Have you ever had this happen to you? You place your car keys down someplace and can’t find them. You save a file on your PC, share drive, or network drive and can’t remember where exactly it is. Even doing a search for it somehow doesn’t seem to locate it because you are not searching the right location, or perhaps you named it something different from what you thought. Yep. This is a true indication your filing system is failing. Oh, not the technology, that is working fine – as it was configured to do. What is failing is your cerebral filing system. You know, your brain’s ability to recall exactly where you placed that file and what you called it. Or where your keys are now after your wife moved them. (The reason for that is the location metadata in your brain was not updated because your kinetic connection was down at the time the keys were moved..)
The filing scenario is one that plays out many times in a business day. Regardless whether it is a paper or digital file, without some form of enforced governance and standard way of maintaining your files, they will from time to time go missing. While search capabilities have improved significantly, and contextual search may bring you closer for finding what you are looking for, the common complaint I still hear is that finding – not searching – is still a challenge in many businesses.
In My View
There are many time in this scenario where technology was installed and released to the business population without really identifying the purpose for it, the problem it will solve, and planning to implement it in a useful way. Too many times the business relies on the technology “solution” to make everything better, when they haven’t identified what is wrong or where improvement is needed. Combine this with a lack of governance and employee training, and the finished project yields a less than stellar result. And like the car keys, if the file has been moved without proper ways to locate it or track it as it migrates its way through its life-cycle, it is considered missing or lost creating a state of chaos and frustration for all parties.
The best approach is one of taking the time to understand the business problem, how information is managed today, build a framework to standardize and improve business processes and information management practices, and apply technology to enhance your information ecosystem and operations. While we may think our cerebral filing systems are flawless, there is a lot of potential for unexpected results and risk.
Bob Larrivee is President and Founder of Bob Larrivee Consultancy, a recognized expert in the application of advanced technologies and process improvement, and Journalist on Information Technology for Document Strategy. In his career, Bob has led many projects and authored hundreds of eBooks, Industry Reports, Blogs, Articles, and Infographics. In addition, he has served as host and guest Subject Matter Expert on a wide variety of Webinars, Podcasts, Virtual Events, and lectured at in-person seminars and conferences around the globe.