Every year, more companies and organizations choose to use single version of truth – shared folders to manage and share various documents across multiple departments. The reasons for this are fairly straightforward – it is simply convenient, easy, and fast. While those do seem to be excellent reasons to adopt the use of shared folders, or shared network drives, there are also a number of limitations and problems that are rather significant.
Shared folders are limited in functionality in a way that can greatly affect an organization’s work efficiency and bottom line. Here are a few examples:
There is no way to restrict or control duplication of sensitive documents or files. This isn’t only a security issue, as lack of control over how many duplicates there are can also lead to confusion as to which document is the most updated and has the latest changes. The result includes errors which can be very costly, and significant man hours spent on ensuring all of the data being used for reports is correct.
Inability to Add Metadata
When managing two or three documents, finding a specific one is easy, but how do you go through hundreds or even thousands of documents? Adding metadata to each document would help users find what they’re looking for easily, but that’s not possible with shared folders.
No Version Control
Different version of MS Office are used on different computers, and this can lead to issues down the line, especially with no form of version control.
Changes are being made to documents constantly, and it’s important to know who made changes and what those changes were. There is no effective way of tracking who accessed or changed a document, and there is no way of notifying certain users when sensitive documents are created, accessed, or changed.
Linking Documents is Not Possible
Many documents are linked to each other, or reference each other, however it is not possible with shared folders to link or cross reference documents for easier control and management.
Limited Distribution Capabilities
Distributing documents from within the shared folders to one or multiple entities is problematic.
Uncontrollable Folder Structure
There is no way to create a “set in stone” folder structure that can’t be changed by anyone without proper authorization. This can lead to different structures created by different users and confusion when searching for documents or trying to understand what documents are available.
The bottom line is that while shared folders are easy to use, convenient most of the time, and fairly fast, the disadvantages are too significant to ignore. Managing and finding documents, having a reliable “single version of truth” with the most updated data, and controlling access to sensitive documents are all borderline impossible.
With DataRails, companies can benefit from the convenience and ease of use that shared folders have to offer without any of the disadvantages. DataRails provides an Excel-based platform that allows companies to control, share, track, and manage spreadsheets. All this is done without any changes to the regular Excel experience that everyone is used to.