The Document Collaboration and Retention Conundrum

Documentation drives most of today’s business processes. To ensure that current and previous copies of documentation are available, some type of automated system is required.

The requirements for a system like that exploded along the way to include Imaging and Records Management, Digital Asset Management, Business Process Management, Web Content Management, Enterprise Search, and even Collaboration.  In the 1990’s, the theme among software vendors was to integrate “somewhat related” requirements into one massive system that would provide the Holy Grail.   There were vendors in the financial space, Enterprise Requirements Management space, and even the document management space that were all chasing the elusive Holy Grail in their market segment. History has shown that  none of them achieved the promised results! Recent history has proven that today’s SaaS applications that focus on best of breed solutions to address an issue are easier and more intuitive to use, require much less training, cost less to operate than the yearly maintenance costs of those massive systems, AND actually address end user problems.

Let’s take a look at Enterprise Content Management Systems, the Holy Grail in the document management marketspace.  If you listen to the ECM vendors, their solution can be configured to do almost anything WITH THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF CUSTOMIZATION.  There is a great chart floating around the Internet that captures the Strengths and Weaknesses of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System

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If you have an ECM, I would suggest that you can probably relate to the weaknesses.  If you are like the vast majority of ECM implementations, you found that the end users hated the system and after 4 hours of training, they couldn’t remember how to use the complicated functionality and non-intuitive user interface.  Gradually, the system fell into partial use and many of the anticipated benefits were never realized.  However, you already have the ECM in place, you already have spent a lot of money, you have already trained a lot of users, you are seeing some benefits but nothing close to the promised benefits.  What can you do at this point?  Many of today’s SaaS solutions can complement an existing ECM and allow you to address a business need while keeping the benefits of the ECM for record retention.

If collaboration provides an opportunity for improved productivity, better quality, improved security and reduced frustration, then there may be an option.  Most ECM vendors define collaboration as the ability to deliver a file to an end user.  In reality, that is only the start of the process, but that is all the ECM vendors do.  The main component of collaboration is focused on modifying the contents of the document using a parallel review for everyone involved.  There has to be control for the author to accept or deny suggested changes and not allow everyone in the review to modify the source document.  Why is that?  Think about an important document that you have created and submitted for review.  One person puts in a comment that you don’t happen to pick up and it is wrong.  You send the final document out to the executives involved and it has an error in it.  What does that do for your credibility with the executives?

Is security a concern in your organization?  Did you know that if an end user opens a document from an ECM in Microsoft Word, that user can store that document on their device?  Did you realize that it can never be revoked after that action and it can be forwarded to anyone after that? Some ECMs with extended Access Control capabilities can prevent that, but that normally costs more money and takes more time and training to implement.

What if you could take the document from the ECM, start the collaboration with an easy to use SaaS based application, provide a parallel collaboration environment that aligned with the benefits of a face to face meeting, easily provide the necessary security and once you were finished, you put the final document with a complete record of suggested and accepted changes back into the ECM?  Would that be worth a free trial?

If yes, check it out at www.savvydox.com, view the intro video, see the comparisons to an Enterprise Content Management System, a File Sync and Share System, Google Docs, and even SharePoint.  If you’re still interested, engage a colleague or two in a no charge collaborative trial from the Downloads tab.  The base solution does not include integration with an ECM, but you can experience the power of a standalone version of SavvyDox.  Remember, SavvyDox is a tool for collaboration, so you need to have someone to collaborate with!  If you’d like simplified video training, check out the 3 minute videos at www.savvydox.com/resources and review the appropriate one.

Go ahead – what do you have to lose, it’s free?  You certainly have a lot to gain!