Going digital has become all the rage across diverse business sectors, as putting documents and records into electronic formats makes them more accessible and streamlines many management tasks. This movement has arrived in the law enforcement sector, and with it comes a combination of potential and challenges that you must be prepared for. The potential of digital document management are plentiful – easier accreditation management, protection against litigation, reduced costs (no more paper to deal with) and increased end-user accessibility.

Taking advantage of these benefits demands a transition to digitization that some law enforcement agencies are not inherently equipped to handle. Beyond finding a good service provider that will ease your transition to digital document management, you should also be on the lookout for common pitfalls that come up during a switch to digital operations. Three issues to be especially wary of include:

1. Getting sucked into huge entry costs
Technology providers are increasingly hosting their solutions for customers and delivering services through the web. This means that you should be able to get many of the functions you need through a subscription model, avoiding the high capital costs that come with purchasing dedicated IT infrastructure.

However, hardware and technology services aren’t the only costs you have to worry about when going digital. You must also deal with digitizing existing paper records, training employees in the new solution and a variety of similar, secondary cost sinks that can disrupt a transition to digital operations. Keep your plans simple. Work in small, manageable batches to keep your project on schedule. If you try to bite off more than you can chew and put too many resources into an overly large project, you can quickly end up with huge entry costs that derail your efforts before they even get off the ground.

A flexible technology solution and a service provider capable of taking a consultative approach to the sales process can go a long way toward simplifying your transition to digital document management.

“Plenty can go right when transitioning to digital document management.”

2. Trying to go through the project alone
Many law enforcement agencies have made a successful transition to digital documentation. Get advice – go to conferences and talk with experts about the challenges you will face. Invite an expert from a police department in your region to come to your office and lead a workshop on transitioning to digital processes. Getting help can play a huge role in streamlining your project. Don’t try to go through the project alone, as there is plenty of help available if you look in the right places.

3. Neglecting to update your policies
Transitioning to digital document management is a perfect opportunity to refresh your policies, procedures and internal certifications. Many law enforcement agencies are working off of old handbooks, often ones that are not specifically aligned with their operational demands. As you are already working to digitize all of the policy information in your organization, this transition period is a great time to make policy updates.

Plenty can go right when transitioning to digital document management in law enforcement, but there are still some pitfalls to avoid. Stay clear of these three common problem areas and you’ll be in good shape to make a successful transition to a digital operational climate.