn a bit about her experience with the tool. But before she arrived at this solution there were a few barriers she had to overcome along the way. Here are three of the most challenging questions she faced, and the strategies she used to get around them.
“Is it really worth the time?”
It takes time to get comfortable using new technology, especially if you’re not familiar with smartphones, iPads and tablet computers. Indeed, 28% of the webinar audience indicated technology was their biggest barrier to adopting a paperless agenda.
Certainly, this was one of the challenges Anne faced when switching to paperless.
Anne managed this challenge by creating a training plan to make it easy for her council to get started with a digital agenda management system. What’s more, she found that once the council and staff had iPads or Android tablets in their hands, any intimidation around using the new technology quickly disappeared.
Anne found it was quick to get started with AgendaFree. She says that she it took just 30 minutes to explore the application at her own pace, discover its features and learn how to use it effectively. When Anne stumbled over something she was unsure of, she called the customer service team and was given a detailed walk-through of her question until everything was clear.
“Does it fit my budget?”
As budgets continuously tighten, this question is always on people’s minds and rightly so. For Anne, the fact that AgendaFree was a free agenda management tool eliminated the consideration of whether or not they had the budget to procure the software. It was reassuring that the tool could be used without encountering any hidden costs or being inundated with sales calls.
Anne also raised a great point that using AgendaFree has been extremely cost-effective, saving time and money for the City of St. Francis. Before signing up in August 2015, Anne was using a pieced together semi-manual approach. This involved using Microsoft Word to build the agendas, then Adobe Acrobat when the Council needed to review the paper packet. She wasn’t alone in this; in fact, 43% of the webinar audience said that they used a similar semi-manual approach.
Anne’s agendas are anything from 150-300 pages. Using the old system, they took an entire day or more to complete from start to finish. Even without distribution costs, Anne estimated the cost to create each agenda was around $500-$700.
Now with AgendaFree, Anne can create agenda packets in 5-10 minutes. They no longer have to be delivered by policemen, or use up a forest-worth of paper.
“Will council buy-in?”
39% of the webinar audience said that council buy-in was their biggest barrier to going paperless. For Anne, two of the biggest factors that swayed council’s decision was how time and cost-effective going paperless would be. The council and staff’s hesitancy over using new technology was also addressed after the city supplied them with iPads and Android tablets. The intuitive software, ease of use and training available helped significantly in getting the council to buy-in.
For Anne, the new paperless system means that the hours she’d otherwise spend standing by a photocopier can be used on far more valuable, fun and less stressful activities. The rewards are many and make overcoming these initial barriers all the more worth it.