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Utilization of a Centralized Document Repository in Shared Services


A document management system or “Document Repository” is a computer system used to track and store electronic documents. Many companies have implemented a Centralized Document Repository to facilitate global access and real-time updates of documents. Shared Services can be a key user of a Document Repository, and, in many cases, can play a pivotal role in its implementation and ongoing administration. 

There is a wide variety of approaches to document management utilizing a number of different technologies in various combinations, all with the same objective in mind: To provide quick and easy access for authorized users to key documents which are stored in a secure environment.  Some of the most common alternatives to accomplishing this objective include the following:

  • Company Intranet
  • Shared Drive
  • Third-Party Document Management System (DMS)
  • Web-Based Applications, such as SharePoint

When considering any of these alternatives, or a combination thereof, some of the attributes to consider include integration with existing systems, document capture, validation, and indexing, as well as document retrieval, workflow, and collaboration.  There are a large number of factors to consider as it relates to a Centralized Document Repository, and a significant amount of due diligence is required to design the appropriate setup for your company and Shared Services operation.

iPollingTM Results Review

A recent Peeriosity poll created using the iPollingTM technology provides some excellent information regarding the use of a Centralized Document Repository in a Shared Services environment.  Focusing on process documentation as the information is stored, the first poll question looked at what tool was being used for this purpose.  Reviewing the results, SharePoint was the most popular approach at 39% of the companies, closely followed by the use of a shared drive at 35%.  The next closest response in terms of popularity was a combination approach of multiple tools for this purpose, which is the configuration at 17% of the companies.

iPolling: central repository for your process documentation in shared services |Centralized Document Repository

The second polling question then looked at the primary types of documents stored in the central repository, using a response key that included selections for policies & procedures, guidelines, project documents and workflows, audit materials, and training materials.  Not surprisingly, for most companies (88%) it was a combination of these documents, which is a good indicator that companies are trying to take full advantage of the capabilities of their repository solution.

iPolling: primary types of documents stored in central repository | Centralized Document Repository

Some of the member comments associated with this poll include the following:

Manufacturing Company: We utilize shared computer drives to store a lot of working documents. For reporting, we use a third-party system. We also have an internal website that stores policies, procedures, training docs, etc.

Consumer Products & Services Company:  We are using a 3rd-party case management system knowledge base, a shared drive, and SharePoint for the documents repository.

Manufacturing Company: We are continuing to use a partitioned share drive with security where needed. We also use SharePoint, and 3rd parties to maintain payroll output reports and historical data.

Retail Company: We utilize a shared drive, SharePoint, and in-house imaging.

Computers & Electronics Company: JSON/HTML5 solution that combines excursion & change management, a balanced scorecard and process documentation. Used to be a mix of SharePoint & off-the-shelf “wiki” software.

Financial Services Company: We use both a shared drive and SharePoint as a central repository for process documentation.

Consumer Products & Services Company: We have several tools available to us, but no standard is set by the company or even by our Shared Services organization. We recently launched an LSS project to set a standard for the Shared Services organization that will allow us to also share documents with our BPO partners. Tools authorized for use are eRoom, IBM Connections, MS Delve, MS Team, FileNet, Box, SharePoint, and a shared drive.

Manufacturing Company: We retain any and all information that we need to post payments, offsets, policies, procedures, and special projects in a shared drive. This means that we have all the information at our fingertips when we are requested to take an action. We store procedures so that when someone is off, there is someone cross-trained and can step in and complete her job.

Consumer Products & Services Company: We use a variety of tools – SharePoint, VAULT, intranet (policies), etc. to share and store materials.

Closing Summary

A Central Document Repository can be a powerful tool in a Shared Services environment, providing important information quickly to a controlled group of users.  The collaborative aspect of this technology can be especially beneficial in such applications as a closing calendar, approvals, and shared reconciliations, to name just a few.  How to best configure that repository with the availability of such a variety of effective solutions is the challenge that each company must face based on its particular needs and resources.

What is your current configuration as it relates to a Central Document Repository for Shared Services?  How effective is this solution and is this a good time to consider other types of technology?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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