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Struggling with your proposals

Struggling with your proposals? Here is a solution worth exploring;

It’s hard to imagine that Facebook wasn’t around fifteen years ago – or that LinkedIn was in its infant stage, the iPhone was still only a concept in Steve Job’s brilliant mind and Wikipedia was just starting. Collaboration in the workplace usually meant getting everyone together in a room. Conference calls were typically voice calls only, and the first fifteen minutes of the call was usually spent talking over each other until people got the hang of how to interact on the call.

But at the same time, our technology platforms were teaching us how to collaborate, to communicate better, to improve how we worked. As an example in the oil and gas industry, Xait created the software “Publish-as-you-Go” for BP in 2001, the same year in which Wikipedia was launched. It solved the issue of how to efficiently enable multiple people to prepare, work, publish and distribute a proposal or tender. This innovative, disruptive technology platform – known as XaitPorter – has now become the standard for oil and gas companies: In Norway, nearly every company in the oil and gas industry uses XaitPorter somewhere in their working environment.

Why do we seem to still spend so much time on repetitive, time-consuming activities?

A recent AIIM blog post about document practices in the oil and gas sector, explains why some document controlling processes seem to be stuck in time. Now documents are originating electronically: however, the processes haven’t changed. So while technology has improved, productivity and performance is at risk of falling behind if the process and the way people work doesn’t change. Why do we find ourselves being limited to using paper principles in a digital age?

 

The challenge is about managing information. It’s time to let go of legacy processes and embrace new digital ways of working.

 

For oil and gas companies, best practices for managing production of†complex documents – like license applications, reports, proposals and tenders – include the following:

  • Standardize and automate functionality within the document (e.g formatting, version control)
  • Automate all manuals tasks and workflows – such as reviews and approvals
  • Embed control functions into the process (e.g. notifications, access rights and security levels)
  • Make it easy to create, manage and repurpose content
  • Enable information to find people (and not force people to search for information)

In summary, savvy companies in the oil and gas industry – or any industry – will ensure employees have both robust, easy-to-use technology and automated processes so they can build a culture of good information management. For teams working on complex or time-sensitive projects, this helps them to not get stuck in the process of working with documents. Instead, they can focus on the value of the information and its impact on the business.

Please fill out the form below to contact Kristian Lie-Bjelland.

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Document Co-authoring Software, Build or Buy?

Document Co-authoring Software, Build or Buy?

When creating complex contracts or time sensitive documents that may be part of a larger solution, the current way of creating documents is broken (too slow; full of errors; challenging to maintain). Is that truly the case for you? So, how do you solve this?

Do you build your own solution, or do you buy something Commercial off-the-shelf? There are positives and negatives to both approaches. But first things first; before you can make a Build-vs-Buy decision, you need to work out your requirements. A build vs. buy decision starts with well-defined requirements. You need to fully understand what your solution actually should do. Different expectations for various stakeholders and internal politics makes this a difficult, but important, task of part of any such project. Your aim might be to release a new product / solution to complement your portfolio of software solutions and you might know the core issues at hand. But, what will the requirements be in 6 months or 2 years down the line? Do you have the resources and know-how to maintain a document solution that meets your customers’ requirements now and in the future? Or is the document and reporting part not an important part of your delivery?

Build or Buy decision

This is why forward thinking companies spend a lot of time researching solutions. Specialist document assembly and document automation suppliers have the experience and expertise to help you understand the sorts of challenges other companies have solved and how they’ve done it. If you have not found any solution in the market that covers at least 60-70% of your requirements, you should consider building. However, there are still risks inherent when building your own document automation, document co-authoring and document assembly solution.

Build or Buy decision

 

Building

  • Many developers believe they are the only ones that can deliver your exact requirements It’s not just a document solution that needs to be built. There is development, maintenance and support, in addition to potential new features that will enrich your solution. Do not underestimate the testing required, with i.e. XaitPorter, it has been tested for more than a decade internally, but also externally with clients and partners globally.
  • On the surface document automation, document co-authoring and document assembly may seem to be easy to achieve with i.e. SharePoint. As with any area of expertise, it’s only when you dig deeper, that you understand the complexity of developing and managing an ongoing development for a document solution – i.e. should it support high res and vectored graphics, how about formatting, layout and numbering, change management etc.
  • A good end user experience is essential, and is only half the battle. Templates need to be updated and maintained. Without the correct document solution for you, maintenance requirements can easily turn your project into a money pit.

If you have identified your project as a “one off “with well-known and defined requirements that are unlikely to change over time, then build it. However, it still needs to make sense economically and you have to have a highly qualified and resourceful development team that you can dedicate to the task. In many cases, it may prove that your requirements are similar to those of other businesses and software vendors. In these cases, buying is more likely to be the better option.

Buying

  • Check various software vendors that provides a document automation, document collaboration and document assembly solution and identify the features and functionality that best match your requirements. Ensure that you leverage the experience other clients have gone thru. Use the document solution vendors to help you to define your business requirements – they may have ideas that could prove beneficial to your case.
  • Ensure that the solution can handle complex document requirements. You may need to be able both to automate content, automate look and field, while providing flexibility to manage change or tailoring for your clients.
  • Confirm that your potential solution works and integrates with your other applications and infrastructure. Perhaps your chosen partner could host for you? Requirements change over time. Ensure that your chosen vendor has a decent API, that supports your business case, both now and in the future.
  • If time to market is important, buying will be much faster than building. Finally, when making a Build-vs-Buy decision, you need to understand the total cost of ownership. You need to calculate all costs for the life of the project, including internal development costs, opportunity costs, ongoing maintenance costs, and integration costs. But, you also need to consider if time to market is important, and whether your development could actually be used to other task that could bring revenue to your company – instead of building a solution.

Total Cost of Ownership

Finally, when making a Build-vs-Buy decision, you need to understand the total cost of ownership. You need to calculate all costs for the life of the project, including internal development costs, opportunity costs, ongoing maintenance costs, and integration costs. But, you also need to consider if time to market is important, and whether your development could actually be used to other task that could bring revenue to your company – instead of building a solution.

It is usually far cheaper and faster to buy than to build. After all, if a problem has been adequately solved in a commercial product, why solve it again? Why not focus on a new and more interesting problem? Chris Doig .Please see link to his blog here.

Total Cost of Ownership

 

Kris Sæther
Chief Commercial Officer, Xait
kris.saether@xait.com

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Xait the Value of Marketing

The value of marketing

We deliver XaitPorter, a document automation, collaboration and production solution to help companies consistently produce stunning, high quality documents, such as bids and proposals. Sales teams often have to juggle the task of creating and compiling content, leaving little or no time to make sure the content is presented in the best possible way, both structurally and aesthetically.

Sven Erik Nisja from Oceaneering sits down with Marianne Molineaux from Xait to talk about how they managed to get their corporate logo launched into space.

Our customers benefits from having the ability to focus on creating great content, and let XaitPorter handle the layout and formatting of the document to see increased company revenue. We fully support the hard work that people put in to build and boost their brand and making sure the value of their marketing is optimised.

For more than 15 years, Xait has helped companies streamline their document production process through collaboration and automation. Our clients understand the importance of making sure that their documents stand out and are ahead of the competition, to win more business.

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can increase the quality of your documents and show the value of their brand.Schedule Demo


APA 2017 Success with XaitPorter

XaitPorter is the preferred collaboration tool producing license applications

“98.21% of the production license applications awarded for the APA in 2016 have been entrusted to clients using XaitPorter”, says Kris Saether, CCO in Xait.  

XaitPorter is the standard license round application solution in Norway, and our employees have expertise providing help with streamlining the process for oil companies. Our experienced team can help with your application document structure, as well as offer consultation services during the completion process. Higher quality documents, less overtime, and more applications are only some of the benefits that users of XaitPorter experience.

With the announcement of the APA 2017, there is expected major interest in the application rounds.

APA 2017 is the second largest expansion so far, and the largest expansion yet in the Barents Sea. This is imperative for effective resource management, says The Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Søviknes.

The importance of integrity in license documentation

If a company can optimize the use of information and leverage it correctly, they can also better manage risk and ensure regulatory compliance, while operating optimally and achieving a competitive advantage. To improve a document or information centric process, one should have the ability to edit and create content by either adding new content, reviewing and approving the content, or reusing content by both copying and linking to master content, which ensures integrity across all of your documents.

In addition, features such as document automation, document assembly and high quality publishing in a secure environment not reliant on files can be key for your decision on what type of solution to elect. Policy-based document creation and workflow approval system designed to dynamically build both standard and custom configured documents based upon pre-defined business rules with the ability to change key values, while the documents and reports are instantly updated is a challenge with a file based solution.

Please contact Kris Saether to explore Xait’s approach to document production.

Contact: 
Kris Sæther
Chief Commercial Officer
+47 51 95 02 00
kris.saether@xait.com
https://no.linkedin.com/in/krissaether


Xait Crown Commercial Service Supplier

Xait launches on G-Cloud

G-Cloud is the United Kingdom´s procurement framework that allows public sector IT buyers to easily and cost-effectively award contracts. G-Cloud avoids the time-consuming and costly nature of traditional procurement processes by allowing more efficient route to market than any other framework.

As a newly listed supplier, Xait is able to offer their cloud-based services via the UK´s Digital Marketplace, allowing time and cost savings that encourage buyers to use the G-Cloud framework. The advantages for Xait´s existing and potential customers in utilizing the G-Cloud framework are:

  • You can talk directly with Xait, thus gaining a more in-depth understanding of our capabilities
  • Allows direct comparison between Xait and our competitors
  • Only includes our very latest information and services
  • The confidence of tendering from a well- established and respected repository of suppliers in the IT industry

We encourage you to take a closer look at  UK´s Digital Marketplace.

Xait launches on G-Cloud

For more information on how we can improve your efficiency with XaitPorter!Get in touch

 


Survival of the fittest

Survival of the fittest

The proposal process is often characterized by chaos and last minute panic. You have no idea who’s done what. You can’t keep track of how much work is left. The finished proposals are neither compliant nor complete. And you end up losing proposals because your clients cannot understand your documents.

You put a lot of effort into the proposal process, and you see no results. And what you really should be putting effort into, is the content. What if your process could become streamlined and efficient, so that you could focus on what goes into the proposal?

This is exactly what XaitPorter can do for you. From start to finish, you’ll know exactly what’s going on. And you’ll be able to deliver a winning proposal.

Streamline your bid and proposal process

XaitPorter streamlines your entire bid and proposal process. Everyone can access and work on the same document, at the same time. The built-in workflow lets you assign writers, reviewers, and approvers; all with individual deadlines. And because formatting, layout and numbering is automatically taken care of, you have more time to focus on getting your content right.

How can XaitPorter help?

With its automated workflow, this software lets you manage the process and create your proposal at the same time. You start by creating your outline and assigning tasks, and participants can then begin writing on their section from anywhere, at any time. Everyone will be aware of their tasks and deadlines, and everyone will know exactly what has been completed at any given time. The result? Complete control, efficiency, and improved content.

time saving using XaitPorter vs normal word processor

 

 

Survival of the fittest

XaitPorter is a solution that helps you create winning bids and proposalsSign up for your free demo!

 


The backbone of document solutions

The backbone of document solutions

Many businesses today struggle with documentation and reporting for their solutions as it is not necessarily the “core” part of their technology stack. Document automation and document assembly is often a key part of this process. The questions may then be time to market, followed by concerns in regards Total Cost of Ownership, risk reduction and a build or buy scenario. Time to market may be critical and a build decision can be expensive and time consuming, not only to build, but also develop and maintain. The easy choice is then to choose a combination of SharePoint and Word. And, this is great for many – but not all.

To improve a document or information centric process, one should have the ability to edit and create content by either adding new content, reviewing and approving the content, or reusing content by both copying and linking to master content, which ensures integrity across all of your documents. In addition, features such as document automation, document assembly and high quality publishing in a secure environment not reliant on files can be key for your decision on what type of solution to elect. Policy-based contract creation and workflow approval system designed to dynamically build both standard and custom configured contracts based upon pre-defined business rules with the ability to change key values, while the documents and reports are instantly updated is a challenge with a file based solution.

The shortcomings of a file-driven document

With a database driven document solution one can produce print quality documents, and programmatically ensure the variables are taken care of in all your live documents. The shortcomings of a file-driven document solution increases the complexity of managing your documents efficiently. Nor does a file-driven document solution effectively provide the foundation for compound content management and is more or less impossible to use for master content management. A file-driven solution also makes it difficult to optimize the use of the key information that derives from your solution.

With a Word document as back-end, you need to break content into several sections and thereby several files. Another agonizing challenge with files is versioning and formatting issues – and change management. This is easy with a database driven document management OEM / aPaaS solution. A database driven solution allows you to produce documents more efficiently and with higher quality. And, all of this can be done programmatically to enable document automation and document assembly with pre-approved sections that are tailored for the end user. Yes, database driven document solutions can be 100% template driven as with a document management solution such as SharePoint, but is also offers significantly added value to documents with variables, change management requirements, graphic requirements and more.

The backbone of document solutions

For more information on how we can improve your efficiency with XaitPorter!Get in touch


XaitPorter as an aPaaS, helping your business be more efficient

Automatic for the people

Efficiency and automation are two concepts that go hand in hand in Xait. In a bid to be more efficient, you should drive your business towards automation. By using XaitPorter as an aPaaS, you will help your business be more efficient, hit your targets and get those bids in on time. According to Gartner, aPaaS is defined as an Application platform as a service; a cloud service offering development and deployment environments for application services. For you, this means no local installations, short time to deployment and benefits and security of having everything in the cloud. You can think of it as the foundation on which your applications run. We can’t put a man on the moon for you (yet), but we can make your everyday work less time-consuming. All you need to do is find the river and make your everyday process flow! So what are the benefits of using XaitPorter as an aPaaS solution?Drive

Speed of Deployment

One absolutely key feature of an implemented aPaaS is the ability to quickly deploy applications on top of the platform. Realistically, this is THE key feature for an aPaaS as the whole point of the platform is to give you a foundation for building and launching applications quickly and easily.

Continuity of Systems

A second key benefit of an aPaaS is the ability to run, develop and launch applications all from the same platform. This allows for better visibility into the applications and makes control and upkeep of the applications much easier than using disparate systems. How many times have you experienced the pain of pulling like data for different sources because they are using and running on completely different systems?

Purpose-built Scalability

An aPaaS is purpose-built to encourage scaling. This scaling could happen overnight or take 5 years. The XaitPorter platform will be ready at all times without the need to re-configure the database, which will not only save your business money but massive amounts of time and manpower.

Automatic for the people

For more information on how we can improve your efficiency with XaitPorter!Get in touch


be more successful by staying focused on efficiency over cost

Be a jet; get to your purchase order at lightning speed!

Better efficiency is often neglected, even though it will lead to more profitability, expansion and goal congruence in the long run. In a bid to cut costs, reducing your spending might actually compromise your income, which will be a gift to your competitors who will hereby gain an advantage in the market. If you are more focused on efficiency over cost, Xait’s approach is, that you will be more successful and much more focused on the tasks at hand. This is why you need to take a look at our list below on how you can increase your efficiency by using XaitPorter:

10 ways to increase your efficiency

1. Delegate tasks

Our intuitive software, XaitPorter, easily delegate tasks to the right people to reach your goals more quickly and finish your tasks on time. Select writers, reviewers, and approvers. Set individual deadlines. The result is clearly defined responsibilities, and a streamlined process.

2. Real time project updates

When you work in a word processor, you risk overwriting and duplicating work. In XaitPorter, your document is split into sections. When you work on a section, it is locked for other users to edit. However, others will still be able to see the latest version of the document and its sections as everything is updated in real-time.

3. Project manage at a glance

Your XaitPorter dashboard keeps control of all your tasks, your items left to do and your deadlines.

4. Focus on the task at hand

In XaitPorter, you work with set document templates. You don’t need to spend any time on numbering, formatting or layout, as it is all taken care of. And your documents will always follow your corporate branding guidelines. Because you always have access to the latest version, you can track the development of the document from day one. In addition, XaitPorter gives you a complete audit trail.

5. Collaborate from anywhere

XaitPorter is a cloud solution, you can see and work on the latest version of your documents from anywhere. You can easily invite partners, sub-contractors, and consultants to work with you; making your efforts truly collaborative.

6. Easy navigation

If you have ever tried to navigate a document of 1000 pages, you know that it’s a tedious task. In XaitPorter, you navigate through your document using the automatically generated table of contents. Your document consists of several sections and subsections, and you can easily move from one to another.

7. Reuse information

Because XaitPorter is built on a database, you can easily copy and reuse content, outlines and workflows.

8. No more post-its

In XaitPorter, all your comments are stored in one place. You add and respond to comments directly in your workspace.

9. Safe as houses

Since everything is stored in the cloud, you will never run the risk of losing your precious documents.

10. No more waiting 

Support is always at hand, only a few dials away if you get stuck…


XaitPorter Payoffs of SAAS

Got my mind on my money, and my money on my mind

Wouldn’t you rather spend your time and money doing what you love? Like take your new car for a spin… Now is the time to start thinking about what is most important to you!

It’s a new year with all the possibilities it entails. You are probably focused on saving money as new budgets are fresh off the block. Think about the many ways you can save money, without cutting your initial costs! We know, this sounds too good to be true, but with our focus on helping you work smarter and more efficiently with XaitPorter, this can soon be a reality. Take a look at our excellent list of benefits for using XaitPorter below, and decide if you can afford not to call us…

Payoffs of SaaS

Software as a service (or SaaS) is a way of delivering applications over the Internet, as a service, instead of installing and maintaining software. You simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management.

SaaS applications are sometimes called Web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software. Whatever the name, SaaS applications run on a SaaS provider’s servers. The provider manages access to the application, including security, availability, and performance.

New Year New Possibilities Payoffs of SaaS

Access from anywhere
XaitPorter is a cloud solution, you can see and work on the latest version of your documents from anywhere. You can easily invite partners, sub-contractors, and consultants to work with you; making your efforts truly collaborative.

No need to worry about formatting
In XaitPorter, you work with set document templates. You don’t need to spend any time on numbering, formatting or layout, as it is all taken care of. And your documents will always follow your corporate branding guidelines.

Complete transparency
Because you always have access to the latest version, you can track the development of the document from day one. In addition, XaitPorter gives you a complete audit trail.

Streamline the process
Select writers, reviewers, and approvers. Set individual deadlines. The result is clearly defined responsibilities, and a streamlined process.

Navigate your document quickly
If you have ever tried to navigate a document of 1000 pages, you know that it’s a tedious task. In XaitPorter, you navigate through your document using the automatically generated table of contents. Your document consists of several sections and subsections, and you can easily move from one to another.

No overwriting or duplicating work
When you work in a word processor, you risk overwriting and duplicating work. In XaitPorter, your document is split into sections. When you work on a section, it is locked for other users to edit. However, others will still be able to see the latest version of the document and its sections as everything is updated in real-time.

Easily reuse information
Because XaitPorter is built on a database, you can easily copy and reuse content, outlines and workflows.

No more post-its
In XaitPorter, all your comments are stored in one place. You add and respond to comments directly in your workspace.


Supercharge your Contract Automation

Supercharge your Contract Automation

Working with contracts or are you managing a procurement document process with many stakeholders? Need to focus on the strategically important contracts, but get bombarded with requests left, right and centre for various contracts? Then you should really look into your process and see whether you can find a solution that can both assist you with your strategic contracts, while automating your standard contracts.


Complex Documents made simple by XaitPorter

Complex Documents Made Simple by XaitPorter

Effective Tenders, the Key to Success

XaitPorter is an innovative collaborative document creation and management tool specifically designed to handle large and complex documents and tenders. Our product enables contributors, authors, reviewers and approvers to simultaneously work together on the same document, increasing productivity through efficiency, quality, and security improvements.


Real-time Collaboration with XaitPorter

Real-time Collaboration

XaitPorter, Simplifying Complexity

Imagine creating a tender for a customer where you can easily and simultaneously assign roles and responsibilities to individual members of your team. Individual responsibilities can range from technical and operations through to resourcing and financial with XaitPorter, enabling concurrent delegation within departments. Collaboration can even function outside your company allowing clients and external specialists to participate.


How to Submit International Proposals

How to Submit International Proposals

As global industry expands, the barriers to entry in foreign markets decrease. Many of you may find yourself submitting more and more international proposals. These proposals could represent huge wins and influence the future direction of your company, but should they look and say the same things as proposals submitted in your home country? The answer is maybe, here are few things to keep in mind when submitting international proposals.


Managing your Proposal Team

Managing your Proposal Team

Managing your proposal team is more than just setting deadlines and assigning tasks. While those are vital functions to a winning proposal other items such as establishing roles and responsibilities, team selection, and assigning both content and process responsibilities are critical factors in your overall success.


Controlling your Page and Document Design

Controlling your Page and Document Design

In our post last year, “Your Documents Live or Die by Your Brand” we discussed just how important branding is your business documents. Lets look back at a few key stats from that post:

63% of consumers say they have engaged with disappointing brand content.

While that stat may not be shocking to you, the next one should be.


Choosing the Voice of your Proposal

Choosing the Voice of your Proposal

Choosing the correct voice in your proposal is important and deeply affects the reviewers confidence in your ability to deliver on your word. There are two main voices you may choose for your proposal, active and passive, and you may not even realize you have chosen the later until it is too late. A voice is different from the tone of your proposal which we have covered before but may be a good time to brush up on.


How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

You may remember our post, “How to Write an Effective Executive Summary” which should take precedence and will have a much greater effect on the reviewers of the proposal but the cover letter is still a valuable part of the proposal and will lead to unwanted questions of dedication if left out.


The Cornerstones of Winning Bids and Proposals

The Cornerstones of Winning Bids and Proposals – Make it Collaborative

In our first article of this series we discussed the importance of making your bid or proposal more personalized to make it effective. So having created something that is truly unique and client focused we now need to look at how else we can ensure a winning submission.

Cornerstone number 2 – Make it collaborative

It’s amazing how many people we come across who try to avoid going back to documents they’ve sent out, for fear of spotting the errors and issues that made it into the final submission. They bury their heads in the sand, accepting that these lapses are unfortunate but part of the life of someone who creates sales documents. This is a very understandable reaction, but the reality is that rather than avoiding this pain, they should be looking to their process and tools to find ways to ensure higher quality, fewer errors and more confidence in their output.


How to Prepare for a Kick-Off Meeting

How to Prepare for a Kick-Off Meeting

Welcome to Proposal May-hem, our annual tradition of posting anything and everything proposal related in the month of May to coincide with our attendance of the annual APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals)  Bid and Proposal Conference. Lets kick this thing off and coincidentally our first topic will be “How to Prepare for a Kick-Off Meeting”

So an RFP has dropped into your world and you know your team is going to respond and planning must begin as soon as possible. Many people’s first thought is great, lets have a kick -off meeting and get the ball rolling but is that the right thing to do? Put simply, No. A kick off meeting is far too often a disorganized hodgepodge of ideas, differing opinions and unclear objectives which many times then requires a second “kick-off” meeting to actually get down to business. In the proposal world that is a waste of time that just won’t be tolerated. Lets now discuss a few key tasks that must be accomplished BEFORE the kick-off meeting.


Xait is now a Proud Member of AIIM

Xait is now a Proud Member of AIIM

As we attend the AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) Conference 2016 this week in New Orleans we are happy to announce our membership of AIIM. Xait is an innovative software company behind the software XaitPorter, which challenges the outdated methods of file based document collaboration. With some of the largest companies in the world using XaitPorter on a wide range of document types, Xait has been positioned as the leader in database driven document collaboration, co-authoring, and information management and delivery.


The Cornerstones of Winning Bids and Proposals

The Cornerstones of Winning Bids and Proposals

Number 1 – Make it personal.

“The quality of a proposal is indicative of a company’s desire for my business”

These were the words of a CEO when questioned about the importance of a proposal within the sales process, and perfectly sum up just how vital these documents are to a winning campaign.

So the question is; how often does a proposal or bid document leave your building that you can hand on heart say truly reflects just how determined you are to win the deal?


Xait’s Kris Saether to Lead Round Table Talk at AIIM 2016

Xait’s Chief Commercial Officer Kris Saether has been invited to lead a round table discussion at the upcoming AIIM 2016 conference. Kris’ round table discussion titled, “Are files going the way of the Dodo?”  will focus on the idea of database solutions replacing a typical file based solution. A brief synopsis is below.


Linked Sections - A Simple Solution for Reusable Content

Linked Sections – A Simple Solution for Reusable Content

Lets start out with a definition of a linked section as we realize this may be a term you are not familiar with. Simply put, a linked section is any piece of content you would like to re-use and keep updated. Pretty straightforward but it is a constant source of frustration and mistakes when creating a document.


Extend your ECM to the Cloud

Extend your ECM to the cloud

Many organizations today have invested heavily in an enterprise content management (ECM) solution that resides on-premise. For many organizations this works well, however there are many pitfalls and a pure on-premise solution reduces the ability to collaborate and co-author documents with partners and consultants.


The Evolution of Document Creation & Collaboration

The Evolution of Document Creation and Collaboration

As we prepare to attend South by Southwest (SXSW) we begin to think about the evolution of document collaboration. How did XaitPorter come to be at the forefront of database driven document collaboration? Lets take a look back in time…


Investing in a down market - Xait

Investing in a Down Market?

Investing in a down market is always a tricky option but it just may be the best time to invest. We touched on this a bit last year with our posts, “Magic Pill for Oil & Gas?” and “Oil Crisis 2015?” but as we roll full steam into 2016 many of these factors are even more relevant now as we are in the midst of the worse oil downturn since the 90s. If you would like a bit more insight surrounding the drop take a look at the New York Times article “Oil Prices: What’s Behind the Drop? Simple Economics


3 Benefits of an aPaaS

3 Benefits of an aPaaS

So now that we know XaitPorter is an almost perfect document-centric aPaaS solution as Kris Saether highlighted in his post last week, “XaitPorter more than just a SaaS solution” Lets discuss what exactly an aPaaS is all about and why it is so beneficial for your document creation needs. Gartner defines an aPaaS as, “Application platform as a service (aPaaS) is a cloud service that offers development and deployment environments for application services.” You can think of it as the foundation on which your applications run. Salesforce.com is probably the best example of this, with Microsoft not far behind as highlighted in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant of aPaaS solutions. So what are the benefits of using an aPaaS solution?


Get Your Document Process on the Right Track

Get Your Document Process on the Right Track

As we get ready to attend the British Legal Technology Forum we asked ourselves, how can we communicate the traditional troubles law firms and those that work with law firms encounter on a day to day basis when working with their teams on document collaboration and creation. We could write a long boring essay on the subject, which we still might do or we can use a good old metaphor and a metaphor that everyone who has used the London Underground, or any public transportation for that matter, will understand.


XaitPorter more than just a SaaS solution

XaitPorter more than just a SaaS solution

Xait has with XaitPorter provided more than 50,000 users a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for many years. We are pleased that XaitPorter is very successful in the market and solves the challenges our clients have with many document centric processes. Which is anything from producing an annual report to governing documents to proposals and more – basically producing almost any type of document. In our journey we have been recognized by the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company Gartner as a cool vendor for our focus on team productivity and manageability rather than individual creativity, which is where most document authoring tools concentrate their efforts.


ROI of SharePoint

ROI of SharePoint?

As many as 80% of Fortune 500 businesses are using SharePoint today according to some estimates and that number may be going up.  We all know Microsoft and its products have a pretty tight grip on the business world with Word, Excel and PowerPoint leading the way, so it only made sense their collaboration platform is doing the same. Let’s give in to the fact that you are probably using SharePoint or at least thought about using SharePoint. It has things its does well and things it does not so well but how do you ensure you will get your full ROI from using it? Fortunately or unfortunately SharePoint is still a new enough tool that proving ROI is usually a necessary step. For instance I doubt any business is working on proving the ROI of using Word or Excel, they are just a given part of the modern business world. Lets talk about a couple ways to help prove ROI.


12 Days of Xmas Summary

12 Days of Xmas Summary

We hope everyone had happy holiday and great new year. In case you missed any of the 12 Days of Xmas blog posts series we wanted to give you a chance to see all the posts in one convenient location.


The Twelfth Day: 12 Writers Writing

“On the twelfth day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 12 writers writing, 11 sections editing, 10 document types, 9 linked sections, 8 assigned tasks, 7 comments, 6 reviewers reviewing, 5 approvers approving, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” We have finally reached the 12 drummers drumming on the 12th day of Xmas. Lets keep the streak alive and go for our 12 writers writing. As we have already talked about, our writers are first in line ahead of the reviewers and approvers. Within a project in XaitPorter you already know you can create sections and sub-sections and each those sections and subsections can be assigned its own writer. This allows for the subject matter experts (SMEs) to only focus on writing the content they need too which saves time and allows for better collaboration as all the writers can simultaneously write their individual sections at the same time. We hope you have enjoyed the 12 days of Xmas and have a happy and healthy holiday and new year.


The Eleventh Day: 11 Sections Editing

The Eleventh Day: 11 Sections Editing

“On the eleventh day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 11 sections editing, 10 document types, 9 linked sections, 8 assigned tasks, 7 comments, 6 reviewers reviewing, 5 approvers approving, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” Who doesn’t love a good piper piping? No one, that’s who, but we will say 11 sections editing is pretty great too. Within a project in XaitPorter, see day 1, you have the ability to create sections within your project or document. Each section can have its own writer, reviewer and approver which allows your team to work in a parallel process instead of a serial process thus saving a vast amount of time and in turn, money when creating your documents. Having the ability to work in parallel is an absolute necessity when creating complex documents with multiple writers.


The Tenth Day: 10 Document Types

The Tenth Day: 10 Document Types

“On the tenth day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 10 document types, 9 linked sections, 8 assigned tasks, 7 comments, 6 reviewers reviewing, 5 approvers approving, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” Once again we have an easy decision here, lets go ahead and cancel the 10 lords a leaping and go with the 10 document types and we will let you in on a little secret, there are way more than 10 document types. With XaitPorter, you can create just about any type document you want and while we won’t list all of them here are a select few that many of our customers are creating within XaitPorter:

  • Sales Proposals
  • Geographical Studies
  • Financial reports
  • Marketing Reports
  • Trials Research
  • Regulatory Documentation
  • Manuals
  • IPOs Offerings
  • Ship Design Specifications
  • Sales Scopes
  • Licensing Applications
  • Quarterly Reports
  • Product Brochures
  • Clinical Research Papers
  • ISO Documentation
  • Ship Stability Books
  • FEED Agreements and ITTs
  • Yearly Reports
  • Fact Sheets
  • Research Grants Applications
  • Contracts
  • Sales Reports
  • Response to Tender
  • Stakeholder Reports
  • White Papers
  • Proposals

The Ninth Day: 9 Linked Sections

The Ninth Day: 9 Linked Sections

“On the ninth day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 9 linked sections, 8 assigned tasks, 7 comments, 6 reviewers reviewing, 5 approvers approving, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter”  9 ladies dancing honestly doesn’t sound too bad and like the gold rings, we won’t entirely blame you if you choose them over our 9 linked sections. So what are linked sections and what are they good for?  Linked sections are pieces of content that are constantly re-used and remain the same. So for instance, a terms of service section, instead of copying and pasting from your most recent document you “link” your master terms of service section to your new document and it appears automatically. Not only does this section automatically populate when you link it, you can also assign a content expiry date to the linked section so each time the section expires, for instance set a 4 week expiry date, the writer will be notified to go into the section and approve it for use or make any necessary changes. This ensure the linked section is always available and ready to use.


The Eighth Day: 8 Assigned Tasks

The Eighth Day: 8 Assigned Tasks

“On the eighth day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 8 assigned tasks, 7 comments, 6 reviewers reviewing, 5 approvers approving, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” 8 maids a milking must be from a bygone era because we are not really sure what we should expect with this gift but we think we will stick to 8 assigned tasks. We have talked a bit already about approvers and reviewers so you know we have the ability to assign tasks to those individuals. Did you know you can also track the progress of those assigned tasks right from the dashboard? You can easily view your tasks, tasks you have assigned to others as well as looking at the completion percentage of those tasks within a project. These gives a complete overview of the project and lets you see at a glance how your project is progressing. Having the ability to assign and track tasks in an absolute key feature of a document creation solution and one that our customers can’t live without.


Comments in document creation

The Seventh Day: 7 Comments

“On the seventh day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 7 comments, 6 reviewers reviewing, 5 approvers approving, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” NO MORE BIRDS! As beautiful as 7 swans a swimming would be, we don’t want them. 7 comments in much more in line with our document creation philosophy. So how do we use comments and what are the benefits? First, comments let workers effectively communicated within a document or project. A reviewer or approver, as previously mentioned, can add a comment when something needs to be changed or just get clarification on a question they have. You also have the ability to make those comments either public or private and assign who should be notified of the comment. The comment can also be assigned to certain individuals so they entire team does not need to be notified. You can also send an email notification once you create your comment so those involved don’t have to sign into XaitPorter to see a new comment has been added. You can also create a comment within the text itself so the other party knows exactly what you are referring to while reading the comment. So comments are simple in theory but really invaluable when used in XaitPorter.


Reviewers Reviewing

The Sixth Day: 6 Reviewers Reviewing

“On the sixth day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 6 reviewers reviewing, 5 approvers approving, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” Our viewpoint on receiving birds as gifts is fairly extablished at this point so no, we don’t want the 6 geese a laying, we will gladly take the 6 reviewers reviewing though. As we discussed yesterday, reviewers are the second in line behind writers and before approvers and have a fairly straight forward task of reviewing the work of the writers. That review can include anything from grammar to content to fact checking. The reviewer then has the ability to add inline comments to the section to ask the writer to change the wording, ask for clarification, add delete sentences or any number of editorial comments. Any professional writing or document tool should have the ability to review and assign tasks for individuals to review work that bas been done and XaitPorter is no different.


The Fifth Day: 5 Approvers Approving

“On the fifth day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 5 approvers approving, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” This might be the first day where we wouldn’t blame you for taking the traditional route of 5 gold rings, it is gold after all. But for consistency sake, lets talk about our 5 approvers approving. Within XaitPorter you have the ability to set up writers, reviewers and approvers, we will get to the first two a little later so lets stick with approvers for now. When creating a project or document in XaitPorter you will set up sections and sub-sections within that document which are typically divided by the content type within the document. Each section and sub-section you have the ability to assign an approver of that section. The approver is actually the third in line behind the writers and reviewers, makes sense.

Once the writer and reviewer have both completed their assignments the approver has the final say and determines if that section is completed and ready to exported thus completing the section. The approver may also add comments to the section and wait for clarification from the writer or reviewer. The approver can also reject the section and post why the section was rejected and thus start the cycle over again. For example you may have a section with financial information written by your finance manager, reviewed by your branch manager and approved by your CFO. Hopefully we have convinced you to take the 5 approvers approving but we won’t blame you if you take the 5 gold rings either.


Embedded Images

The Fourth Day: 4 Embedded Images

“On the fourth day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 4 embedded images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” 4 calling birds, 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves and partridge in a pear tree? Whoever was supposed to be receiving these gifts better be a true bird lover and member of the Audubon Society. Here at Xait, we will take our 4 embedded images. So how can we possibly get excited about using embedded images in a document? As you know, most document creation systems allow for embedded images but in XaitPorter there are a few features that stand out that our users really seem to love. An embedded image will automatically re-scale to fit within your template and once an image is added it will automatically be added to the images/figures reference section where it will be properly labeled.

You also have the ability to to re-use images across documents as once the image is loaded into XaitPorter you can use it across the system, although you have the ability to restrict access to images based on role. For example if you upload a financial chart that should not be available for general use, you will have the ability to lock that chart down and make sure only the appropriate personnel will have access to use it.  Another key feature is version control, this prevents users from using outdated figures and images such as old logos or accidentally embedding an out of date chart. As you can see, there is much more than just dropping an image, or 4, into a document.


The Third Day: 3 Key Texts

The Third Day: 3 Key Texts

“On the third day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter” We can take the traditional route of 3 french hens or as you might have started to guess, we don’t want anymore birds! I’d rather have 3 key texts. You might now be wondering what exactly is key text and maybe you might want those 3 french hens instead. Key text, in relation to document creation, refers to text that is used to highlight important information in a document. The key text will typically be larger and in the left or right margin separate from the body text. It serves as a visual representation to focus the readers attention on a piece of information that might typically get lost within a large body paragraph.

So why is this an important feature in document creation? We have found the use of key text to be such an important feature that we have built the functionality to add key texts right into XaitPorter. In an average document creation system, adding key text can be an absolute nightmare. First you need to seperate your document into 2 columns, then try to add the key text in the appropriate location without moving any existing text and that’s not mentioning if you are using images which all have to be re-sized and scaled to fit into the new adjusted column space. Long story short, we have heard and seen first hand just how difficult that process can be.


Dashboard Reports

The 2nd Day: 2 Dashboard Reports

“On the second day of Xmas my true love gave to me, 2 dashboard reports and project in XaitPorter”  We didn’t want the first bird so why would we want two more birds? How about 2 dashboard reports instead? Here is a little secret too, you can have many more than 2 dashboard reports as well. Lets talk about a little about what the dashboard is. It will typically be the first screen you see when you log into XaitPorter, unless you are logging directly into a specific project, remember the first day. Like we mentioned yesterday, you can think of the Dashboard as the command center for your overall administrative and reporting tasks. You also have the ability to select which reports you would like to see in your dashboard as well as deciding where those reports should display by simply dragging and dropping them into your preferred position. You can also adjust the size of the reports by simply dragging them to different columns. For example, if you have 3 reports in one column, each will be 1/3 height but if you have 1 report in a column by itself, the report will expand to make use of the full column height. This customization allows you to optimize your work space and tailor XaitPorter to your needs.


12 Days of Xmas Summary

The 12 Days of Xmas

“On the first day of Xmas my true love gave to me, a project in XaitPorter”  The 12 days of Xmas are upon us and for the next 12 days we will be posting a blog a day in which the traditional 12 days of Christmas gifts will be replaced with a more Xait themed topic.  So stay tuned and learn about our 12 days of Xmas.

The First Day: A Project in XaitPorter

Who wants a partridge in a pear tree anyways? ​So what is a project in XaitPorter? Well a project can be many things but first and foremost, a project is the foundation of XaitPorter. This is where you will create your documents, control access rights and will be the place were you “live” in XaitPorter. A project can be a collection of documents such as proposals, financial reports or even ship design documents or you can also use a project to create a single document with many sections and subsections, each with their own writer, reviewer and approver. The project is the command center for your creative endeavors while the Dashboard (hint hint, stay tuned for more dashboard talk tomorrow) is the command center for your administrative and reporting functions.  Happy holidays and we hope you enjoyed your first day.

Check back tomorrow and everyday until Christmas for a new 12 Days of Xmas blog post.


Using Color in your Documents

Using Color in your Documents

Just how colorful should your professional business documents or proposals be? How much color is too much color? Are you using color to effectively highlight key points are are you splashing color everywhere in hopes of making a poorly worded document seem more interesting or valuable? In the world of business documents color should be used as an emphasis tool and not as a flashy glittery show piece. Each color and section you use color in should have a specific goal and if using that splash of color is not helping reiterate that goal you should think twice about using it.


Make it easier for the information worker

Make it easier for the information worker

In a survey published by IDC in 2012, it states information workers waste a significant amount of time each week dealing with the variety of challenges related to working with documents. This wasted time costs the organization more than $19,000 a year per information worker.


Content Library

The Value of a Content Library

Is there a way to efficiently re-use content? That is a question we have heard over and over again throughout the years and the answer is yes, in XaitPorter its called a content library. Many times business documents tend to say the same thing or have the same sections that go in each documents much like an about us section, product descriptions, SLAs, or terms of service. Is copying and pasting really the best way to solve this issue? Lets take a look at 3 key benefits of using a content library.


Less Jargon, More Understanding

I’m sure most of us have seen a proposal, email or any number of business documents that are so filled with jargon that they have either lost their core purpose or are so convoluted that they become completely useless. Jargon is defined by dictionary.com as:

“Language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning”


Selling to an Informed Buyer

Selling to an Informed Buyer

“Mad Men” Sales Process

I was thinking of starting this blog off by saying something prophetic like “the sales landscape is changing” but in all actuality, the sales landscape has already changed and is constantly changing. In the old days, the salesman was in an education role where he would tell his prospective buyer all about how great his product was and how badly the buyer needed it. He would educate the buyer not only on what the product was but just how useful and essential the product is to the buyer’s life. Customizing the buying experience was not an essential part of the sales process either, most times the buyer was the one who had to customize themselves to the product. If any of you have watched “Mad Men” you probably have some idea of what I’m talking about.


Using the Correct Style & Tone in your Proposals

Using the Correct Style & Tone in your Proposals

How can you alter the style and tone of your documents to ensure you are aligned with your objective? Before we get too deep, lets first talk about the difference between style and tone. Style, according to Wheaton College, can be defined as “the way in which something is written, as opposed to the meaning of what is written.” This would include the type of document you are writing, the typeface, the font size, the use of graphics, the spacing of the margins, etc etc etc. Tone on the other hand refers to the attitude of what is being written or the impression you are trying to convey to your audience.


Oil Crisis 2015?

Understanding the difference between a crisis and opportunity is all in the eye of the beholder. So how does one person see a crisis and the other person sees an opportunity? Well the person who sees crisis is only looking at what is directly in front of them while the person who sees the opportunity can not only see what is in front of them but they can see what is behind them and what is in the future. They also have the belief that every problem or challenge has a solution.


Magic Pill for Oil & Gas

Magic Pill for Oil & Gas?

Turbulent times in the oil and gas industry has forced many companies to take drastic measures to counter act the low price of oil. These companies are doing most anything in their power to cut expenses. They may limit working hours, limit IT spend, even cut back employment but in times like these, the need for increased efficiency is even more crucial. We wish we could tell you we have a magic pill that can solve every problem your company or industry will face now and in the future.  Unfortunately, as we all know, there is no “magic pill” but there is XaitPorter. We say that tongue in cheek but the idea holds true, you need to do more with less.


Getting virtual document collaboration right

Getting virtual document collaboration right

Virtual teams is the norm for many companies, and increasingly these teams are working with a global perspective. There are many challenges with virtual teams, but the benefits can outweigh the negatives. And in many cases it is not truly possible only working locally, particularly when taking on complex projects across the world.

Managing the virtual document workforce is key


Redefining Document Production Process

Redefining Document Production Process

What is and should be the an important question for all document centric industries? Improving the document production process.

Information workers waste 21.3% of an organization’s total productivity

A white paper published by IDC in 2012, estimates that information workers waste 21.3% of an organization’s total productivity. In monetary terms, this equals a whopping $19,732 / year per knowledge worker. This is a massive loss to any organization, which is often known, but not acted upon. Information workers need solutions that enables them to improve the document production process.


Effectively Producing Marketing Documents

Effectively Producing Marketing Documents

Marketing documents have always been an integral part of a company’s persona. Before the webpage became the “face” of a company, the branding, messaging and look and feel of a company’s marketing materials was the world’s introduction to a company. You could easily tell the quality of a company based on the material they put into the market. If you no longer think this is the case take a look at our most recent blog post “Your Documents Live or Die by Your Brand” in which 50% of prospects say they are unlikely to further interact with a company who uses poorly branded materials. So how does a company keep up with creating quality branded documents while still trying to create content in a consistent matter?


Your Documents Live or Die by Your Brand

Your Documents Live or Die by Your Brand

We have all heard the sayings, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” or “Look good, feel good.” Now obviously these are catered to the individual but shouldn’t they apply to your business documents as well? Every piece of content or document you produce should have a branded and professional appearance.


Using Information to Engage

Using Information to Engage

You have all seen the proposal/presentation/report that is so stuffed with information that you don’t know where to look and just gloss over it because it is not presented in a way to engage the reader or grab their attention.

Information should be valuable to them, not you


Complex documents wrong strategy vs right strategy

Complex Documents – Easy Solution

Keeping on top of the workflow when multiple contributors work on the same document 

What are the common characteristics of documents such as proposals, procedures, manuals, and financial reports? Most obvious, they are large documents that can span several hundred pages, making them complex to both produce and maintain. More importantly, they are business critical documents that are published externally or shared internally, making quality of content an essential feature.


How to Automate Your Business Processes

How to Automate Your Business Processes

Before we dive too deep lets talk about some of the benefits of automating your processes. If we boil down everything, you want to automate processes to increase your revenue/profits and cut expenses. This could be an increase sales, in knowledge, in leads, in conversion rates etc. Directly relating to increasing any number of the aforementioned metrics is decreasing the time it takes to complete those tasks. Simply put, the less time you spend accomplishing a given task, the more valuable that task becomes.


How do You Extract Insight from Information?

We can all admit that most of us are drowning in data and we have long moved passed the days of “data” being the end game. Today, we all have the “data” we could ever need and our endgame is now learning how to extract the information we want from that data. So how do you use the information you have to make meaningful and important business decisions?

Understand Your Data Sources


How do You Ensure Data Quality

How do You Ensure Data Quality?

Data quality is becoming a prime concern for companies of all sizes, not just the big boys who have traditionally always dealt with these issues. In today’s business environment everything a company does is tracked and measured, the sheer quantity of information available can quickly become overwhelming and at worst, forgotten about or even lost.

Our Data is Safe and Secure… Right?


Difference between Collaboration and Co-Authoring

What is the Difference between Collaboration and Co-Authoring?

The difference between collaboration and co-authoring may seem trivial to some but those who have ever tried to produce a large document with a team will know just how important the distinction is between the two and why you need both to work effectively. Before we get into “defining” what they mean to us, lets talk about the plain vanilla definitions.

Collaboration is defined as, “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something”

Co-authoring is defined as, “be a joint author of (a book, paper, or report)”


Proposal Tool

How to Choose a Proposal Tool

This blog is all about setting down what you should be looking at when you are ready to pick a proposal software.

Before we set down the list, let’s go back to the basics real quick.

What is it you plan to achieve by your proposal?

Before you roll your eyes at the question, take a moment and think about it. The aim of a good proposal is to persuade the client, convince them that you are the person they are looking for. Out of the heaps and heaps of proposals on their desk, the evaluators must see yours as the one proposal that they want to put their money on. And that is worth every penny you invest in this tool.

So do you Google “the best proposal tool” and click the first one that answers your query? Well, we know it is a lot more than that. So here are some features that you should look out for when choosing a proposal tool:


How to Effectively Use Graphics

How to Effectively Use Graphics

Dr. Lynell Burmark, an associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development said, “…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about 7 bits of information (plus or minus 2) … Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

In a very interesting article entitled The Power of Visual Communication by Mike Parkinson, he brings to light that “according to a 3M-sponsored study at the University of Minnesota School of Management it was found that presenters who use visual aids are 43% more effective in persuading audience members to take a desired course of action than presenters who don’t use visuals.” So if the aim of graphics is persuasion, a proposal should be the first place to use graphics.


Presenting Cost and Price Data

Presenting Cost and Price Data

Cost and Price – it all boils down to this doesn’t it? How you price your services is a key factor in winning proposals. But just deciding on a price isn’t enough; the client needs to be convinced that the cost and price that you offer is justified. This entails a lot more than typing out a figure at the back of your proposal or adding an appendix. As in all things, presentation is key.

Let us keep in mind that there are instances when you do not need to and in some cases aren’t permitted to reveal your cost and pricing data. Talking about Government contracts, you can check out this blog which details some of those exceptions.

We will look at 5 things to keep in mind when presenting cost and price data.


Managing a Virtual Proposal Team

Managing a Virtual Proposal Team

Virtual teams are on the rise and the world is embracing it wholeheartedly. The obvious benefits of this strategy is being recognized and given its due place in corporations around the world.

And just as a review though, let’s take a look at the difference between a virtual team and a traditional one from an Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation white paper:

tablevirtualteams

A virtual team has its own unique set of challenges and its own strategies to work through. More so because in the document creation world, virtualization is becoming a norm rather than an exception.


How to Write an Effective Executive Summary

How to Write an Effective Executive Summary

How to Write an Effective Executive Summary

Many people have a tendency to either neglect the importance of an effective executive summary OR just summarize what’s already in the rest of the proposal. Both of these strategies are sure to set your proposal down the wrong path right out of the gate. The executive summary should really focus on three key points:

  1. The customer’s hot button issues
  2. The customer’s vision
  3. Your solution to solve their issues and support their vision

Now that we understand what to write, we should take a look at how to write it. Remember, this proposal is about the customer, not you. The customer should always come first and any mention of yourself (your company) should always come second.


Clichés to Avoid in Proposals

“My fear now is of cliche, of complacency, of not being able to feel authenticity in myself and those around me.” – John Hawkes

At the cost of sounding clichéd (pun intended) here is an excerpt from a blog by Jayme Sokolow, the recipient of Fellows Award and a Vision Award from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals for his contributions to the proposal profession. We found this hilarious but completely true:

Best of breed
If you are not selling puppies, why claim that your solution is the “best of breed?” The phrase comes from the world of show dogs.


Organize Your Proposal

How to Organize Your Proposal

“You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.” (Elizabeth Bennett)”

― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“The mode of declaration.” Elizabeth had it right, didn’t she? The way a proposal is presented and the tools used to communicate your commitment to the project has a huge bearing on how your proposal is met by the client. Now that entails a lot more than sitting a couple of writers down, handing them the required info and asking them to type away. It needs planning, and organization, and a lot more business intelligence than might appear. So here’s a little help to get you going in the right direction and creating that proposal that cannot be refused.


When to Say Yes or No to an RFP

So an RFP (request for proposal) magically appears in your inbox. Our first reaction is usually “BINGO!”, we have a lead who has (some) budget and has most likely made the decision to purchase a product for their needs. As a company who prides its self on delivering a tool that makes the proposal writing and response process easier and more efficient, we will admit that we do have a bit of an edge over a traditional company who is not purposefully set up to respond to proposals. Although with that being said, there are times when we will read through a proposal and kindly reply with a politely worded “No thank you.” So what is the cut-off line between saying YES and dedicating time and resources, AKA money, and saying NO and moving onto the next?


Optimizing the Use of Information

Optimizing the Use of Information

Companies are seeing an explosion in the amount of information available in their organizations. And, in these organizations there is often a vast amount of documents, which requires a comprehensive overview and ability to manage efficiently. Teams must ensure regulatory compliance, adhere to budget, maintain schedules and mitigate risk. An A.T. Kearny 2009 IT Innovation and Effectiveness study says executives consider two factors – inconsistent data and IT complexity – as the biggest IT-related barriers to company growth.


Content is King – Long live live content

Managing and maintaining content in and across documents is a challenge that most organizations face. Organizations rely on manual processes and document management solutions to maintain content and ensure consistency across the enterprise. For many organizations content is the core delivery of their services, it illustrates and proves their value proposition.


Beyond Word

Going (and Growing) Beyond Word

“In the beginning was the Word …”

Seems like a long, long time ago, 1983 to be precise, when the new and exciting Word processing tool was introduced to the world. Trusty old typewriters were done away with, ink stained fingers were washed clean, and messy typewriter ribbons were rolled away into oblivion. WordPerfect and Microsoft’s Word revolutionized the concept of writing. The formatting and template features made Word one of the most popular piece of software in the business world.


The 80 Hour Work Week – Friend or Foe?

Did you know that America tops the charts for the 80-hour work week lifestyle? You wouldn’t think so, with all the talk about overtime vs. productivity and work-life balance, but the numbers prove it:

average hours worked annually

 

http://qz.com/134064/the-industrial-revolution-destroyed-the-link-between-hours-worked-and-wealth-so-why-are-we-still-working-so-much/

The Quartz editorial had an interesting article on the subject: “Whatever our religion or ideology, we are still trapped by the centuries-old Protestant ethic, which viewed long hours as a badge of moral seriousness. Most firms still value such “intensity”.


Document Management System vs. Document Collaboration System

Document Management System vs. Document Collaboration System

Document Management System or Document Collaboration System. Which one should you be using? What’s the difference, anyway? There’s quite a few differences between the two when it comes to how they can both help your business.  So, let’s take a closer look at both these systems and check out how they differ from one another and what factors need to be considered before you select one or possibly both systems.


How Much is Proposal Software Worth to You?

How Much is Proposal Software Worth to You?

What will it cost? The age old question that pops up when you think of investing in something new. Even if you know that that something new could have a major impact on business growth. As the graph below will show, one of the major barriers in business growth is strong competition. Today, businesses around the globe face stiff competition not only from the big fishes (well established competitors) but also from the small fry (upcoming SMEs).


Evolution of document collaboration

Why a Database Driven Document is Essential for Your Proposals

Getting close to deadline and still: Chasing content? Still missing content from key contributors in a different timezone? Challenges with formatting? Is this a familiar situation?

A common challenge when creating bids and proposals, or any time sensitive document for that matter, with multiple contributors often spread across various timezones. This is a problem that many organizations face in their day-to-day operations. A key reason is the challenges inherent with a file. Many companies have solutions whereas contributors needs to check-in and check-out content (a file) or they use email to distribute tasks and content. Why? Because when using a solution reliant on MS Word (file-driven), it is the only way to ensure that content and tasks can be distributed to team members. The Word document needs to be broken down into several sections and thereby several files. This again leads to your team working fragmented and creates challenges for the project managers to keep track of progress. Another agonizing challenge with files is versioning and formatting issues.


Time And Money

How Much Time and Money are You Spending on Document Creation?

In this blog, we will look at the steps involved in traditional document creation and how much time and money goes into it. This will give you tangible numbers to gauge if it’s time to switch to a more efficient system.

1)   Kick Off Meetings and Scheduling

A typical Documentation Process starts off with a preliminary Kick off Meeting – for assigning of roles, discussions with different departments and external Consultants on schedules, and approach and the basic vision of the Proposal. You’re looking at a time frame of about 5-6 days to get the teams together to draw up a detailed structure and plan and to get the teams to adjust their schedules to fit in the work on the proposal.


6 ways to Encourage Software Adoption

What is Software Adoption?

Simply put, Software Adoption means upgrading from an old system / software (or system that does not meet your needs) to a new system / software (system that DOES meet your needs). This transfer or conversion process most often happens when a company feels the need to move on to software that is more efficient, versatile and that suits the business better. There are several adoption strategies to implement the brand new system to fit in with the business.

A challenge?

Well, in a way, yes it is. Software Adoption in the wrong hands can mean a considerable amount of money and time investment. Moving to a new system involves much more than seamlessly transferring data from your old system to the new one. There’s upgrading the hardware, training end users to adapt to the new software, troubleshooting and so much more. Enough to make clients a bit queasy! But here are 6 ways in which Software Adoption can be encouraged.


Preventing Data Leaks While Co-Authoring A Document

Last week, we talked about the dangers of file sharing. This week, we are going to look at data leaks- and how you can prevent them.

Today’s global collaborative work environments, where dozens of employees and contractors could be working on a single deal or document, are full of potential unseen dangers. Data stored on corporate networks is now more accessible than ever, since employees need to communicate, share and collaborate.


Are You Still Sharing Business Data Via Files?

When your team is creating an important business or legal document that runs into several hundreds of pages, the work is distributed, with specific sections and roles assigned to different members of the team. Everyone works individually, and the project manager collates all the information into a single file. Collaboration on the file is via email, primarily.

Breaking It Down: File Sharing

One of the prominent characteristics of Web 2.0 is the ability to generate content and quickly share it to a larger audience.  Internet applications, such as email or file sharing apps can also be used as attack tools to cause security breaches.


Creating documents in XaitPorter

Serial vs. Parallel Process

You hit Google with ‘Serial vs. Parallel Process’ and you thousands of articles talking about the study of how our mind can run both in serial and in parallel. In the white paper Serial vs. Parallel Processing: Sometimes They Look like Tweedledum and Tweedledee but They Can (And Should) be Distinguished written by James T. Townsend, it says:

Serial processing means strictly sequential, without overlap of the successive processing times on objects or distinct subsystems. In a standard type of serial system, each object takes the same average amount of time to process and the next object begins processing only when the previous one is completed. On the other hand, parallel processing signifies simultaneous processing on several objects or subsystems at the same time, although processing may finish on different objects at different time.


It’s Not a Document, It’s a Process

Working on a large-scale document with multiple contributors has many challenges. First off, bringing team members spread across the globe (in different time zones!) under the same umbrella, then there’s the issue of communicating with one another, and finally the challenge of creating and collating the content.

Having a document collaboration tool certainly helps: it gives you a place to write and store your content, and people can work on writing together. But is just writing the content all you need for successful collaboration? It isn’t. Collaboration is more than just creating a document: it’s about transparency, balance, consensus, awareness and documentation. You should be able to work together efficiently and effectively – it’s the whole process that counts, and it’s the process that brings better results.


XaitPorter Powerful Layout Features

A high quality proposal won’t guarantee a win but a low quality proposal can guarantee a loss.

What is it that gets a proposal in the bag? Undoubtedly it boils down to relevancy and the numbers on your quote; but is that all? “If the dollar numbers are low enough and the proposal addresses the needs of the client, that’s all there is to a good proposal. Surely they won’t have the time to read through the sheaves and sheaves of paper work.”  Correct? Not quite…

Just to have an inkling of the sort of fine tooth comb that an organization uses to evaluate a proposal, here’s an overview of the proposal receipt and review process of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This portion highlights the roles of the major procurement stakeholders in the evaluation process:


Evolution of document collaboration

It Is Always The Last 5% That Takes The Longest

Bids and proposals are an essential part of doing business today. And in a competitive market, you need to get business documents in shape and ready for submission as fast as you can. But when collaborating on a document with the whole team, can you be sure of how much work is really finished? A document that seems to have all the elements in place (introduction, chapters, executive summary and sections,) may need a lot more work before it can be sent to the client. More often than not, the last 5% of the work, putting it all together, that takes the longest. Fact-checking, editing, and reformatting are just a few of the things that you may have left on your plate, when you think you are a few steps away from completion.


Chase Your Numbers Not Your Team Members

Annual and monthly reports are powerful tools in analyzing and forming businesses strategies. A clear and cohesive report can help managers compare goals achieved with those planned at the beginning of the month, quarter or year. But let’s face it, preparing these reports is no walk in the park. The biggest challenge lies in collating inputs from different individuals and teams to make an accurate integrated business report. In this post, we will be identifying a few challenges that come with producing an integrated business report.


Creating documents in XaitPorter

Prepare to File, Not Format

Documents help companies conduct business. They are at the core of every transaction, deal or merger; even communications and directives within an organization require documents. Many business documents are large, complex and have multiple authors working on it at a given point in time. Sharing files, updating versions, document formatting, tracking changes – the list is long.

Read on to see if these happens at your organization when collaborating on documents:


document collaboration process

When Knowing Who Said What Really Matters

A contract or any document that is finalized and signed is legally binding on the parties involved. But preparing a contract isn’t a one man job and it shouldn’t be. When you need inputs from multiple teams/co-authors, there is bound to be a lot of hands on the document. Entries, revisions, refinements, approvals, rejections, suggestions …are all inevitable. But why is it important to know who made what change? Isn’t it enough to have a terrific looking, signed and attested finalized copy without having to get into who said what? Let’s see.


Co-authoring legal documents – challenges and pitfalls

“There are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content” said Fred Rodell, the ‘bad boy of American legal academia’. But that was in the 1980s.

Legal Writing has come a long way since then. It has overcome many challenges in style and content, movements have been put in place for clearer ‘legalese’ and now the legal world has embraced some excellent technology to further enhance its document creation and management process. Document Co-Authoring is a definite need in creating legal documents, and legal firms have experienced and qualified personnel to take care of this critical process. But there are still some challenges and pitfalls when it comes to co-authoring legal documents.

Let’s have a look at some of them and learn the solution to each.


Perfect Document

3 tips to create that perfect proposal

Creating a proposal that has to be read, digested and acted upon is a challenge that every proposal manager faces. However, the real work behind creating that perfect proposal starts well before putting your pen to paper.

Think planning: Before you start writing, have the planning all laid out. Who is the owner of the proposal? Who will fill out the different sections? Will you need editors or proof-readers for each section? Do you require certain sections to be finalized before other sections? Will all the team members have access to all the information (sales figures, financial numbers)? What is the deadline?


Winning Business Proposal

3 Tips to Writing a Winning Business Proposal

Author Richard C. Freed offers an insightful observation in his book Writing Winning Business Proposals. He says of proposals:

Although a few are outstanding, most aren’t. Many offend with ‘cut-and-paste’ boilerplate, miss important opportunities to provide value, suffer from poor logic and organization, and focus more on you than on me and my organization. Although some do a few things well, some don’t do much well at all.”


Nostalgia has its place, just not in your business

Nostalgia has its place, just not in your business

Nothing is cooler than classic, vintage, antique and nostalgic these days. Whether it’s your classic car, vintage Levi jeans or an antique chandelier hanging in your dining room, it represents your knowledge of quality items and your appreciation for the well-built. Unless of course, that “antique” is being used to help run and manage processes within your business. There is a reason rotary phones and typewriters aren’t on your desk anymore, and it’s not because they simply don’t work, it’s because they have been left behind by superior technologies that increase efficiency and improve bottom lines.


Too many authors spoil the broth

Too many authors spoil the broth

Are too many authors spoiling your document creation?

Today’s globalized work environment means that employees could be part of the same team, but working in different countries and time zones. Collaborative working is the only way to get things done – from designing a webpage, producing a TV show or authoring a business document. Document co-authoring is an efficient and productive way to get a proposal or white paper published, using the collective wisdom of your team. But too many authors can also cause things to go awry…that is, if you are not using the right kind of software or platform.


Document Collaboration in virtual teams

Document Collaboration in virtual teams

Many international organisations have a large part of their workforce working in alternative workplaces.  A virtual team (also known as a geographically dispersed team or distributed team) is a group of individuals who work across time, space and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology[1].


Database is critical for Document Co-Authoring

A Database is critical for your Document Co-Authoring. Really?

You have seen the obvious benefits of Document Co-Authoring. You have experienced the increase in productivity and quality that collaboration can bring to your documents and proposals. But what’s all this about a database being critical for Document Co-Authoring?  Why can’t we just manage with the good old file systems that are tried and tested?


Evolution of document collaboration

True Collaboration is not about file sharing

Imagine yourself in a couple of years, advising your kids, friends or colleagues when they are about to select their preferred word processor for collaboration purposes. You remember back in the old days when we used word processors like Word Perfect, Word and Google Docs . We didn’t realize it then – the real problem that hindered us from solving the challenge of collaboration.


XaitPorter for Document Collaboration

Do you need a document collaboration solution? 3 reasons both FOR and AGAINST implementing a solution.

Sure, your company does not need one more software to help you manage your work. You are already neck-deep in licenses, maintenance agreements, and customizations, and you certainly do not want to add to your workload. As for document collaboration, you already have MS Word…what else would you or your team need?