This is probably a familiar story, a while back now someone had the great idea of creating a new corporate powerpoint slide deck with around 100 different slides of various shapes and formats as Master Slides for you to choose from.
In my experience the problem is that most people have no idea what Master Slides are or how they work. Unless you actually view ‘Slide Master’, or use ‘layouts’, then most people wouldn’t even know they are there. So they are unaware of them and they just sit there, hidden away, consuming space.
Also as very few of us are particularly good with PPT, we’ve started embedding a lot more extremely high resolution images into our slides as our laptops now have the performance to be able to deal with them, regardless of whether we need the resolution or not. In nearly all cases you DO NOT need an HD image in your deck.
What’s the impact? I just downloaded a new version of a corporate slide deck that used to be 4Mb, the new version is 47Mb. Yep because the creators laptop could deal with this huge PPT size, in the space of just a few years we’re now creating slide decks that are often 10x bigger than they used to be. The new HD images look almost no different to the lower quality ones we used to use, and no one deletes any template slides.
10x bigger PowerPoint, 0x better PowerPoint!
Now multiply this by the number of presentations that we create per week, new or copies, and now multiply that by the number of employees that use powerpoint inside your organisation.
X * Y = whoa!
Someone, out there in the business had this great idea to create a hundred ‘Master Slides’ to give people choices as to what they use and to try and enforce consistency. No one who uses powerpoint really knows how this functionality works though, so they just use the same 3 slides. Intro, content and Thank you. With the performance of laptops and networks we’re not limited on image sizes either, typically there are no guidelines as to what size of image is sensible for a PPT or how to reduce the size, now we have massive images bloating out these files too.
IT teams have been very good at mitigating the impact of this by introducing technologies that deliver a lot of efficiencies, deduplication, compression and now tiering to lower cost capacites. But I truly believe that IT needs to work with all areas of the business to provide more advice and guidance and even sometimes just to say “Don’t do that because it’s a stupid idea that’ll cost us a lot of money”
I’m using Powerpoint as it’s a good and obvious example, but you could equally list many many other applications. I’d love to see your comments if you have other examples you can share