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Could the Junk Drawer 1.0 become the Junk Drawer 2.0?

Ah, the infamous junk drawer. We all have them in our homes. They are that designated place, often a kitchen drawer, where we store the items that we use frequently that really don’t have a proper home, or they do but never make it back there. In the drawer, there is a huge quantity of “stuff” that we need, not all of it put there by us. Typically the junk drawer creation is a group effort, with many contributors in the home.
There are a lot of items in there that I have several of, like 4 sets of spare keys, 6 nail files, chopsticks, 15 pens, all different colors of course. I often need dig to the back of the drawer to find what I need, and by the time I get to it I realize that I don’t need it anymore as I now need to move onto a different task in the house.

My last trip to the junk drawer gave me a sense of déjà vu as I realized that is a similar experience that I have when I am trying to locate information in the office. As I launch my PC and try to search for a piece of content that I need to work I open my intranet and realize that there is a ton of content here, created and added by several different people. The content is often contributed by a large number of authors, and often there can be duplicated work, appearing in a variety of formats and layouts. Even with the best search tools, there is no easy way to find the information that you need without looking through many different layers that often exist inside the intranet. Often before I locate the content I am looking for, I am pulled into another direction, probably an urgent email that needs to be dealt with. According to IDC, “The typical enterprise with 1,000 knowledge workers wastes $6 million to $12 million per year searching for non-existent information.”

Of course my junk drawer at home is small in size and can be easily cleaned out and reorganized to be effective again. The same cannot be said about the intranet or file shares that many of us are using. As the amount of content grows, so does the size of the junk drawer.

So how can we battle this plague of the ever expanding junk drawer? Content is not going to stop growing. According to Yankee Group, “80% of data in an enterprise is unstructured Information. This type of information is growing at 200% per year.” Many companies are tackling this issue by moving away from the static intranet scenarios and adopting a better, more effective way to work by deploying more collaborative tools that augment their content with social features.
Allowing them to share more effectively with co-workers, add value to the existing content and search more easily for both content and the people they need to be able to get their work done. But are team spaces, social collaboration tools and community spaces exempt from the plague of the junk drawer. I don’t believe so. It is just as important to ensure that these environments are also designed with purpose and driven by good design.

I am seeing this first hand as OpenText has adopted the use of our Tempo Social application internally. Our new environment has quickly spawned well over 300 communities in a short time frame. We are learning firsthand the importance of keeping the signal to noise ratio just right to encourage adoption. We are thinking through things such as the lifecycle management required for communities. We are learning how to better understand when a community is needed versus a forum or a project space. We recently hosted a webinar session on the topic that resulted in some great conversations, in case you are interested. We have also published our use case for using Tempo

I would love to hear from others on what their recipe is in avoiding the “social sprawl” that can result in the junk drawer 2.0. Feedback and comments appreciated!

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Kimberly Edwards

As a Product Marketing Director, in our Ottawa office, I focus on helping our customers in the areas of Cloud, Digital Transformation, Content Services, ECM, Enterprise File Sync and Share, and Collaboration. Connect with me at or via LinkedIn.

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