In our previous article, we began to explore our concept of cloud strategy. We covered off on the first step, which involves making a leap from dabbling in cloud platforms, to having a business with a cloud strategy at its core. The next two steps are designed to build out the strategy in such a way that business value is delivered via document management and process optimisation.
We work with many document centric Small to Medium Businesses and Non-Profit organisations who have existing file servers; meaning their teams are generating a high number of Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher etc) and storing them on shared, on-premise drives.
In our experience, there are common headaches these teams experience when trying to understand how their information is organised. File shares usually grow organically and it is rare for a Business or Technical Analyst to be engaged in designing the server’s folder structure.
To compound the problem, when the time comes for a hardware refresh, it is common for data to be migrated from one server platform to another without considering the build up of digital clutter. End result? Bigger hard drives, bigger back ups, no clarity around how much of the data stored is actually being used.
This mix of practices, coupled with the limitations of file servers when it comes to information management, leads to inherent issues:
- Folder structures go deep or wide (or both) in an effort to categorise information
- People struggle with how best to share and collaborate and resort to emailing each other with multiple versions of the same document
- Everyone has their own concept of naming conventions for folders and files, so the way information is stored can end up being very different department to department, team member to team member.
- Because file servers have little concept of putting metadata to good use, documents are difficult to search and frustrating to find.
- The process of managing the lifecycle of a document is a very manual one, so file shares end up full of information that is either duplicated in several places, or never really used or accessed.
Once you’ve engaged your cloud platform(s) of choice, the next phase should be about setting up a framework that supports your need for information that is structured, searchable and organised. Our approach is to build a cloud-based Portal that takes into consideration:
- the language your team uses to talk about your documentation
- the relationships between different documents
- the relationships between teams and processes
- the relationships between processes and documents
- the need to sort out the ‘digital clutter’ from the information in play
It would be easy enough to stick files in the cloud with same approach often taken with file servers; let it grow organically, migrate data without considering what’s clutter and then not make the most of the opportunity to tag documents with metadata. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to expect the same approach will yield the same problems.
Enabling your cloud strategy with a well designed framework for information management takes an investment in time and energy. The payoff is the fact that what is enabled is this; the use of cloud technology to make the most of an organisation’s core assets – people, time, knowledge and relationships.
In our next article we will conclude this series and explore how we deliver business process empowerment through cloud strategy. If you can’t wait and would like a free discovery session on how to develop your cloud strategy, give us a call on 1300 766 554 to find out if your business is a good fit.
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