Deane on "The Biggest Problem with Document Management"

In article titled The Psychology of Repository Permanence, Deane writes:

I’ve worked in a fair amount of companies, and consulted with many others, and I’m starting to believe that a lot of the problems each one has had with document management boils down to one thing: lack of perceived permanence.

In each company, there was an ever-shifting way of storing and archiving documents. Some people had them in their local drives, some had them on a big amorphous mapped drive, others put them in Exchange public folders, other uploaded to some project management system. In all these cases, users lacked a “single source of truth,” and that produced some background unease.

In his article, he talks about:
– The ever-changing recommendation about where to store documents, and that there are multiple recommendations.
– There is rarely a strong dictate as to what is the authoritative document management system, or collaboration tool for that matter.
– Many collaboration tools are pushed into the enterprise with no training strategy.
– If you can convince people that “this is it” (in a formalized way, and it’s a long-term approach), you are “75% of the way there.”

My Comments
1. If people believe that their store of work documents and files are going to “disappear” into some new system, never to be seen or found again, it would make perfect sense for them to minimize compliance with the current flavor of the month recommendation.

2. If the system is going to be a long-term approach, then you need to ensure you are working with a vendor who will be around for the long-term. One of the chapters in my upcoming Collaboration Roadmap book talks about decision factors beyond the technology, and vendor stability is a key one.

3. Some of Deane’s comments, especially about the “new thing” being the authoritative and long-term approach, align nicely with Stage 4 strategies in by book on user adoption. Others, about the need for more adoption work than “pushing it out without training,” are also dealt with in the book.

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