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  • March 11, 2019
  • By Marydee Ojala Marydee Ojala, Conference Program Director, Information Today, Inc
  • Article

The Junk Drawers and Bank Vaults of Enterprise Content Management

I opened a drawer in my kitchen the other day expecting to find the measuring spoons. It was the wrong drawer. It had loads of things in it—the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” comes to mind—but no measuring spoons. As you’ve no doubt gathered, I opened the junk drawer.

I suspect that everyone has a junk drawer. For some reason, these drawers are often found in the kitchen, although I’ve known tool drawers in workrooms to show ominous similarities to kitchen junk drawers. When I see a house with cars parked in the driveway and the garage door always closed, I assume that the family’s junk drawer has outgrown the kitchen and taken over the entire garage, leaving no room to park the cars there.

Every time we move, I am convinced that, this time, we will be sufficiently organized to avoid creating a junk drawer. Somehow, we’ll actually live by that old maxim, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” OK, as you’ve probably guessed, it hasn’t happened yet. Like death and taxes, junk drawers are inevitable.

Digital Junk Drawers

The increase in storage space on most computers has migrated the concept of the kitchen junk drawer to people’s personal computers. All those files can now be stored in multiple places on your hard drive without negatively impacting the machine’s performance. Painful personal experience has likely taught you that having no incentive to clean up your hard drive can lead to chaos, as you frantically search multiple files to find the one that has the digital measuring spoons.

It’s not so different in the enterprise. Wes Yee, Sr. Director of Growth at Guru, calls this phenomenon a silent productivity killer. You want to be doing effective enterprise content management (ECM), but you find that you’re confronting Content Mismanagement instead. I visualize Content Mismanagement as a small green gremlin who gleefully creates havoc and probably lives in a junk drawer.

Yee identifies five tactics that Content Mismanagement uses to cut into productivity.

First, browser tabs have proliferated, each taking people to an app where siloed content exists. Without consolidation, it’s easy to miss relevant content. Second, people keep creating new content without refreshing older content. The result is outdated, incorrect information that is just as readily discoverable as the current, valid information. In turn, when they stumble over the former and can’t find the latter, people lose faith in the system and simply stop looking.

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