A recent survey on document management by Knowledge Tree, the Raleigh, N.C. based cloud computing services company, has thrown up some interesting insights into how business efficiency is hampered when teamwork and documents are put together. The study involved 1400 customers spread across six continents. The results imply that the current emphasis on collaboration and teamwork to generate and finalize business documents are handicapped from the outset by the processes involved. Here are some interesting findings from the survey:
- The Office is not a place for “lone wolves”. Professionals are like wolves. They perform better in teams. It takes more than one person to generate the kind of content that modern businesses demand. Whether one likes it or not, teamwork gets things done in modern business. This is especially the case when it comes to generating proposals, contracts and other business documents, where teams are involved 94% of the time, according to the survey.
- Revise, Revise and Revise. It doesn’t matter if you like it or hate it, but a true part of collaboration is revision of working documents. A staggering 90% of all documents go through an average of 3-5 revisions at least. A few actually go through more than a dozen revisions.
- Teamwork reduces the burden, right? Wrong. An overwhelming majority (79%) of the respondents find it difficult to work with teams on document drafts. Almost 75% of people find it hard to collaborate with their teammates. Frustration levels are inordinately high when it comes to dealing with feedback from within the organization. Too many people have problems with teamwork for this to be put down as a personnel issue. The reasons lie elsewhere.
- When the people are right, and the process is wrong. Teamwork and collaboration is dependent on established processes that facilitate communication within and beyond the teams in an organization. The survey discovered a multitude of methods used by business organizations to facilitate collaboration and feedback on documents, with email as the preferred choice more often than not.
- Putting two and two together, the culprit is….. Email! The response to the survey was unambiguous in its results. At 61%, email is the most used vehicle for circulating draft documents AND it is also the least effective. Only 13% of email users found their approval processes to be efficient. When it comes to feedback, email users are twice as likely to get frustrated.
The survey revealed a clear and demonstrable lack of efficiency in most document management processes that collaboration relies on at present in business organizations. Email comes up as the prime reason mainly because it is the most used process. Other issues, like document access and security, also reign high as issues.
“Document management is a challenge for all businesses. This new data reveals that email adds unnecessary obstacles that impair productivity and affect the bottom line,” said Daniel Chalef, chief executive officer of KnowledgeTree. “Real-time co-authoring and collaboration tools bring a structured approach to document management that amplifies efficiency and helps companies rule their documents.”
Document management is no different than any other business process you have in place. In order for it to be successful, the process needs to be clear and simple and you need to use the right tools to ensure it’s a process that your team can follow.
How does your team manage documents? What works for you?