Despite over a decade in helping users understand information management and getting them to accept that shaping information in the way you need to use it can actually make them happier… it doesn’t matter. The only time I’ve ever seen users not default to a shared drive is if they are less than ten feet from a printer.
Applications have become richer in their functionality and what they can interoperate with to deliver ever more developed workflows and case management. There are tools which provide an entire platform that can let you do just about anything with information, from web publishing to day-to-day processing.
Still it doesn’t matter; shared drives trump everything, all the time, everywhere in the world. This blog post isn’t big enough to explore all the reasons why users do this (and there are many). But what I do have space for is this; two challenges – one for us and one for developers.
Challenge 1 – Us
Turning off the shared drive! 1 I mean the complete shut down of the NTFS – no corporate drive and no user drives… nothing. Could it be done without risking information management and digital continuity? Would users spontaneously combust?
A lot of it would rest on what comes next. I believe one of the reasons new products struggle is that they don’t move away from the same ‘view’ as Windows Explorer. That’s not a criticism of MS Windows – it’s clearly very successful. But if the next application borrows so significantly from the ‘left-hand pane for browsing and right-hand pane for selecting’ users probably don’t see why this new system really might be better for them.
Challenge 2 – Developers
Developers can make something that works, but that doesn’t mirror patterns or behaviour in a shared drive environment. 2 Most of them reading this will already be telling themselves that they are totally different… but they really aren’t.
Part of this is some inescapable function like dragging and dropping objects across different applications. And there’s no getting away from its facility. What I mean is the whole interface and way of interacting with information that is useful, and users favour it over a shared drive.
I’d be happy to hear from either camp as to what you’ve learnt and would like to see in the future…. We can’t accept adverts for tools on this blog – but if you email us we’ll have a look.