Discover the possibilities of a good proposal software solution
26. Nov 2019 |
6 min read
Documents such as bids and proposals, contracts and financial reports typically span several hundred pages, requiring the collaborative and simultaneous effort of multiple contributors.
Before being submitted, such documents go through a predefined process of reviewing and approval, where responsibility and control over the document is passed from one person to the next. Getting the content 100 percent right at the end is crucial, and a daunting challenge.
Unfortunately, quite a few organizations are struggling to create and collaborate on their business-critical, time-sensitive documents.
Is this the case for your company? Then you should consider using a database-driven proposal solution.
How a good proposal software solution helps you create winning proposals
To help you keep on top of the workflow when multiple contributors work on the same document, you need to implement a solution that enables you 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.
Moreover, you require capabilities such as document automation, document assembly and high-quality publishing in a secure environment not reliant on files.
An enterprise-grade document collaboration and co-authoring solution offers these possibilities.
Let’s get granular. Here’s what’s in it for you:
Access from anywhere
A good proposal solution is cloud-based, which means you can see and work on the latest version of your documents from anywhere. You can easily invite partners, subcontractors and consultants to work with you, making your efforts truly collaborative.
No more numbering and formatting hassles
In a good proposal solution, you work with set layout templates. You don’t need to spend any time on numbering, formatting or layout, as it is all taken care of automatically. Besides, your documents will always adhere to your corporate branding guidelines.
Since you have access to the latest version at all times, you can track the development of the document from day one. In addition, a good proposal solution gives you a complete audit trail.
A streamlined proposal process
A good proposal solution allows you to select writers, reviewers and approvers, as well as set individual deadlines. The result is clearly defined responsibilities, and a streamlined process.
Quick and easy document navigation
If you have ever tried to navigate a 1,000-page document, you know it’s a tedious and time-consuming task. In a user-friendly proposal solution, 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 a good proposal solution, your document is split into sections. When you work on a section, other users are not allowed to edit it. However, they will still be able to see the latest version of the document and its sections, as everything is updated in real time.
Easy reuse of information
Because a good proposal solution is built on a database, you can easily copy and reuse content, outlines and workflows.
No more post-its
In a good proposal solution, all your comments are stored in one place. You add and respond to comments directly in your workspace. When everyone is done with their edits you can export the document as either a PDF or Word doc.
Multiple contributors, often spread across time zones, constitutes a challenge for many organizations when creating bids and proposals. This is mainly because they use solutions where contributors need to check-in and check-out content (a file), or they use email to distribute tasks and content.
When using a solution reliant on Word (file driven), this 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, in turn, leads to your team working fragmented, making it difficult for project managers to keep track of progress. Another agonizing challenge with files is versioning and formatting issues.
File-driven document management systems are essentially for sharing and collation only. True collaborative solutions are built on databases, and allow for different parts of a document to be created and edited in parallel. The latest versions of all sections and subsections are always available and accessible, and multiple writers can work on the same document at the same time.
From fragmentation to collaboration
Cloud-based proposal software allows you to create high-quality business-critical documents faster. Whether you are in the office, at home or on the other side of the world, every contributor has access to the same document and can edit it in real time.
A good proposal solution includes all the common features of a word processor, but is designed from the ground to enable textual collaboration and workflow, i.e. the assigning of responsibilities and deadlines to different writers.
This helps automate the collective creation process, while removing the inefficiencies often associated with the use of traditional word processors, such as lack of visibility and control, and difficulties maintaining consistent formatting and layout.
To enable true document collaboration with all your contributors, internally or externally, locally or globally, you really need to discover the possibilities of a web-native, database-driven proposal solution.
There is really no limit to the type of document that would benefit from the use of a professional document collaboration and co-authoring solution.
Silje is Marketing Manager of Xait. She holds a Bachelor in Marketing Communication and an Executive Master in Business Administration. She is an analytical, efficient and results-focused marketing and communications professional and her career spans over 15 years within real estate, oil & gas and IT. When Silje is not busy growing the Xait brand, you can find her at her family cabin in picturesque Sirdal, Norway, hiking, trekking and cross-country skiing.
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