This is the third and final instalment of Laurence Hart’s 3 part blog series. Start at the beginning where Laurence wonders Where’s the ROI? then on to part 2 where he makes the argument for Keeping ECM Easy.
In my first job out of college, we stored all our documents on file shares. It took a little getting used to understanding which drive was for what type of projects, but it was not that much harder than saving a file locally. Being able to not only share my content, but to retrieve other people’s content was worth more than the simple change in behavior.
That benefit was something that I quickly identified with when using my Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. Metadata was a little extra work, but it made finding my content a lot easier. In addition, I didn’t have to remember exactly where I put anything because I could search for it. I even installed a system on my home network.
Then ECM systems became harder to use. Even though I believed in using the systems, I wasn’t a faithful user anymore. I wasn’t alone either.
When visiting clients, we found people were still relying on file shares. Now with the addition of cloud systems like Dropbox, less and less content is finding its way to the ECM.
Organizations need all the advanced features that have been created in the ECM systems. Unfortunately the people that do the work typically only need basic sharing and search.
That is where a product like Shinydrive can come and make a difference. Shinydrive allows organizations to map their ECM systems as drives to people’s desktops, providing a simple to understand wrapper around the complexity of ECM. People can simply save documents as they would with any file share.
That solves the problem for people. What about the organization?
Shinydrive allows metadata to be viewed and edited. Content can be versioned and security can be set. All of this is done through the standard desktop interface that people have been using for years.
The ECM system is still in control and dictates the business rules for the content. When deployed properly, people may not even realize what ECM system is in the backend. They could even have multiple shares to access multiple ECM systems, removing the need for training if a new system or upgrade is put into place.
File shares have been used repeatedly over the years as a way to improve adoption of ECM systems. It is a feature that purists deride but the people that use the systems love. It is a simple, intuitive approach that everyone has experience with using at home and other jobs. When augmented with access to security and metadata, it becomes a solution that systems owners can endorse and people can use.
After all, what good is an ECM system if nobody actually puts content into it?