Tip #4: Put all your data in a virtual local drive for universal access
One advantage of some document management systems is the consolidation of all your company documents and information into a single repository, rather than having multiple locations where documents are stored distributed across hard drives and servers in different office locations. With a centralized vault, there’s a single access point to search for all files.
By putting all your documents in one location and categorizing them with metadata you eliminate the limitations of traditional Windows folders. Conceptually, users just save to or open from one location, they don’t worry about navigating to a particular folder. This is dramatically simpler to search through the metadata associated with each document, as the need for “folder” in the traditional sense goes away. Imagine how simple and straightforward it is for everyone in the company to simply accessing files from one location, and then having a very simple and efficient mechanism for locating files that are stored there.
So how do you access this central data vault? Certain systems make such a centralized vault appear as a drive, similar to the C drive, on user’s PCs. Different systems provide such a drive in different ways. Some systems just use a traditional mapped network drive, but this approach only works when users are connected to the network and can access the mapped drive. For instance, if the server where the drive is located crashes or the network goes down, users can’t access the vault.
The best way uses a mechanism called a “virtual local” drive that appears as a local disk drive on users PCs. This provides a number of advantages in that it is fast and always available, regardless of whether the server or network is accessible. A virtual drive caches data from the server on the user’s local system and then automatically synchronizes data with the server when it is available. In this way, users always have access to the documents they need, whether the server is available or not. They also have access to the documents they need when traveling and lose connection to the Internet. When the server becomes accessible again, all data on the user’s system is automatically synchronized with the central vault.
See previous: tip #3.