March 13, 2017

Document management. Is it about documents, or management?

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Ole Jacob Kielland

Interaction Designer, Tieto

When you buy a car, you have a choice between two worlds. Or rather, there is a spectrum. A spectrum between a car as a means of transportation and a car as a machine.

Newer cars offer better mileage, less noise - sometimes even less actual driving. No tinkering, no tuning, no fixing it yourself. If something breaks you hand it over to a certified mechanic or download new firmware.

It's enough to drive a car enthusiast mad. But there are still plenty of vintage cars around which do offer the smell, the noise and the tinkering. The ability to replace something that's broken or perfectly tune your machine to suit your preference. And spill some grease while you're at it.

What's the point? The point is that none of these cars are better or worse than the other. They appeal to different people. Actually, they might even both appeal to the same person - but they serve different needs.

So enough with the analogy - the point is that Document Management software has for a long time been made mostly for those who manage the documents. It makes sense, doesn't it? We have Document Managers, so their software should help them manage documents.

But as we work closely with our users, we know that there is this other tribe out there who needs us even more. They are the Document people, the ones who create the actual documents (and search for others.) They want a piece of software that takes the Management concern away, so they can keep their focus on making the document.

Thankfully, it is possible to make a software solution that serve both needs. We can let people focus on what their actual work is, and leave the management concerns to us. But leave flexibility to fit the various processes we know are out there.

Or to use the car analogy again: We want to make a car that takes you to your destination quickly and quietly every day. But that you can also tweak and really drive on the weekends.

It's just a matter of always remembering both worlds.

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