Proposal management is an inherently collaborative process. Your success depends on careful management of resources and timelines to keep work on track and in the correct order to meet the deadlines and submit your proposal on time.
Every proposal manager knows the challenges: the pain of version control, the frustrations of maintaining timelines and momentum, and the even bigger pain of managing and agreeing on changes.
Let’s look at how moving to a database-driven co-authoring and automation solution for your proposal production can solve these challenges, and give you back control of the process.
The shortcomings of a file-based solution
A critical aspect of proposal management is the ability to manage versions of content as it evolves. Another equally important aspect of proposal management involves the creation, maintenance and application of review standards. Each member of the proposal creation and review process has a unique role and set of responsibilities in the development or publication of the content.
Still, many organizations use a file-based solution as the backbone for their proposal management. This spells trouble. Knowledge workers today waste a huge amount of time just battling with formatting and other time-consuming aspects of content management that is not about increasing efficiency and quality.
Over the past 20 years of working with organizations on their most important business documents, we’ve seen it time and again: The shortcomings of a file-driven document solution makes proposal management so much more complicated. Sure, achieving a collaborative process is possible using a file-based solution – but it is a time thief. A big one.
A better solution
In today’s global business environment, efficient and effective collaboration amongst teams directly translates into a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to achieve, especially when you’re tasked with the challenge of trying to manage teams dispersed around the country, or even the world.
The challenge is, how do you empower your team, especially when significantly dispersed geographically, to communicate seamlessly, and yet still manage to control the conversation? Perhaps the questions should be, “What tools is my team using for these processes? Are we still relying upon emails, phone calls, notes in the content to collaborate? Are we struggling with version control and share drives to co-author?”
Depending upon variables such as your team’s size, geographic dispersion, proposal volume, etc., improving true collaboration may require a dedicated co-authoring tool.
Move to a database-driven solution
An inherently collaborative process is difficult to achieve with a file-based solution best suited for people working solo.
A database-driven document solution, on the other hand, allows for a single source. Single source publishing allows the same content to be used in different documents or in various formats. The labour-intensive and expensive work of editing needs to be done only once, on one document. Further transformations are done automatically.
Moreover. a database-driven document solution eliminates the time wasted on formatting, layout and numbering. Collaborating in one place allows your team to work smarter, which gives them time to write better material. You can eliminate mistakes and focus your efforts on getting the content right, which improves the perception of your document. And you can incorporate more ideas, which improves the quality of the submission.
The end result? Your organization as a whole can better manage the creation, maintenance and application of content across your live documents.
Let XaitPorter solve your challenges
Using a tool such as XaitPorter to bring together the authors, the document, the comments, reviews and timeline management into one place really is an ideal way to bring typical proposal management issues under control.
By eliminating multiple versions attached to emails, giving all team members visibility of progress, and by dropping file-based solutions (and the nightmares this brings in terms of different versions saved to individual hard drives!) in favour of everything in one place, you will be able to bring a new calm to the process.
Manage the process, don't let it manage you
Whether you're writing a large or small proposal, you need to take control of the process, so that everything that goes into developing, writing and producing the proposal is managed on a timely basis – not only to meet deadlines, but also to ensure the process doesn't take up an unnecessary amount of your time.
A more controlled and collaborative approach, underpinned by the right tool, will give you a newfound confidence in what you submit. This allows you to go back to old material with a focus on what you can pull forward for the benefit of future documents, rather than avoiding it for fear of what horrors you may find lurking there.
This way, you can focus your attention on the strategic aspects of the proposal, and put together a persuasive proposal you can deliver on time.
Jack Welch was known to say that, “Winning requires getting every brain in the game”. With XaitPorter – the ideal solution to foster collaboration, co-authoring, and effective communication – your team will be positioned to WIN!
Silje is Marketing and Communications Director 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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