Q: So what’s the appeal of an online document management system and why is this the entry point to SharePoint for so many businesses?
A: A network file server is fantastic if you’re in the office, manageable (but sometimes painful) if you’re out the office on a VPN and basically impossible if you’re in a different organisation. So to share documents externally we look to email, the easiest and laziest way to share documents, completely unstructured and horrific for version control. Combined, these technologies get the job done but they are completely separate systems, impossible to maintain with any form of process and extremely inefficient: Where’s that document? It’s in my email.
Can you send it to me? I’m not sure which is the latest version.
What about the one on the file server? I edited it before I sent it out…
Any of that sound familiar?..
The point is, a single web based system for storing and sharing files can be accessed the exact same way whether you’re an administrator in the office, a director in the far east or a customer in another organisation. The principle is simple: Controlled access to the right document, anywhere you are, by anyone who needs it.
This is the reason an online document management system appeals to businesses and in turn, this is the reason businesses may look to SharePoint to meet all their document management needs.