In the ‘olden days,’ corporations purchased print subscriptions to journals of interest for their on-site libraries, and employees came to the library and read at their leisure, instead of using a centralized content management system. Or perhaps they made a copyright-compliant photocopy of the article and took it back to their desks, always leaving the original journal back on the library shelf for anyone to access as needed.
Fast forward 20 years to the advent of the digital library and the eventual demise of on-site libraries. Instead of visiting the library, employees can download a copy of an article from a publisher’s website, keep it on their personal hard drive, and never need to leave their cubicle.
Unfortunately, though, the practice of having each employee ‘out for himself’ is detrimental to a company’s growth, agility, and budget. When employees go on vacation or leave the company, the information stored on their hard drives is typically not available for colleagues to access. Additionally, there is no central record of the content purchased, leading to multiple downloads of the same document with additional charges to the company each time.
Aside from the problem of content being scattered over individual users’ computers, there is also an issue of various departments within a company having redundant content stored in Sharepoint, or in various systems that are inaccessible to related departments without a password. Again, the same article may have been purchased 5 or 6 different times by different departments who were unaware of its presence elsewhere in the company.
Lack of Document Management
Poor document management practices steal productivity from companies and cost them money and time. Life science companies are an excellent example of an industry that must rely on central information sharing to accelerate their research and advance their products to market. In order to foster the sharing of information in a timely and cost-effective manner, it is imperative that companies — no matter the size — implement collaborative, accessible networked systems.
Centralized Management Systems
A centralized document management system acts as an easily accessible repository that enables all employees access to timely and accurate information at all phases of discovery, manufacturing, safety surveillance, and regulatory submissions. The ideal system unifies literature otherwise scattered across platforms — applications, repositories, SharePoint sites, email systems, network shares, intranets, extranets, websites, databases– into a beautifully curated library of research. As importantly, the best- designed content repositories allow colleagues to build customized document libraries to then share with selected colleagues and workgroups and provide users with the ability to customize documents with advanced features such as tagging, annotating, commenting, and even drawing!
In an ideal world, employees would have the resources that they need on-demand, and there would be zero organizational redundancies. But even the most sophisticated and user-friendly system will require teams to accept the change from their routines and the resources with which they’ve become comfortable. That all takes time and a great deal of organizational change. In our next post, we’ll discuss some ways to introduce change to your organization that will promote innovation and accelerate the commercialization process.