There’s no getting away from document management chaos. Even with the development of file sharing technology, cloud computing and agile document management, workers are still drowning in sea of untraceable and hard to track documents.

In fact, according to recent research from document management vendor Docurated, the average sales or marketing professional is spending up to nine hours every week just looking for documents as they wrestle with legacy and contemporary file system architectures that haven’t been overhauled in years.

The Problems of Silos

The State of Document Management Report shows the situation is getting worse, despite claims to the contrary by C-Suite executives, including CIOs. Many of the 116 IT executives surveyed for the research said that their biggest problems are being buried in information — and unable to extract the critical insights that enterprise information should provide.

All this should sound familiar. In fact, if you were to go through the AIIM State of the ECM Industry reports for the past few years, you will see that chaos, confusion, uncontrolled information growth and time wasting have long been hindering enterprise document management.

There are many different reasons why this should be happening. However, if you were to sum it up simply, the principal problem is the proliferation of silos. For customer facing workers, this means not being able to fight the right content at the right time.

2014-8-6 Docurated enterprise silos.jpg

7 Deadly Sins

Digging a little bit deeper into the report shows that there are what can be described as the seven deadly sins of document management that are creating this situation:

  1. Content spread across disparate repositories
  2. Five or more storage repositories
  3. Poor mobility and ‘lost’ documents
  4. File and Folder sprawl
  5. Antiquated technology and widespread use of file servers
  6. Inability to locate content
  7. Underuse of cloud storage, over use of expensive on-premises storage.

There are no surprises in this list and if you wouldn’t really have to work too hard to pinpoint other problems. However, it’s a good starting point.

The Problem For Sales Teams

To find out a little bit more about the problems facing document management we asked Docurated CEO and co-founder Alex Gorbansky and Marketing Vice President Fergal McGlynn what they see as the major challenges facing enterprises.

In the first of a two-part look at the problems, they point to the myth of the single “golden repository” and the enterprise drive to build this, along with the rise in the use of file servers as the two major issues.

So where lies the problem? As companies devote more time and resources to developing tailored content to meet the needs of the modern buyer, sales productivity has gone into a paradoxical decline. With an abundance of content now stored in enterprise content repositories, potentially valuable content is drowning in a sea of files and folders.

The result is that sales teams are struggling to access the content that marketing is creating at such a rapid pace. Content retrieval has turned into a problem to such a point that 90% of marketing content now goes unused.

If you talk to vendors in the cloud space they say everything is changed and everything is in the cloud, everyone is collaborating and there is less friction when people are trying to access documents, that document access problems are being solved or have already been solved. What we found that there was considerably more friction than document management vendors would have you believe," Gorbansky said.

Docurated tackles this problem by providing sales teams with a single access point for all content. Alex says it enables IT keep its existing enterprise infrastructure. It also transforms a hierarchical and disparate content system into a simple knowledge store, where content can be surfaced without having to remember where it lives.

The Myth of The Golden Repository

Gorbansky said many document management vendors continue to promise customers a single repository, even though he doubts this will ever happen.

A few things were really surprising to us. The No. 1  surprise was the promise of one single repository, one single source of golden truth. It’s kind of comical. What in fact ends up happening is that you had four repositories before you started [implementing a new system]. When you finish you have five or six. Ultimately you end up with more and more content sprawl across all these places,” Gorbansky added.

2014-8-6 Docurated primary document repositories.png

However, it was not the only other thing that stood out. According to Gorbansky, the other really surprising fact to emerge was that over three quarters of enterprises are using file servers as their principal repository. He explained:

People are still using file storage, but it is being rolled out on very limited use cases and a bit by bit use case. Three quarters of the actual content is still be stored on premises in temporary repositories. These migrations take a long time to be operational."

Doc Management is the Priority

That said, enterprises are looking at trying to find a technology solution to these issues. In fact, the research showed 62 percent of executives cited document management as a key investment priority in 2014, with other major areas of focus being business intelligence and collaboration improvements through mobile and cloud deployments.

2014-8-6 Docurated enterprise investment priorities.png

However, document management deployment is not as straightforward as it may seem, Gorbansky says. A lot of the new systems create fresh problems in terms of workflow:

They require people to change their workflow. They require people to upload their information into new places, create new folders. There is still a lot of friction in introducing these new systems because they require a lot of manual work. You have to recreate your file and folder structure in all these places and you have to re-set-up all your permissions and that takes a long time. So a lot of companies are saying, well we thought it might be a good idea, but we have all that information in SharePoint so let’s just keep it there."

There are other problems, too. While the research wasn’t able to quantify it, Gorbansky suggests that there is still a huge problem with users storing documents and content on desktops often as duplicates, but also as triplicates or more.

While this creates considerable document management problems, it also creates problems for collaboration.

The problem here is that when you start talking about collaboration you have people working on different versions as the’ “Save as” to their desktop and use that for the collaborative work. Final version, final final version etc., they noted.

I would say that there is a huge amount of information that is not accessible to people because it is somewhere else. I.e. it is being stored on desktops. Our product can crawl your desktop and make the information it finds available to your team,” Glynn said.

The overall impact of all these problems is decreased efficiency. Gorbansky estimates that sales and marketing people are spending as much as 70 percent of their time in non-revenue generating activities because of poor information and document management.

Resolve these problems and you increase effectiveness, surface more effective content, hit higher conversion rates and close more deals. Tomorrow, we will look at the seven deadly document management sins in greater detail.