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What are the key aspects of document production today?

What are the key aspects of document production today?

Silje Stensland
13. Jul 2020 | 6 min read

What are the key aspects of document production today?

In the evolution from the first typewriter in 1867 to word processing and file sharing one hundred years later, something was overlooked. Something significant.

Despite the inherent limitations of the manual typewriter – lack of memory, difficulty revising, limited formatting options, the inconvenience of their physical form, no spell checkers – it introduced a process that is vital to efficient document production. A process that, unfortunately, has taken a back seat to the file concept.

That process is collaborative writing, i.e. the concept of many individuals working in the same document at the same time.


The word processor: A huge step forward, and a big step back

With the typewriter, every typist was working on a separate section of the document, and formatting inconsistency was a thing of the future​. Security was not an issue, either, as sheets of paper weren’t that easy to copy, and sensitive content could easily be restricted.​

Sure, the word processor was a paradigm shift in the evolution of document production, but it was also a step back. Let me explain.

To enable multiple contributors in a file-driven solution, you generally need to break your document into several smaller files to enable collaboration, making the document production process significantly harder to manage. Not only does a file-driven document solution 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

In short: the file made working together harder, not easier – proving that sometimes, progress can also bring about regress. 

File sharing can lead to expensive mistakes and wasted business opportunities. Modern-day document production requires a different, more strategic and secure approach, enabling true collaboration. 

Enter three key aspects of modern-day document creation: co-authoring, standardization, and the serial document production process.


1) Database-driven co-authoring

Unlike file sharing, database-driven co-authoring employs a single source repository where all your content is managed. The database contains all of the assets and information that your documents will need. The tables, macros, forms, and queries are

all stored and are accessible to all those who will work on the various stages of document creation. 

Whenever anyone enters data, modifies the design, or makes changes in the document, they interact with all the features available on the database. This enables automatic formatting and layout, composite content management (where the same content can be used and updated in different documents) and master data management that ties everything together.


Concurrent co-authoring

Often organizations mistake file sharing capabilities for co-authoring, but in actuality, the process is really a check-in and check-out system. That means that you are actually breaking down your document into multiple files, and co-authors don’t really work on the same document in real time. This can cause confusion and difficulties battling version

control, and hassling with formatting layers and numbering. This all adds up to unnecessarily wasted time and undue risk. 

With a database-driven approach, you ensure that content is current and reflected over hundreds of documents. Concurrent co-authoring ensures that if that section or content is updated or changed, the revisions are included across all of the documents that are in production.


2) Standardization

Working on a large and complex business document involves multiple people, tasks and workflows. Getting elements such as formatting, layout and numbering right across live documents not only wastes precious time, it tends to steal the focus you need to succeed in putting together a top-notch document.

A database-driven co-authoring and automation solution standardizes and automates functionality within the document (e.g. formatting, version control). This allows the same content to be used in different documents or in various formats, ensuring brand consistency – thus enabling your document team to work smarter and better to manage the creation, maintenance and application of content.


3) Serial vs. parallel document production process

A file-driven document solution typically provides your team members with a serial process, where they keep waiting for someone else or work in silos. This is because, as mentioned before, the document is often broken down into fragments to enable more than one person to work on the document.

A database-driven document solution provides the ability to streamline this process and work in parallel. A parallel process can provide enormous time savings for your team when creating documents together with other contributors. 


Read more: Don't write the same content twice: 3 benefits of a content library


It’s here: Document Production 3.0

Typewriters may be relegated to the shelves of thrift stores and antique shops, but they are still going strong in funeral homes, where death certificates are often filled out on them, as well as in prisons, where inmates often use them for correspondence. Plus, nostalgic writers still swear by them. In the world of business document creation, however, the typewriter is a relic of a time gone by.

What about word processors? They are also going obsolete.

Database-driven co-authoring and automation solutions signal the third revolution in document production. Business at the speed of paper is no longer acceptable, as information agility, seamless collaboration, and better business intelligence become hallmarks of digital transformation. 

Look for the ability to eliminate manual and paper-based workflow by modernizing your document production process and leveraging “a single source of truth” where all your content is managed.

Introducing future-proof document production tools for your information workers, whether they work locally, globally or virtually, will increase productivity, ensure security and improve the quality of business-critical documents across your organization.​


Ebook collaboration is the new competitive advantage


Silje Stensland

Silje Stensland

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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