Document Management can drive you crazy!

It is hard to believe but here we are, approaching 2014, and many companies find themselves as befuddled as ever over basic document management challenges. At least, I think they should be "basic" by this time. After all, document and content management technologies have been around for a long time now. Shouldn't most companies have solved these problems and moved on by now?  Turns out, the answer is a definite NO and arguably, the problem is worse than it has ever been.

In a article published by CIO Insight earlier this year, the results of a Harris Interactive poll showed just how pervasive document management challenges are. With more than 1000 knowledge workers across the U.S. and the U.K. participating in the poll, here are some of the interesting results.

83% of knowledge workers lose or waste time every day on document-collaboration issues

In Search Of ... 
73% meet with challenges in simply looking for files.

Identity Crisis  
57% get confused about whether the documents they're accessing are the "right" ones.

48% admit they've emailed the wrong version to a boss, client or coworker.

Mistaken Situation 
47% say they've worked on the wrong version of a document.

Anger Management
33% will yell at their computers.

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere ...
21% will head to a bar.

78% feel these situations are more frustrating than locking their keys in the car.

64% say these situations are worse than having to work on a weekend.

Why does this happen? Most organizations already have some sort of document management system. Doesn't that solve basic versioning and search problems? Not necessarily! Sometimes they have too many of them which simply magnifies the "where is that document located" problem.  Now factor in the use of multiple consumer-oriented cloud file sharing systems like Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive and the business challenges simply get worse!

So what is the answer? Here at Oracle, we help customers use WebCenter to simplify their approach to document and content management by consolidating wherever possible so that older systems can be put into maintenance mode and information can be more easily discovered by users or even within key business processes. But it is never that simple when humans are involved and users have to see the benefits of keeping their files in a single location before they will really get in the habit of using a content management system on a daily basis. It takes time but once users experience the joys of being able to find the right files quickly and in the context of their daily work, they tend to see the light pretty quickly.

It's not a problem that can go ignored as the impacts on business are too significant. Check out our latest infographic on the subject to learn more about why storing information in a scatter-shot manner is a very bad idea.

Be sure to check out our new WebCenter Content home page where you can find additional information to make the best decisions for your business when it comes to document and content management.  It will help make sure the knowledge workers in your company do not have to work weekends, they won't feel the need to yell at their computers and you won't drive them to drink.


Fine post! As we both go way back to the very earliest days of collaboration and content/document management -- I'm sure you can understand why I wonder if we aren't looking at the age-old definition of insanity -- trying the same thing over and over again (delivering doc/collab solutions) and expecting a different outcome (productivity).

Truthfully -- I believe it will be a bottoms-up movement to get control of content. The chaos in the home (photos, media files, email boxes loaded with spam, children's homework projects) is IMHO going to drive some awareness, and raise individual consciousness of the disaster we have on our hands. This will then drive more demand for more robust corporate solutions -- with the business process discipline that needs to go along with that.

Hope you are well... Keep on posting!


Posted by Tim Dempsey on December 10, 2013 at 11:46 AM EST #

Document management is an extremely straightforward concept - yet there is not one single Document Management tool that is perfect yet.

Most DM applications out there are buggy, slow, with poor search engines, and with horrible interfaces. The purpose of these applications is to make data easier to access - unfortunately, most employees think the complete opposite of these applications.

Posted by Fadi (itoctopus) on December 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM EST #


Very true. Thank you for the comment. That is exactly why we came out earlier this year with a completely redesigned and much simpler user interface for WebCenter Content that makes for a much simpler experience. Check out details on our website but we certainly agree that a complex user interface will drive users away and keep them from realizing the benefits of having everything in the same place.

Posted by Lance Shaw on December 10, 2013 at 03:12 PM EST #

Thanks for the comment. I certainly agree, that the ECM industry as a whole and Oracle to the same extent has been trying the same thing over and over again. In many cases it works great, but to your point about real change coming from the bottom up, I think we are just starting to see user expectations be addressed.

In the Oracle WebCenter case, we've introduced a completely redesigned user interface, with a correspondingly similar and easy to use mobile interface with the types of search and viewing tools that users have come to expect from the tools they use in their personal lives. We've also announced cloud solutions that will further expand what IT can responsibly deliver for enterprise file sharing and sync across devices.

So yes - consumerization has finally come to ECM - with more change to come. Hopefully it will finally give organizations an easy-to-use solution for information management, access, control and governance.


Posted by Lance Shaw on December 10, 2013 at 03:19 PM EST #

Another problem I have seen, is that the concept of "Document Management" from a typical Business User's POV is tied with the OS they are using (Windows/Mac OS). Most users I have met are more "familiar" (& hence perhaps at ease) with "Folder-based" approach of organizing the unstructured content. Also, to users it doesn't make sense - why should they use a Web-based ECM system when it is slower than their OS/Shared Network drives.

Also important is the ease of working with that Content using day-to-day Productivity tools (Office/PDFs), while the content is on a web-based repository. All of this should be seamless from a user's perspective to actually see "Business Value" out of it. Unless ECM Solutions allows users to "easily & quickly" crate content, convert content into various formats, share it, collaborate, search it "with the ease of google", clone it - all from with ECM solution, they wouldn't find Value (no time savings, no reduction in complexity of operations).

Though I have seen Business Users are often willing to move towards centralized ECM solutions, most don't deem it more than an "Archival Solution". Just a wish, but I would love to see Oracle rollout a complete package of "Open Office + PDF Reader/Creator + WCC (including Imaging)" that would all be integrated nicely into each other!

Posted by Prateek Mohan on December 12, 2013 at 12:49 AM EST #


Good points, thank you. We agree that if it is not fast and simple, most users will just keep using their local C drive or some other "local" store to keep their information. Problem is of course that there is little to no security, not auditing and limited sharing. Nevertheless - end users don't care about all that, they simply want to get their jobs done as fast as possible!

To that end, we created Desktop Integration so that WebCenter Content shows up as a "local" drive right on the desktop and from within applications like MS Office and Outlook. This makes the experience native - using a folder format that everyone is familiar with.

Thank you for your feedback and comments!

Posted by Lance Shaw on December 12, 2013 at 01:53 PM EST #

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