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A simple guide to complex document collaboration

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Kris Sæther



2 min

Document collaboration and co-authoring should be simple, but often becomes a complex subject. Why is that? Many people look at document collaboration as merely filesharing or having access to the same document, but that is just not sufficient for complex document collaboration and co-authoring, where multiple contributors in different locations are to put together a comprehensive document.

Sharing might be caring, but for complex document co-authoring and collaboration, you need to take it one step further. 

To enable multiple contributors collaborating on a file-based document, you generally need to break your document into several smaller files, making the document co-authoring process significantly harder to manage. Not only does a file-driven document solution (such as Word) increase the silo effect, but it also creates challenges with formatting, versioning, revisions and more. Not to mention the security aspect of using a file-driven solution. According to Checkpoint's Security Report for 2015, loss of proprietary information has increased 71% over the past three years. Organizations experienced an average of 12.7 high-risk application events per hour, or about 305 times per day – and one core contributor to this data loss is file-sharing programs. 



Some core outputs that you should look for when considering a solution for your business-critical documents are to:

  • Become more organized
  • Increase efficiency
  • Foster teamwork and collaboration
  • But, most importantly, increase quality

If you do not manage to increase efficiency and quality with your chosen document collaboration solution, perhaps you should investigate further?



What else should you expect from a solution for complex document collaboration? Here are a few things:

  1. Workflow – the solution should have built-in workflow to distribute tasks and make it easier for the project manager
  2. Great end document – automatic formatting, layout and numbering with high-res graphics is a must – why waste time on formatting?
  3. Break down silos – filesharing solutions often increase the silo effect of reusing and standardizing content that is vital for complex documents
  4. Real-time updates – you should have instant access to what your contributors do, regardless of location
  5. Security – see above
  6. Cross-functional teams – enable all teams to work together on a document and collaborate seamlessly in a single workspace



By introducing a smarter document collaboration and co-authoring process for your team, whether they work locally, globally or virtually, you can be more efficient, work more securely and increase quality.

Often, information workers need to navigate to a myriad of file-based solutions to create, automate, assemble, format and review documents. Will they achieve the benefits listed above with a file-driven solution? Perhaps not. With a database-driven document solution, this is all part of the package.




Author picture

Kris Sæther

Kris Sæther is Chief Commercial Officer of Xait. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Media Studies, and has worked in financial communication in London and Frankfurt prior to joining Xait. He has 20+ years experience from the information management industry. Kris is an avid runner and skier, and a passionate fan of the world’s coolest soccer team, Tottenham. If he is not working or running you will find him cheering for his two daughters on the handball court.

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