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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.

Assimilation

Dividing the work among the team is easy enough: but putting together individual submissions to create a cohesive document is not – numbering, formatting pages to give the document a uniform look, and then the possibility of having to re-organize the document so that it reads better! Some of the most pressing concerns for managers when collaborating on documents are:

  • Wasting time hunting for files and documents
  • Sending incorrect edits to a team member
  • Manually finalizing edits and merging them to create a cohesive document

File-sharing is where the problems begin. Too many authors, cross-submissions, duplication and lost files make managing and organizing content an uphill task. Having a centralized location to store, write and access the document means you won’t have to spend time compiling.

Version Management

So the content is in and you need to give it a quick look-over to make sure it’s all aligned. But you may discover that some edits were made to an older version of the section, or that an unfinished version has been uploaded. Searching for the right version of a section or document can be the most time-consuming task at hand, and can set you back a few days if it’s a large document. Plus, if your reviewers are going to be working with different versions, you will be in for further delays. It’s necessary to have a well-defined version management system, or even better, a software that keeps saving content as it is created, keeping only the latest and most relevant edit on the surface. You need to have the freshest content on hand for your proposal. Outdated, or worse, incorrect information will result in losing the opportunity.

Searching For Data

You’ve assimilated all the content for review and realize there are factual errors, information that’s missing and additional information you need to add. Hunting for old documents and digging up past data and contracts is tedious and a time-dragger. Having a document management system with a centralized repository of all your data (past and current) helps you review and revise as you go along.

Those Last-Minute Changes

However many times you may send a section back and forth for edits, there’s bound to be some last-minute details or omissions that need to be taken care of. There’s nothing worse than receiving a last-minute update to a section that’s been green-lighted and finalized. A clear review process helps, coupled with easy access to the document and the ability to view edits in real-time. A collaborative editing process, one that allows multiple writers and editors to work on each section simultaneously, also helps speed up the process, and won’t leave you struggling closer to the deadline.

So even when you think you are 95% there, you probably aren’t. Does your collaboration software really get you ready to file and not format? Is it truly client-ready? Or is it just a puzzle of files and pieces of content that need to be reworked, edited, standardized and itemized? With Xait, 95% done means 95% done. The content is formatted thanks to a smart template, taking care of style and layout for you. Once edited and approved, content can be locked, which avoids duplication, reworking and even leaks. Plus, Xait keeps the decision makers in control: once comments have been made, seen and incorporated into the document, edits are locked- so you won’t have to worry about more “last-minute” comments and updates. Xait also updates and works in real-time: which means your content and changes are saved as they are written. So when you work with Xait, you don’t need to start all over once your content is in: the last 5% is about filing, not formatting.

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