If you answered yes, you are not alone. After speaking with hundreds of professionals, most of whom are attorneys, our team discovered that the vast majority of them turn to their email inbox when it comes time to find a particular document—even if they have access to a formal document management system! This could mean a number of things.
First, professionals prefer to limit the number of applications in their workflow. Instead of turning to their formal document management system to find documents, which would mean opening up another application in an already crowded desktop, professionals prefer to stay in the application they use all day, every day—i.e., their email inbox.
Second, when searching for documents, people tend to associate them with the person who sent them and the subject line of the associated email. This is not a coincidence, as we tend to think in terms of the people we work with. Consider the last time you searched for a document. Were you looking for the file you received last Tuesday at 9:23 am, or the file your colleague sent you last week?
Finally, document management systems are often treated as record-keeping tools rather than tools that can improve productivity and work quality. This is the case despite the fact that many document management solutions include a robust set of tools designed to improve workflows and make life easier. One possible explanation is that when a software solution has too many features it becomes overwhelming and discourages user-level adoption. To get users to take advantage of key features, therefore, it might be the case that less is more and a focus on core functionality trumps a robust set of seldom used features.
Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: professionals prefer to work out of their inbox where possible and software developers must take that into account when designing business solutions.
Tomer Dorfan is the Co-founder and CEO of FeatherDocs.