Resistance to Change
Utilizing a Paperless Record
The most serious obstacle encountered with ECR was people's resistance to change. Often, the slower, but familiar ways of doing business were thought to be superior because they were "tried and true." While the changes may be well explained, based in solid reasoning, research, and careful design, some new to the ECR idea so radically different from prior paper practices responded based on feelings.
Three very effective tools were used to persuade change-over to the new system and business processes:
- A stair-step implementation, by case type, over an 18-month period to ease the transition;
- The ability to demonstrate, at each phase of implementation, that promised advantages were real and tangible; and
- Successful transition and use by "early adopters," which led to peer encouragement to use ECR and experience the advantages.
The Clerk's training sessions and other customer support tools when ECR was first established helped users get started. It is the day-to-day reliance on ECR for case documents that solidified its importance with users. Faster processing meant users could open and read court documents more quickly than ever before, and could rely on them still being there when needed again even if in use by others. The reality of having records that can't be lost, misfiled, or stolen helped a great many users embrace ECR as far preferable to the system it replaced.
Today, the Court, the public, and the law, safety, and justice community accept the electronic document held by the Clerk as the "original case record." This significant paradigm shift, and successful move past a resistance to change, has been achieved with ECR. From there flows all related services, savings, user benefits and increased efficiencies made possible because of the change in what constitutes the court record.