Companies' file sharing is often still fragmented, third-party, and inefficient, which is a pain for employees and a nightmare for IT. Centralized and social file sharing is secure, organized, and collaborative, which becomes ever more important as companies grow.
Who needs good file management? Pretty much everyone, even companies of one person. The more people a company has, the more files they create and maintain, and the more robust the file management and sharing needs to be. Companies of any size greater than one person also need file sharing solutions that take collaboration and security seriously.
You may think that good file sharing mostly just consists of keeping things in one place, protecting against loss, and knowing which version you're accessing. But integration with other tools and social features are a valuable part of an organization's file sharing system, too.
The most obvious benefit of centralizing file sharing on your intranet is security. How files are stored and protected is handled by IT and Security who have expertise in those matters; it's not left up to random employees. The system is designed with many users and a company's evolving and expanding needs in mind, rather than being intended for casual consumer use.
Corporate file sharing gets files out of people's personal desktop or network folders, email archives, USB drives, or external third-party file management solutions like Dropbox. Unsecured files can get lost, no one knows which version is the latest, people can overwrite each other's updates, and important data can fall into the wrong hands.
Many enterprise solutions fail to gain traction with staff because of convoluted login restrictions, limited features, poor collaboration potential, and bad user experience. Cloud-based file management solutions are popular, largely because they're familiar to consumers, easy to use, and often free. But third-party, consumer-centric, cloud-based file sharing solutions aren't really any more secure for organizations' information than the aforementioned email folders and USB drives. Intranet file sharing tools need to be as good and easy to use as consumer options, otherwise your efforts will be easily undermined by a well-intentioned employee who just wants that be able to edit that one file at home.
Bringing in a robust but easy-to-use file sharing solution helps solve the problem for IT and for the end user. With robust file sharing applications, like Igloo's, every file's life cycle is tracked, from who uploaded it, to everyone who has changed it, to what content has been edited, and when those changes took place. You can also track where the document has been shared on the intranet, and who has access to it. And built-in social tools, like commenting, encourage employees to use the service instead of relying on email or consumer sharing services that simply act as shared drives.
Igloo's File Sharing app enables anyone with write access to "reserve" a document, temporarily owning it and notifying others with access that changes are about to be made. This prevents accidental overwriting of someone else's updates and confusion about latest versions.
Those with access or who are subscribed to a folder or file can receive notifications to be kept abreast of whenever the file is updated. Moderation controls can also be used so that changes aren't automatic, but must first be approved, for additional security.
Centralizing corporate file sharing does a lot more than let everyone know where to get the latest version of a given file or prevent loss of important information. Apps like Igloo's have generous file size allowances, so there's no need to worry about whether you'll be "allowed" to upload or any question of whether the upload completed successfully. This way the functionality is equally usable for Word docs in Marketing, spreadsheets in Finance, or high-res graphics and video files from the Design team.
With Igloo's file sharing, access permissions can be set at the folder or document level. Everyone who needs access can have it, and the files can be shared with teams who need access but don't need to own them. For example, the company's approved logos can be shared in a widget with Marketing, even though Brand owns that folder. Brand can update the contents as needed, which updates for all stakeholders, so Marketing can always be confident of having the most up-to-date versions.
Files can also be displayed in several ways in Igloo's file sharing app, which is especially useful for media files. There are dedicated widgets for showing image galleries to enable at-a-glance perusal of content. Members can also sort and rate the files, enabling selection of favourites to be selected and decision-making. This can be as handy for choosing a new banner image as for choosing a winner in an internal photo contest.
Metadata is also important for good file sharing, enabling better searchability and information architecture immediately and in the future, especially as an organization's file archives grow. Igloo's File Sharing app provides easy to add descriptions and labels for files so it's simple for those accessing them to find the right content and know just what's in there.
Because we understand that you're not always at your desk, Igloo has made sure that file sharing is mobile-friendly. Documents are previewed in a mobile-friendly PDF viewer. Even video previews work great on your phone, so there's no trouble accessing what you need wherever you are. And of course if you receive a document in email that needs to be stored or shared, you can just email it to the relevant folder inside your Igloo, make it easy to upload files without leaving your current app. With the rise of mobile device use for knowledge workers, having sensitive data stored on your smartphone or tablet can be a large security risk. With Igloo, document previews are rendered in the browser, rather than stored locally on the device.
While it eventually gets the job done, and maybe that's how we've always done it, passing around a file among a number of people in email isn't efficient. While one person is supposed to be working on the file, no one else can. Centralized file sharing enables everyone with permissions to edit and comment when they have time or input. And if someone notices that feedback or information from a person not already included is needed, looping them in is a simpleaway.
Social features in file sharing make collaboration cycles potentially faster, too. In addition to being able to edit, people can comment with suggestions or questions. And the rating feature helps keep relevance and quality high. Intermittent reporting on file ratings can help pinpoint content that has gone stale, is no longer on-brand, or just needs some refreshing. Comments andcan then be used to direct the attention of the relevant folks to the files to complete updates.
Social features also enable teams to keep all the content they need together in one place. Shared files can be linked to shared calendar events or from wikis. A meeting's presentations, notes, and to-do lists are all together. A project's documentation is accessible in one place. The organizational potential and time saved from hunting down needed resources is incredible and everyone is on the same page in terms of what information they need.
File sharing may not seem like the most glamorous of corporate functions to be managed, but it is among the most critical, especially in today's data-driven companies. Files need to be secure, organized, and accessible for collaboration. Combining robust security and change tracking with handy social features to keep things up to date makes everyone more productive, whether a company is ten people or ten thousand.