Forget the Headache of Shared Drives – 5 Best Practices to Developing a Usable Data Repository

Have you ever spent more than 5 minutes searching for a team file? Have you ever lost access to a file someone else created? Have you ever wondered is there a better way to manage team knowledge?

There are plenty of ways to store and share information. Teams must wrestle with the different options to manage their information. For many, the first instinct is to develop a shared drive.

Shared Drives are shared spaces where teams can store their files, and guarantee that every member has access to information no matter the time or place. Platforms such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and DropBox allow for cloud-based file storage and collaboration for teams. However, when it comes to efficient and effective file management for an organization, these platforms fall flat. Shared drives repeatedly cause organizations problems with file duplication, organization, and outdated information.

Shared Drives are ideal for small teams or individuals. However, as a team begins to grow or data needs to be stored over long periods of time, Shared Drives lack the capabilities needed to inform members across the organization with ease.

The Solution? Usable Repositories.

Repositories advance shared drive capabilities. In addition to up-to-date information, more reliable data management, and collaboration, Repositories provide a knowledge management system developed with usability, searchability, and workflow in mind. The key to building a successful repository is structure and process.

When developing a repository, there are some best practices to keep in mind:

1.     Standardization of Data Entry

By establishing a standard process for tagging metadata, you ensure all your knowledge is searchable and accounted for to ensure a better search experience for finding information which increases efficiency and saves time.

2.     Establishment of Information Hierarchy

Establishing the hierarchy of information allows team members to efficiently locate and store essential information while supporting the maintenance of the system.

3.     Establishment of Formal Document Approval Process

The development of a formal document approval process requires the vetting and approval of formal documents which removes the risk of duplication and confusion on the correct file for reference.

4.     Creation and Implementation of Community Best Practices

Setting expectations and processes for file contribution is essential to effective management, long term maintenance, and ensures uniform file practices within the repository.

5.     Training and Change Management

Adoption is just as important as the development of the repository system. To help support adoption, ensure that there are ample resources to support the new system. For example, help desk articles, helpdesk email mailbox, and weekly lunch & learn sessions. Having multiple support options prevents users from getting lost and increases adoption.

6.     Perform Edits as User Cases Develop

Through the installation of a repository, prepare to improve and adapt the system to that specific user environment.

The goal of repository development is to supply leadership with the resources necessary to make informed decisions.

Shared drives allow users to share data and collaborate. Repositories establish an environment for efficient, effective, and structured data sharing. Knowledge management is a long term organization fundamental. The establishment of an effective repository and knowledge management system enables teams to scale efficiently, protect essential resources, and increase your organization’s efficiency to seek out information to make informed decisions.