The trend towards remote work and virtual teamwork has been on the rise for years, but the past two years have seen even more global organizations making the shift.
Technology companies have especially benefited from this, since their products and services center around digital and online technologies. In fact, many tech companies have found remote work to be so successful that they have difficulty getting their employees back to the office.
As an IT or tech professional, you already know that working in a virtual team environment has its benefits, but also its challenges. This includes communicating effectively, tracking people, forming cohesive teams, and working together toward common goals.
Other challenges include cultural differences, feelings of disconnect, technology barriers, and potential communication issues caused by language barriers.
The challenges become even greater when you're working from different locations and in different time zones to create documents that are essential to your company's revenue generation.
Is there a way to overcome these barriers? You bet there is.
Half The Battle Is Won With Good Tools
Imagine you have a multi-million dollar bid, and multiple contributors and stakeholders are involved in the authoring process in various locations across the globe.
If your team members use standard document management and desktop publishing tools based on files, they need to break the document down into multiple subdocuments, each with a specific responsibility. As a result, key content pieces are scattered across multiple systems and locations in multiple files and repositories.
When you have fragmented 'serial' document creation and authoring like this, your contributors may check out a portion of the document, work offline, and upload again. This means that certain team members may not have access to certain content for up to 24 hours.
Then, as the deadline approaches, the person responsible for compiling the document must gather a variety of files, generate the document, and ensure its formatting and layout are consistent-
Ultimately, a lack of cohesive tools and techniques for co-authoring threatens the quality and efficiency of the project (as well as the sanity of the project manager).
So yes, working on proposals in a dispersed team environment has its own set of challenges – if you aren't using the right tools.
The Solution: Database-Driven Co-Authoring Software
Using enabling technology is key to overcoming the challenges of collaborating from multiple locations. The evidence suggests that virtual teams with the best collaboration solutions can perform better than traditional teams with shared workspaces.
In a 2020 report from Deloitte, collaboration technology was hailed as the eternal enabler in the new virtual reality:
70% of business professionals expect the use of online collaboration platforms to increase in the future. Virtual teams truly need to explore and incorporate technology into their ways of working to succeed.
A database-driven document creation solution makes it possible for multiple contributors and stakeholders to collaborate and manage complex documents in a way that ensures high process quality and security.
Related: Everything you want to know about proposal software
21st Century Innovation Requires 21st Century Collaboration
Database-driven document creation allows you to have real-time access to your team's contributions, so that your coworkers can see how you intend to solve the task, and adjust their language accordingly.
Or, they can provide feedback and guidance while you are working on the narrative, rather than after you have already moved on to another task, so as not to disrupt the two processes.
Serial processes relying on files make it difficult to know what has been done and by whom, whereas database-driven document solutions make this visible to the project manager from day one.
There is no formatting or versioning to worry about. Documents are always up-to-date with built-in workflows and reports to provide progress estimates. At any given time, only one document exists, which is always the most recent version. This ensures greater document control and integrity at a lower cost.
Related: Collaborating seamlessly from home
Many tech companies have adopted virtual document production as the new norm. If the same is true of your organization, you will need the right solution to handle your document creation process in a way that puts your best foot forward.
When working with complex tenders, proposals, and contracts in the technology sector, database-driven co-authoring software with integrated configure, price, and quote capabilities is an ideal solution.
The system enables sales teams to more effectively and collaboratively develop bids, proposals, and other business-critical documents. Plus, with the ability to accurately and seamlessly select and price combinations of products and services, you will have an edge over slower-moving competitors.