My 20+ years in the ECM industry has probably skewed my attitude toward using a Shared Drive. After all, I spent years selling the concept that your content should be stored in a repository, not on a Shared Drive. And managed a plethora of projects where we migrated Shared Drives to SharePoint. After all, traditional Shared Drive content is typically unorganized, hard to find, and lives beyond its required lifespan. RecordLion even recently blogged on the topic of Managing a Shared Drive.
So as I learn more about Records Management, it is very intriguing to me that not everyone views the Shared Drive in a negative sense. There may even be a place for the Shared Drive amongst our advanced technologies. Especially with all the products on the market that are geared towards making Shared Drive management an easier task.
I still remember the first time I learned about Box, it was at an AIIM Conference many years ago. They had a huge booth and most document imaging veterans where saying "what?" when they looked at their demo. But obviously they were onto something!
So even though this is counter intuitive to me, I decided to go on a mission to find business reasons to keep your Shared Drive. I found three.
- The data is so unstructured and unorganized that the cost of moving it provides no ROI. There are plenty of tools that will move the data "as is", but if you won't be able to find it any quicker once it’s moved, maybe you shouldn't move it.
- The data is not very valuable to the organization and provides a low security risk from a legal standpoint. The key here is to figure out how to apply retention and disposition to these documents so they will eventually clean themselves up.
- The sheer size of the File Share is overwhelming. This pulls from my background in migrations, but maybe the answer is to not migrate everything. There may be a subset of data that is not worth migrating, or maybe it gets migrated in stages. Thus, your File Share is still needed, at least for the short-term.
I am certainly not promoting to keep your Shared Drive, but I have been enlightened that the answer may not always be to migrate it. Especially since there are so many tools on the market to assist whether you want to do File Classification, sync your Shared Drive or place formal Records Management policies on them.