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Background – why Piqnic

Over the years enterprise document management has evolved significantly, both in terms of functionality offered to users and resilience/stability of the underlying platforms.

Typical deployment of enterprise document management involves an on-premise setup with a dedicated team supporting the day-to-day operation of the platform and managing changes. In most cases, there is also an ongoing support relationship with the platform vendor, whose involvement is funded through support or maintenance term contract or on an ad-hoc basis. 

Complexity of these platforms and associated costs is one of the main reasons for a relatively poor adoption rate of enterprise document management, despite technological maturity. 

Even the organizations that have adopted a document management strategy, and implemented a platform to support it, are finding it difficult to make these platforms sufficiently agile to keep up with the pace of change dictated by the business nowadays. The result is underutilization of platforms already deployed as well as an interesting phenomenon of fragmentation where different business areas or departments deploy their own isolated platforms to implement common functionality of managing business documents. 

The emergence of SaaS cloud-based platforms has affected the document management industry as well. However, what we are seeing predominantly being offered in this space is not functionally rich, enterprise document management products but rather scaled down, consumer style platforms which in most cases just replicates the simplest of all document management architectures – a folder-based document repository. Folder based architecture has proven perfectly adequate for personal use and in the consumer space but at the same time very much inadequate to manage large quantities of structured information residing in business documents and supporting critical business processes. While typical document management SaaS architecture delivers on agility and cost savings, by large, it fails to deliver on functionality required to support business document management applications. 

Ad-hoc business collaboration has been neglected for a very long time in the Enterprise space while thriving on the consumer side which makes an interesting contrast to document management. We suspect that the dominant line of thinking causing this neglect was that business processes should be carefully designed, constrained and controlled through business process management tools and that any ad-hoc activity in the context of business process is not desirable and should be discouraged. 

SaaS explosion in the cloud has delivered large numbers of ad-hoc collaboration and messaging tools, primarily in the consumer space. It has become effortless to exchange thoughts on different subjects between friends, family and other participants of this layer of social space. Yet, this did not extend to the place of work where there was a general lack of platforms allowing users to engage on an ad-hoc basis in a context of a business activity. 

Similar to what we saw in the document management space, what ensued was a quiet rebellion resulting in the use of built-for-consumer collaboration tools OR re-skinned business tools with built-for-consumer architectures in the business context. Whilst (like in document management SaaS offering) benefits of these collaboration tools are undeniable (cost effectiveness, quick deployment, efficiency improvements) they also contain some significant weaknesses such as general lack of management oversight and an effective security framework.  

Typically, these collaboration platforms also operate in isolation and detached from enterprise document management and other corporate information repositories. The end result is an artificial barrier between useful information flowing into collaboration sessions and supporting high quality business decision making. This barrier also works in the opposite direction where information generated during a collaboration session is not saved to enterprise repositories where it could be managed both as a part of a passive archive and actively supporting business activities in the future. The net result is that while agility and speed of collaboration has greatly improved it remains difficult to maintain quality and efficiency of collaboration because important information remains outside the collaboration silo. 

For a team that has an extensive background in enterprise document management and business process management, the gaps opening between SaaS offering and what is truly needed in the business space (some of them outlined above) were becoming glaringly obvious and that is how PIQNIC was conceived. 

PIQNIC is envisaged as an integrated, enterprise grade document management and ad-hoc collaboration platform. It is designed and deployed in the cloud and built for businesses of any type or size.