Project Management Support for Reorganization of the Shared Drive

Depositphotos_1306891_xsTaking on the task of reorganization and structure of the shared drive can be daunting. It is important to choose the right internal person to assist and manage this type of project. This type of project requires someone or a team to create user-friendly, standardized, comprehensive, and extensive file structure, taxonomy and data/record management guidelines.

Sometimes an organization delegates the project to entry level or administrative staff. However, with limited decision-making authority, these individuals are often hesitant to change, alter, move, or remove files and documents from the shared drive network. Further, without buy-in from all employees, revised structures developed by one staff often can end up to be a short-term solution and not long lasting.

It is important for organizations to train internal personnel, engage a team, or hire consultants who have IT knowledge and understanding along with a clear process of how to facilitate groups to develop guidelines and an electronic file structure that can last into the future. These project managers or consultants are essentially in organizing the project, facilitating the process and providing counsel on data management best practices.

It is recommended in choosing internal personnel as project managers or project team participants to have the following skills;

  • A good understanding of server Happy team. Isolated.systems and shared drive networks
  • Excellent group facilitation skills; with the ability to foster dialogue and gain group consensus
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to create file hierarchical systems and taxonomy
  • Strong skill in navigating and using functions and tools in Microsoft Office, and in particular Windows Explorer
  • Good knowledge of file extensions.

Information management, technology and professional organizing consultants can provide the service that offers the expertise needed to develop shared electronic file guidelines and structure. To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

The Benefits of Document Management Systems

Document or content management systems (DMS) are separate cloud-based systems that specifically manage electronic data and records. DMS systems are not only for large companies. Even in smaller offices, DMS systems can effectively help organizations file, store, search and collaborate on documents that need modification and/ or tracking. Although organizing the shared drive with an electronic file hierarchy structure and establishing clear guidelines is valuable, it does require more work to manage and maintain versus having data stored in a document/ content management system.

DMS systems have more robust functions of input, storage, search, and access of data than the mere file management tools that come on computers such as Windows Explorer. DMS systems allow users to find data not only through a file hierarchy structure. These systems have additional information related to a document such as keywords, categorization, and indexing, all of which make searching and finding data much easier. It also compresses data so that it has the ability to store significant numbers of documents in a smaller amount of space, increasing server efficiency. DMS systems also have auto-archive and auto-delete functions that make adhering to record retention and compliance guidelines instantaneous.

A common file repository in a document/content management system is an opportunity to create a consistent records management system that will provide the following benefits;

  • Create ease and simplicity for users to have one centralized system to manage official records and documents.
  • Improve accessibility permissions and ease of filing electronic documents and records through one centralized system that is cloud-based and accessible via mobile devices.
  • Documents and records are automatically indexed and increased searching functionality will be available.
  • Easier access to shared information and documents within the entire organization.
  • Easier management of records retention through increased system functionality and centralized data location to manage data.
  • Easier access to collaborate on documents, manage version control and access important information quickly through one centralized access point.
  • Lays the foundation for a paperless office by reducing official paper files and increase reliance and trust on one centralized electronic system.

It is important to organize documents on the Shared Drive before being uploaded to a document management system. To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Becoming a Paperless Office: Create a Clear System to Manage Electronic Documents

According to a study by the CAP Venture Group, it is estimated that 80% of information is still retained on paper even though more than 80% of the documents we work with are already in a computer somewhere. According to Xerox, approximately 30% of printed documents are for one-time use only and further studies found that about 45% of documents printed in a typical office are thrown away within 24 hours. Another Gartner study called “Electronic Document Management” revealed that the average document was copied between nine and eleven times.

One of the keys in gaining efficiencies in data management and increasing productivity is to reduce the paper workers manage. A key component to creating a paperless office is to create user trust in finding and accessing data electronically. Employees are inundated with data in multiple formats and finding it more and more difficult to manage the amount of data and be effective and efficient at their job. Without a consolidated system to manage data along with sound file structure and data management guidelines users will tend to keep a ‘backup’ copy of data and records in paper. Although paper does have its uses for work purposes such as reading, reviewing at meetings or processing data, it is not the optimal format to archive, store and file records and documents. When moving towards a paperless office it becomes even more vital that file structures, whether on a Shared Drive network or in a cloud-based system, is well-organized. It is also important that there is a clear and designated location to store data when there are multiple document and record systems available to users. Finally, data management practices need to be clearly defined such as document naming conventions, versioning, and data conventions.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Desktop Search Tool Recommendations

Desktop search tools or systems are becoming more important for users to easily find data that is in multiple formats and systems. The search function in Windows Explorer is very slow and cumbersome. To help users find information more quickly, organizations could invest in a desktop search tool, such as one of the following available desktop tools.

Google Desktop: This is a free desktop search tool. It will perform searches on multiple hard drives, email programs, and the Internet. The challenge of using Google Desktop for most companies is the access it provides to Google’s server. For security and privacy-based purposes, most companies opt out of using it.

Copernic: One of the leading desktop search tools available, it has individual and enterprise-wide applications available. Prices are under $60 per user.

Brainware: An extremely robust enterprise-wide search and indexing software, Brainware is intended for large organizations and data files.

To learn more how to organize computer documents, download the free report How to Organize Your Computer Documents.

Choosing a Storage Location for Electronic Documents

There are multiple locations in which to save, file, store and organize electronic data. It is best to have one system that is considered the ‘master’ repository of data as well as clarity on each system and how it will be utilized. When there are too many systems and locations for data it can be difficult to manage and keep organized.  The following are various storage locations for electronic documents and ways to use each;

Shared Drive (common shared folders): The Shared Drive is the common document location for all files relating to an organization unless the organization has a designated document management system. These documents usually contain key information that should be available throughout the organization. The common Shared Drive, along with IT Systems, are considered an ‘official’ record keeping location. Ideally, all documents that are pertinent and key to the organization should be available in the common Shared Drive.

Shared Drive (Personal folders/ H Drive): In most organizations, staff usually has a personal location on the shared drive that is often mapped to the letter H. Usually no other associates has access unless permission is given. Working and personal documents could be kept on the H drive. The H drive is also an appropriate location for all personnel or confidential files for a manager or supervisor. Ideally it is best to have ‘official’ records of an organization in a common repository and not located under someone’s own personal filing system. To learn more how to create an electronic file structure, see the article How to Organize Your Computer Documents.

 Local Drive (or C drive): Some individuals prefer to keep their documents on their local hard drive, or C drive, and not on the network server because they find it is easier to access via home or other remote locations. The C or local drive is usually not backed up by IT departments therefore this data is at risk if the hard drive fails.  This best location to store personal electronic data that is either on the personal shared drive (H drive) or an online cloud based system, such as Google Docs because either location is backed up and only accessible to the user.

Online Cloud Storage:  Google Drive, DropBox and MS Skydrive are all examples of document online storage systems that have become popular with today’s workforce.  Working, reference and personal documents could be kept in online cloud storage system. These systems do give users that ability to share data and collaborate on documents with users who do not have access to an organizations shared drive or network. it is recommended that pertinent, important and ‘official’ data to an organization also be saved on the common Shared Drive. See this blog entry, Organizing Documents in the Cloud for Mobile Devises, for more information on system options to organize electronic documents.

Contact us if you would like assistance in organizing your computer or shared drive.