The proliferation of systems in IT is an issue across the industry. Consider how many applications exist in various departments – accounting, payroll, file sharing, IM, CRM, ERP, PLM, and ECM.

IT staff are constantly asking themselves, “How can I reduce the number of systems and tools that are out there? Fewer systems are easier to manage and standardize, equaling less cost.

Keep in mind end users HATE this. An easy example is in mobile. You have an iPhone… I have a BlackBerry… Ray has an Android… Craig has an MS slate… and IT wants desperately to rationalize all of them. In a perfect world everyone would just be carrying a Palm Pilot and an IBM laptop and we’d all be happy. (I exaggerate, but you get the point).

Today I am applying the term rationalization specifically to repositories – and I’m not the only one… see the recent AIIM webinar on this topic.

For various reasons discussed in an Adlib webinar I recently hosted, rationalizing these systems isn’t always possible… or easy. You can’t just say “No more EMC”… maybe your finance team depends on it for seven-year archiving. Nor can you say “No more SharePoint”… we’re an MSFT shop and we use it with our business processes. And God help you if you try to ban an end user from Drop Box!

What I’m suggesting is rather than trying to rationalize your repositories… you can take a different approach… a document-centric approach.

Instead of reducing those systems and tools on the back end, look on the front end and ensure that documents in your organization are standardized – easily shareable, readily identifiable, clearly marked, contain authors notes, etc.

Regardless of where the document originates or what repository the final reader is connected to… focus on deliver the document they need … instead of making them jump through repository hoops.

Of course to do that you would need a solution that is ubiquitous (so it can hit on all those different systems that you can’t rationalize). And that solution would need to transform those documents in a way that facilitates collaboration, respects compliance, etc. etc. and conveniently enough… that’s exactly what Adlib does. J