Document collaboration issues occur as documents pass through multiple contributors and, while doing so, are often saved as multiple versions. These widespread and time-consuming issues include such things as searching for the right version of a file, working on the wrong version of a document or having to manually enter edits from others.
Known by Few, Felt by Most
While less than half (45%) of knowledge workers are familiar with the term version issues, the survey found that more than four in five (83%) lose or waste time each day from these problems. Issues include:
- Searching their hard drives or email inboxes for the most up-to-date or correct file (73%)
- Having to wait while someone else finishes working on a document (59%)
- Manually reviewing documents to sort out the changes from one or more contributors (56%)
- Working on a document, only to realise after some time that it was the wrong or outdated file (47%)
Interestingly, of the 69% of knowledge workers whose companies use a document management or file sharing service, about 9 in 10 still experience document versioning issues (86% and 90%, respectively), indicating that existing solutions do little to solve these problems.
This study helps to quantify an issue that nearly everyone experiences in one way or another, explained Christopher Seiwald, CEO and founder of Perforce. Current collaboration practices and systems do not mitigate the versioning issues that hinder an organisations ability to collaborate on documents. Weve largely solved this issue for software development teams, which are the most complex collaboration environments, but most business teams have yet to adequately address the root of the problemversion management.
More Time-Consuming than Spam, More Frustrating than Parking Tickets
The survey found that document versioning issues are productivity killers. They combine (75%) to have an impact on productivity for a higher percentage of knowledge workers than:
- Not having network access (71%)
- Dealing with spam and junk mail (59%)
- Leaving a mobile phone at home (34%)
The survey also found that document-related issues (83%) are frustrating to a higher percentage of knowledge workers than:
- Locking keys in a car (78%)
- Getting a parking ticket (78%)
- Having to work on a weekend (64%)
- Not being able to dial-in to a conference call (57%)
And workers react to these issues quite strongly. In fact, 81% report having worked on the wrong version of a document or spent too much time looking for the right file. Of those, 29% stop working on a project altogether or leave work early when they realise all the time theyve wasted. Other startling responses include:
- Yell at their computers (33%)
- Think about heading to the nearest bar or pub (21%)
- Throw something (12%)
- Banged their heads against their desks (12%)
 Adults age 18 or older who are employed full or part time, use a computer in their place of employment and share any type of computer file with others at their jobs.