The Daily Grind With Traditional Software: Part Three

The pulse of modern business productivity
March 7, 2014

Part Three: Document sharing tools are mediocre at best

In recent years, organizations have been searching for technology that will fit evolving work environments. It only makes sense for communication methods to advance as technology advances. Social media, mobility, and constant web access make us feel like communication should be as effortless as opening a web browser. One of the most common ways organizations have tried to keep pace with this evolving environment in recent years has been through on site document sharing software.

Document sharing software has become well-known among corporations and business professionals for extending beyond the single-user word processing, spreadsheet, and slide deck applications and providing a level of collaboration. However, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution for companies. There are three major stumbling blocks for companies adopting document sharing software as a business collaboration solution.

  1. Implementation
  2. Implementing document sharing software requires serious IT involvement. Every version of the software, including a cloud-based option, requires heavy lifting on the front-end with IT, extensive planning, and added security. Research from the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), surveying 620 employees throughout Europe and America, reports that 33 percent of those surveyed said they are struggling with implementing proprietary software, and 28 percent stated that the implementation progress stalled altogether.

  3. Content control
  4. Implementation is just the tip of the iceberg. Additional challenges appear with controlling the feature sets for collaboration, document tracking, and content management. Research Vice President at Gartner, Jeffrey Mann, explains that even the most prolific current document sharing software options do "not excel in any particular area when compared with best-of-breed, single-purpose products," but instead provide "'good enough' features across a variety of integrated capabilities."

  5. Platform maintenance
  6. Document sharing software providers are continually releasing additional versions, options, and add-ons, increasing upkeep and maintenance. Multiple versions, including outdated ones, are being used frequently, and implementation, planning, and training are once again required to migrate or upgrade to the next version. In addition to the upkeep requirements, the time, money, and resources put toward the solution don't satisfy the ultimate user experience. At a recent Gartner Symposium, Jeffrey Mann also suggested about document sharing software that "...few users really love using it. It remains a tool that people are required to use, not one they want to use."

As organizations keep reaching for a solution to better fit the future needs of the daily office work to improve collaboration, adopt advancing technologies, and increase productivity, it's critical to keep a pulse on emerging opportunities. As new platforms and cloud-based technologies surface, it's the responsibility of business professionals and managers to explore and consider what will bring the most value to their teams.

This is part three of a four part series analyzing the difficulties associated with common office programs. To read the other posts in the blog series, follow the links below.

Part One: The burden of spreadsheets on your decision-making process

Part Two: Five downfalls of using word processing software

Part Four: Is your boss in the 9%?

Mike Sellberg

About the author

Mike Sellberg is Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Workiva. He is the former EVP and CTO at iMed Studios and the former Divisional General Manager at Engineering Animation, Inc.