Close your eyes, and take a moment to visualize this: ‘No more file shares’. What do you see? How does it feel? For me, first of all I feel this is the core of my being as an enterprise content management professional. Second, it makes so much sense, that I really can’t grasp that there are such a large amount of them still out there. I envision a world without file shares, instead using the right tools for collaboration, content sharing, management and archiving. These tools have been around for quite some time and have proven their existence.
We all know human beings are creatures of habit. Well, the greatest proof of that is that all organizations which I encountered during my time as a consultant, still have a large, if not the largest part of their content stored on the good old file shares. People working together on these shares have not changed since the first time they started using them. On the other hand, everything we store on file shares has changed. The variety, volume and velocity of content has taken a giant leap forward in the last decade. But in many organizations, all of those different and new file types are still stored on the file share for collaboration.
Of course, everybody wants to create a somewhat manageable situation for themselves. Adding metadata through twenty-something deep folder structures, defining naming conventions for files, adding version numbers in titles, etc. Still, we are all making a mess, still, we are creating duplicate upon duplicate upon duplicate. Still, we violate laws and regulations because we store sensitive content. Well, I think it is time for a change. I want to initiate the following movement here and now:
No more file shares!
Every day, there’s something going wrong with documents. Especially on file shares. This results in frustration, lost time and therefore costs. In addition to the risks to your business, there are also legal risks and the risks of violations of the laws and regulations.
I know every content & information management professional, knowledge manager, and content manager can feel this in their bones. They know using file shares undermines a good information strategy. So my mission from now on is to create a world without file shares for collaboration. A world where your content is properly managed, and as user you have all the benefits of the systems that have been created for this, such as great findability and productivity.
For now, are you as excited as I am? Yes? Then store business documents on a real ECM system. So that everyone can find them, or at least so that not anyone can delete documents. It’s up to you to weigh the risks against the cost of a real ECM system.