… most corporate documents can be classified as bullshit, crap or waffle, except for marketing documents which are all classified as blatant lies?
Microsoft's SharePoint Syntex is a new feature of SharePoint online that promises to extract metadata from documents automatically, making it easier to find and categorise information. SharePoint Syntex, currently in preview but with general availability promised for 1 October, is the first product based on a wider technology …
What goes in seldom comes out.
At one employer we had to use sharepoint for all our docs. We duly started adding them to Sharepoint only to find a week or so later, that the URL that we'd lovingly saved when the doc was uploaded no longer worked. Welcome to the world of 404.
After an immense struggle, we found the docs. Only to find a month later that they'd moved again.
We carried in loading Sharepoint with all the docs but we also put them on a local (as not in the cloud) GIT repository.
After a year or so, even our management and this included the ones that had made using Sharepoint mandatory were using Git.
I moved on not long after that so I can't say how it all panned out but from then on, I avoided Sharepoint at all costs.
The IT department (actually, "junior droid" these days) has dictated that networked drives are to be replaced by SharePoint. So instead of putting a file on a network drive it goes out to the web, you get an email telling you that its there, you request permission to access it and when its granted it gradually loads onto your computer.
Now what could possibly go wrong with this setup? Suppose I want to hand off a build set to a colleague for trouble shooting, say a few thousand files occupying a Gig or two. I suppose I could ZIP them up (actually I can't because Sophos is so Sophisticated that if you want to send a ZIP file you have to rename it to TXT or it will reject it) and transfer one file. Or I could just give up; I'm supposed to be retired, I don't need a job to pay the bills.
Much of what these tools do is just warmed over techniques that have been around for years -- file version control, that sort of thing. Its got a Web interface because its "in the cloud" and its got the usual Microsoft mix of realy dumb but at the same time insanely complicated (and like other MSFT products it doesn't work very well, just enough to make the sale).
Knowledge (doc) management is hard, bloody hard. Did I mention it is hard?
The usual method is a set of nested folders of mouldy Word, Excel etc docs. Some are lovingly crafted, some a bit vague but all take up quite a lot of space but most are unloved after a few months. Then you shove it all into SharePoint. Now you have at least twice the space requirement for raw storage (someone will insist on keeping the original filesystem) and the smart new indexes take up twice as much again. Then someone does a reorganisation of the docs. The backups go berserk and stuff falls over. The creaky Outlook addins fail to work randomly. Excel forgets how to see the repos and Word is frankly odd. Then someone decides to index SAP tables and the database cluster causes a singularity to form and the universe vanishes up its own arse.
I've had slightly better outcomes with Mediawiki. The data is largely simple text so at least the blood thing doesn't become multi 100 gigabyte sized out of the box. A lot of things are a pain to do in a wiki but funnily enough the really important bits are covered out of the box, such as getting information down on the page/screen. Organisation of docs can be done hierarchical and by categories at the same time so you can link up your stuff in multiple ways to suit both cadres of OCD in the firm! You also have multiple indexing engines to choose from.
Microsoft adds "new" technology, which we've been reading about in TKDE for the past fifteen years, to enhance its "document manager" which has spent twenty years failing to deliver on its many and varied promises.
By damn', I think I see a tradition developing here.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021