December 5th, 2011
LIKE a morning cuppa when you’ve logged on and the 3pm chocolate run, distributed teams are a common feature of 21st century office life.
All over the world, teams work in close harmony to develop products. And employees in offices hundreds of miles apart manage day to day business processes in a giddying array of professions.
Sounds blissful, doesn’t it? Well, ask any IT specialist dealing with collaborative teams and he or she might run off holding their head and screaming.
The list of potential pitfalls is as long as a list of Michael Caine films – and that’s only the decent ones.
Top of the list is crashing the entire network by emailing a mammoth file to all company staff, rapidly followed by tiresome waits to receive large files – when you could have a game of Monopoly AND stick a Led Zeppelin LP on – and lack of version control, leading to duplications, mistakes and wasted time.
In short, it’s a disaster waiting to happen which is exactly why some very clever people have devised technologies to help IT departments improve file sharing for distributed teams.
First up in Purple Prose’s five-part series on file sharing is Content Management Systems aka CMS or Enterprise Content Management (ECM), such as Microsoft SharePoint and EMC Documentum.
Let’s start with the plus points:
- CMS can be used to manage hundreds of thousands of documents for thousands of users;
- Version control ensures that employees work with the latest versions so that nobody’s changes are ignored or over-written, reducing the risk of unnecessary and morale-sapping arguments;
- In-built controls offer flexibility in determining who can create, view, alter and delete documents.
And a big Family Fortunes “eurgh – eurgh” goes to:
- Each file is stored centrally so files requested from another office must be checked out, moved to the remote location, then saved and returned;
- File open and save times can be sluggish;
- Staff training is required, which can lead to increased costs and “I’ve got better things to do” type grumbles among busy team members.
So would CMS suit you? Its best fit is offices where most files are used within one location and ones working with complex documents which need rigorous management, e.g. website and publication content.
Call Rob and Jan of Purple Rage Software on 01684 576343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about CMS and other file sharing options.