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A recent survey by Search Your Cloud revealed that one-third of US and UK workers spend 5-25 minutes searching each time they look for an important document and it took up to 8 searches to find the correct document they were looking for.

I imagine you can think of at least one occasion where you spent significantly more than 25 minutes searching for a document you really needed…

Old-style Microsoft Excel and paper-based systems have inherent flaws that frustrate and cause you to spend more time searching for documents as the Search Your Cloud survey would suggest. With that in mind, here are the major downsides of using shared and paper-based documentation systems.

Lack of access control

How many times have you tried to figure out who made a change to a document because you don’t have the ability to restrict access? A shared system prevents you from having control over who can make changes which increases the amount of time you spend doing wasteful administration work for no good reason.

Lack of revision control

When you receive documents back from your customer with changes and/or comments, how can you effectively manage revisions especially when you have a system that enables any staff member to create and store documents in different folders? Plus, you end up with duplicate records which increases the time you spend trying to track down the correct ones. When you have a paper-based system, it’s even more difficult to keep track of the latest version of a particular document and its duplicates.

Lack of security

A paper-based or shared drive system makes it more difficult to maintain an acceptable level of security. It tends to be more difficult to keep track of who is accessing documents, making changes and securing them. With a paper-based system you’re also increasing your risk should the documents get stolen or thrown out without being destroyed. And how and where do you even physically store paper documents and justify the cost of securely storing them?

Lack of mobility

Digitization of documentation enables you to share documents between offices and even countries and makes collaboration easier. If you’re travelling and need to access documents, a shared system may not enable you to remotely access files and a paper-based system certainly won’t help when the files are located elsewhere.