Closing the Information Access Gap

By Phil Green  |  Posted 2010-09-28 Print this article Print

Closing the information access gap

At the low end of the information access spectrum are shared network drives and wikis. They require minimal technical knowledge and few IT resources. Business users like these environments because they give the user the ability to create, modify and manage the folder structure of a shared network drive or edit a wiki page without IT involvement. However, they offer limited functionality, weak structure and minimal security.

Shared drives and wikis can also be difficult to search. Some organizations have addressed this with search engines and portals. But search provides a diluted (flat) view of content. They behave as any Web search engine does, surfacing lots of results (that are essentially devoid of context) and various drafts or versions of a document. Which version to use is left to the user to decide and, without context, how do they know which one is the most appropriate? Remember, search engines deliver relevant content, not high-quality content.

Climbing up the evolutionary ladder, we come to enterprise platforms such as ECM systems, DAM systems and CMSes. These provide advanced content management functionality, workflows and security capabilities not possible with network drives and wikis. These systems provide more value than network drives and wikis but at a cost.

These systems are hard to implement, require significant IT resources and the time to value is long. Additionally, due to their technical nature, business users are more often than not beholden to the IT staff to make changes and enhancements in the system. This loss of control and often lack of agility is frustrating to business users.

Phil Green is Chief Technology Office at Inmagic. Phil is responsible for the long-term technical and strategic direction of Inmagic's solutions. Prior to joining Inmagic in 1990 as president and CEO, Phil held a variety of management positions at Lotus Development Corporation, Communications Studies and Planning International, and was an independent consultant to Microsoft. Phil holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Harvard College and a Master's degree from Harvard Business School. He is a blogger at He can be e-mailed at

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