It is not unusual to find companies still use Shared Drives to store their documentation. As many Technical Writers will point out, the problem with shared drives is that they are neither secure nor searchable.
What is the problem with shared drives?
- The folder structure has too many levels meaning documents are difficult to find
- Information gaps exist as users keep copies of documentation locally and not on the shared drive.
- There is no formal ownership of the documents.
- The title and subject of the Document do not accurately reflect the content.
- Admin has not set up Document versioning, meaning the latest version is . . . Where?
- There are many copies of the same Document.
- Failing to maintain a workable Archiving policy means many documents with the same title contain unchecked updates.
- There is no historical tracking of documents to keep the integrity of the content.
- Searching for documents on a shared drive will raise many unrelated results.
Using a non-configured Document Management System (DMS)
Ironically, companies spend a large budget on installing SharePoint but cannot ask an experienced employee to set it up correctly. So what happens when the DMS grows without the correct administration?
- Failure to lock down user privileges means it becomes a free for all without proper administration.
- No Check-In, Check Out, Document Versioning and security mean users drop off documents where they see fit.
- There is no historical tracking of documents to keep the integrity
- Users create folders without proper titles and lose their Document
- Backup of the DMS is irregular
If you want to manage your documentation in a way that cannot become a free for all, you need to consider a form of document control and establish a policy and a set of rules to keep your documentation in check.
Technical and Process Documentation is an asset; your staff should treat it as such. Look after it, and it will look after your business.