Who’s the data Boss?

As an IT person it is always surprising to me when people name files. They give filenames that make sense to themselves, but no one else. I think the habit of thinking of ourselves first is hard to challenge. Nothing wrong with it when we deal with our personal files, but when we have to share files, it becomes a big problem.

It is very common for people to move on to other jobs, get another job, or get separated from the original files they created. When that happens what happens is that you get a ton of files that make no sense to anyone. Opening and trying to organize files is a tedious and time-consuming process that most people don’t want to do. What I have seen in companies is that they tend to abandon files rather than really try to manage them.

So I asked in the title who’s the data boss? Who owns the data? Who is responsible for it? Who makes sure it is useful to an organization. Unfortunately this answer is rarely clear. IT is often asked to help manage documents and access to documents, but ultimately departments need to do this. Some services like Box really help. I have worked with companies who have this and it is incredibly better than the traditional Microsoft Fileshare. It allows people to manage their data in a way that used to be solely under IT control. I love giving tools to people to help them manage their data. It leaves IT free to do more interesting tasks.

When you work in a team it helps to do things in the way that the team does them. Perhaps your system is better but there is no use you being efficient if it means everyone else is less efficient. What format is helpful? This is the one I use but of course you have to find your own best system.

filename: essenceofdoc.jpg (standard file-type ending that automatically appends)

I don’t try to get fancy I just give it a name that reflects the purpose of the document. I use lowercase, I don’t use special symbols, spaces or number or anything else. I try to keep it under 10 characters. There is no telling what systems that data will go into, so why complicate everyone else’s life?