Perforce Study Reveals That 83% of Knowledge Workers Lose Time to Document Versioning Issues Each Day

Key Points:

  • The vast majority of knowledge workers lose time each day on document versioning issues, like searching for the right version of a file or working on an outdated document
  • About 9 in 10 workers whose companies use a document management system or file sharing service still lose time to these versioning issues (86 percent and 90 percent, respectively)
  • Document collaboration issues are more time-consuming than not having network access, more frustrating than locking your keys in your car
  • Organizations can significantly improve productivity and decrease costs by addressing these pervasive issues, as detailed in a study available at

ALAMEDA, Calif. (March 26, 2013) – Poor document collaboration practices are very expensive, time-consuming and the source of much frustration, according to Perforce Software, which commissioned an independent survey of business professionals. Conducted online by Harris Interactive®, the July 2012 Knowledge Worker Survey of 1,004 knowledge workers in the United States and United Kingdom shows that document collaboration problems in the workplace are pervasive, frustrating and the cause of costly productivity issues—even when document sharing tools are in place. It also indicates that these issues have far-reaching consequences, including missed business opportunities, damaged reputations and poor impressions on colleagues and customers.

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. For a full report on the impact of these issues, visit

Known by Few, Felt by Most

While less than half (45 percent) of knowledge workers are familiar with the term “version issues,” the survey found that more than four in five (83 percent) 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 percent)
  • Having to wait while someone else finishes working on a document (59 percent)
  • Manually reviewing documents to sort out the changes from one or more contributors (56 percent)
  • Working on a document, only to realize after some time that it was the wrong or outdated file (47 percent)

Interestingly, of the 69 percent of knowledge workers whose companies use a document management or file sharing service, about 9 in 10 still experience document versioning issues (86 percent and 90 percent, 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 organization’s ability to collaborate on documents. We’ve 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 problem—version management.”

More Time-Consuming than Spam, More Frustrating than Parking Tickets

The survey found that document versioning issues are productivity killers. They combine (75 percent) to have an impact on productivity for a higher percentage of knowledge workers than:

  • Not having network access (71 percent)
  • Dealing with spam and junk mail (59 percent)
  • Leaving a mobile phone at home (34 percent)

The survey also found that document-related issues (83 percent) are frustrating to a higher percentage of knowledge workers than:

  • Locking keys in a car (78 percent)
  • Getting a parking ticket (78 percent)
  • Having to work on a weekend (64 percent)
  • Not being able to dial-in to a conference call (57 percent)

And workers react to these issues quite strongly. In fact, 81 percent report having worked on the wrong version of a document or spent too much time looking for the right file. Of those, 29 percent stop working on a project altogether or leave work early when they realize all the time they’ve wasted. Other startling responses include:

  • Yell at their computers (33 percent)
  • Think about heading to the nearest bar or pub (21 percent)
  • Throw something (12 percent)
  • Banged their heads against their desks (12 percent)

In related news, Perforce also announced today the release of its new product, Commons (See “Perforce Unveils Commons, Bringing the Power of Enterprise Version Management to Business Teams”).

Survey Methodology

Harris Interactive® fielded the study online in the United States and United Kingdom on behalf of Perforce from July 9-13, 2012, interviewing a sample of 1,004 knowledge workers (500 in the US and 504 in the UK), defined as adults aged 18 years or older who are employed full or part time, use a computer in their place of employment and share any to type of computer file with others at their job. Figures were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Complete methodology can be found in the survey report at

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

About Perforce

Perforce powers innovation at unrivaled scale. Perforce solutions future-proof competitive advantage by driving quality, security, compliance, collaboration, and speed – across the technology lifecycle. We bring deep domain and vertical expertise to every customer, so nothing stands in the way of success. Our global footprint spans more than 80 countries and includes over 75% of the Fortune 100. Perforce is trusted by the world’s leading brands to deliver solutions to even the toughest challenges. Accelerate technology delivery, with no shortcuts. Get the Power of Perforce.

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