In what is supposed to be a paperless office, there are far too many people relying on Excel and Word to create documents just to process information, that html could do quicker and without incurring the cost of printing the document (paper, ink, maintenance of the printer). Static documents also mean that information has great risk of not being shared.
In a large company, it is easy for people and assets to be lost, especially where staff are required to change location as projects end or when they need elsewhere. The change of management on a project doesn’t always get passed on to the people who need to know, and assets that they may be responsible for, quite often it is decided that someone else will use it without a thought to asset tracking. IT equipment moves from location to location and suddenly we are in a situation that database is out of date. Yet if we provide a framework that allows the manager to manage via forms one update updates all, cutting down on cost of duplicating information that may be already out of date. Web interfaces empower managers to identify which assets they have and what is no longer required, thus reducing expenditure further. The beauty of the form is it allows key individuals access to only the areas they need.
We can take this one step further with this infrastructure in place, assets, people and projects can be linked to helpdesk calls, which can highlight any recurring issues such as faulty equipment or maybe where training is required. With a database management system we could take it even further buy introducing upload forms for site photos all time stamped and linked to their project. All kinds of forms can be added all linked to the employee, the project or both. The data is accessible but also secure.
The accessibility issue is one of the biggest bonuses, the fact is that issues are easier to identify when data is stored in a database. Too often important information is lost in the increasing amount of folders within folders. Within the Windows environment it is far too easy to overwrite delete or by accident delete the file or even the folders. I have often seen how managers hoping to identify an important document give the file a long file name, that is more a description than a name, making a file inaccessible because of the file length.
Long filenames are not the answer, but data management using forms are. Documents uploaded via forms allow the employee to write a full description if they want and it will not affect the accessibility of the document. Key fields within the form act as the same way that folder do in windows and help to define the document, timestamp it and provide version. control. For some the solutions is Microsoft SharePoint which uses Microsoft SQL, however although this is a good product the cost is prohibitive for a lot of companies.