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Millennia Group Blog

The pendulum is back in the middle

Friday, October 18, 2019
Via flickr - Rob Young

Ten to 15 years ago, the document management world started to feel an itch.  The major DM players couldn’t quite figure out where it was coming from at the time.  But then corporate users started to talk about how they were just dropping files into this online folder system and how easy it was.  Box, DropBox, ShareFile and others have since created very successful businesses with simple online storage.

The expectation for how a document management system should work took on a whole new meaning from the perspective of the users.  This is true not only of document management but of most corporate software platforms.  This great new experience arrives and the expectation pendulum swings way over to one side.  Then reality starts to set in.

Unfortunately, this ease of use perspective didn’t exactly fit the overall corporate goals or requirements for document management.  But it did force all DM players and software providers to tweak their products and learn how to manage the expectations of users.  The bottom line is that there’s more to DM than drag and drop. 

The obvious problem comes to light quickly in folder based systems. With an open structure for users to be able to create folders on the fly, it gets messy quickly.  That is why most companies of size quickly move away from using a folder system because there is no consistency and then users really can’t find information.  A traditional DM will have structure and requirements for meta data that will keep information organized.

For companies with more than 100 users, there is typically a need for more complex security on the files.  Security administration is very difficult and time consuming to be managed on a folder level basis.  Unless the folders are initially set up in a tightly controlled hierarchy, applying security to a new user or making changes to existing users or groups is forced to use a highest level access model.  Give the users rights to the highest level of folder because there is no known structure to the folders below that. 

We should all be thankful when an industry is disrupted, and the envelope gets pushed out or the pendulum swings way out to one side.  But, in the software and tech worlds, very frequently there is a bit of hype in all things new and shiny and the pendulum swings back.  The good news is that users benefit from the disruption when the focus is intensified on the issues.  It does require that user expectations need to be managed because the pendulum will swing back to the middle at some point.

Millennia Group provides workflow and document management solutions that focus on good mix of flexibility and control.  For more information visit our website at www.mgdocs.com or send us an email at info@mgdocs.com.