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3 Tips on How to Write a Winning Business Proposal

Author Richard C. Freed offers an insightful observation in his book Writing Winning Business Proposals. He says of proposals:

Although a few are outstanding, most aren’t. Many offend with ‘cut-and-paste’ boilerplate, miss important opportunities to provide value, suffer from poor logic and organization, and focus more on you than on me and my organization. Although some do a few things well, some don’t do much well at all.”


Document Collaboration in Virtual Teams

Document Collaboration in virtual teams

Many international organisations have a large part of their workforce working in alternative workplaces.  A virtual team (also known as a geographically dispersed team or distributed team) is a group of individuals who work across time, space and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology[1].


Streamline Content Managemen Process XaitPorter

Streamline your Content Management Process with XaitPorter

Content management is an inherently collaborative process. A critical aspect of content management is the ability to manage versions of content as it evolves. Another equally important aspect of content management involves the creation, maintenance, and application of review standards. Each member of the content creation and review process has a unique role and set of responsibilities in the development or publication of the content.


Redefining Document Production Process

Redefining Document Production Process

What is and should be the most important question for all document-centric industries? Improving the document production process.

Information workers waste 21.3% of an organization’s total productivity

A white paper published by IDC, estimates that information workers waste 21.3% of an organization’s total productivity. In monetary terms, this equals a whopping $19,732 / year per knowledge worker. This is a massive loss to any organization, which is often known, but not acted upon. Information workers need solutions that enables them to improve the document production process.


Happy Thanksgiving from Xait

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and is for many the most fantastic time of the year.

The Thanksgiving tradition started with the Pilgrims celebrated the first harvest in the New World, and it is an excellent way of expressing gratitude towards your loved ones, get together and eat good food. The Pilgrims had to work together and collaborate to improve their harvest, just as XaitPorter allows our clients to collaborate on documents to improve the quality.


Co-authoring vs collaboration

What is the Difference between Collaboration and Co-Authoring?

The difference between collaboration and co-authoring may seem trivial to some. Before we get into “defining” what they mean to us, lets talk about the plain vanilla definitions.

Collaboration is defined as, “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something”

Co-authoring is defined as, “be a joint author of (a book, paper, or report)”


Watchnews XaitPorter Efficient-Document-Collaboration for Business Critical Documents

XaitPorter – Quick and Secure Collaboration | NewsWatch Review

Do you have a business? Then you know that improving efficiency is an important element in running a successful business. Unfortunately, so many companies struggle with their ability to create and collaborate on their business critical documents. Check out a document creation and collaboration software called XaitPorter.


Creating Documents in Xaitporter

Serial vs. Parallel Process

You hit Google with ‘Serial vs. Parallel Process’ and you thousands of articles talking about the study of how our mind can run both in serial and in parallel. In the white paper Serial vs. Parallel Processing: Sometimes They Look like Tweedledum and Tweedledee but They Can (And Should) be Distinguished written by James T. Townsend, it says:

Serial processing means strictly sequential, without overlap of the successive processing times on objects or distinct subsystems. In a standard type of serial system, each object takes the same average amount of time to process and the next object begins processing only when the previous one is completed. On the other hand, parallel processing signifies simultaneous processing on several objects or subsystems at the same time, although processing may finish on different objects at different time.


Getting the right co-authoring tool to successfully write a Production Licence Application.

Getting the right tool for your Production Licence Application

Collaborating and co-authoring content in and across complex documents is a challenge that most organizations face. Organizations rely on manual processes and document management solutions to maintain content and ensure consistency. For many organizations content is the core delivery of their services, it illustrates and proves their value proposition.

When getting ready for a production licensing round, oil companies needs to make the same considerations. The production licence could have a considerable impact on an oil company, and should you not have the best tools in place to increase the chances for a favourable outcome?

According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), a production licence is a concession which grants exclusive rights to conduct exploration drilling and production of oil and gas within a delimited area on the Shelf. The ordinary licensing rounds, which include frontier parts of the Shelf, are normally held every other year. The Awards in Predefined Areas (APA), which comprise the mature parts of the Shelf, are announced every year. In Norway, close to 100% of the winning production licence applications has been produced in XaitPorter. In addition, XaitPorter has been used successfully in a range of other production licence application rounds in other countries such as Mexico, United Kingdom, Greenland, Iceland, Denmark and more.

The benefits of document co-authoring solutions

Production licences requires co-authoring and collaboration, often across company and country borders. Document co-authoring solutions allow documents to be edited simultaneously by multiple contributors. True collaborative solutions are built on databases, and allow for different sub-sections of a document to be edited in parallel. Basically, everyone can work on the same document at the same time, while management has complete control of the process. Automatic formatting, layout and numbering ensure writers focus solely on content. Web native solutions enable contributions from multiple locations and organizations while managers have complete control of the production process from day one. This helps organizations drastically increase the quality of their content. In addition, the support of high-res graphics and vectored graphics add to the quality of your final output.

Perhaps you also should consider the tools you work with in advance of any upcoming production licence application?


Complex Documents made simple by XaitPorter

Complex Documents Made Simple by XaitPorter

Effective Tenders, the Key to Success

XaitPorter is an innovative collaborative document creation and management tool specifically designed to handle large and complex documents and tenders. Our product enables contributors, authors, reviewers and approvers to simultaneously work together on the same document, increasing productivity through efficiency, quality, and security improvements.


Managing your Proposal Team

Managing your Proposal Team

Managing your proposal team is more than just setting deadlines and assigning tasks. While those are vital functions to a winning proposal other items such as establishing roles and responsibilities, team selection, and assigning both content and process responsibilities are critical factors in your overall success.


APA 2017 Success with XaitPorter

XaitPorter is the preferred collaboration tool producing license applications

“98.21% of the production license applications awarded for the APA in 2016 have been entrusted to clients using XaitPorter”, says Kris Saether, CCO in Xait.  

XaitPorter is the standard license round application solution in Norway, and our employees have expertise providing help with streamlining the process for oil companies. Our experienced team can help with your application document structure, as well as offer consultation services during the completion process. Higher quality documents, less overtime, and more applications are only some of the benefits that users of XaitPorter experience.

With the announcement of the APA 2017, there is expected major interest in the application rounds.

APA 2017 is the second largest expansion so far, and the largest expansion yet in the Barents Sea. This is imperative for effective resource management, says The Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Søviknes.

The importance of integrity in license documentation

If a company can optimize the use of information and leverage it correctly, they can also better manage risk and ensure regulatory compliance, while operating optimally and achieving a competitive advantage. To improve a document or information centric process, one should have the ability 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, which ensures integrity across all of your documents.

In addition, features such as document automation, document assembly and high quality publishing in a secure environment not reliant on files can be key for your decision on what type of solution to elect. Policy-based document creation and workflow approval system designed to dynamically build both standard and custom configured documents based upon pre-defined business rules with the ability to change key values, while the documents and reports are instantly updated is a challenge with a file based solution.

Please contact Kris Saether to explore Xait’s approach to document production.

Contact: 
Kris Sæther
Chief Commercial Officer
+47 51 95 02 00
kris.saether@xait.com
https://no.linkedin.com/in/krissaether


Twelve Days of Christmas Day Twelve Happy Customers

The Twelfth Day: 12 Happy Customers

“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 happy customers, 11 assembled sections, 10 document types, 9 integrated systems, 8 peers reviewing, 7 ways to collaborate, 6 skilled reviewers, 5 approvers approving, 4 zoomable images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter”

As we reach the end of the 12 days, our team would like to present you with two gifts: 12 drummers drumming AND 12 happy, new customers. As you review the past 11 days of tips and hints for document production in XaitPorter, you may have already anticipated your gift on this last day.

Integrated systems and automated processes increase the number of bids, tenders or applications your team can manage throughout the year. Rights-based access, security for confidential content and collaboration tools allow qualified contributors and subject matter experts to interact dynamically and directly within the project. User-friendly document assembly, pre-built templates and structured workflows reduce production time, eliminate errors and increase efficiency for your business-critical documents.

From your initial project on day one to today’s drummers, we hope these ideas help you and your colleagues by

  • reducing project stress during busy times and tight deadlines
  • enabling your team to focus on your critical document content, not process or tools
  • fostering collaboration and enhancing team spirit – which will motivate everyone working on the project

The result of all of your hard work? Brand-consistent, high quality documents which you can be proud to share with prospects, customers and other important company stakeholders. Those 12 drummers are playing their tune to congratulate you and your team on a job well done.

From all of us at Xait, we hope you have enjoyed our Xait-themed “12 Days of Christmas”. We wish you a happy, healthy holiday and a great start to the new year.

 

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can manage projects.Schedule Demo


Twelve Days of Christmas Day-Eleven 11 Assembled Sections

The Eleventh Day: 11 Assembled Sections

“On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 assembled sections, 10 document types, 9 integrated systems, 8 peers reviewing, 7 ways to collaborate, 6 skilled reviewers, 5 approvers approving, 4 zoomable images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter”

We love the music of 11 pipers piping during the holidays. But we understand if you prefer a quiet space when assembling dozens of contributions from various stakeholders to produce complex documents for time-sensitive projects.

Typically, the least favorite task during production of complex documents is assembling sections from multiple contributors – especially if you have external or third-party writers. Have you ever received sections for a document in different fonts and layouts? And if you have multiple parties collaborating together on a large proposal or tender, brand consistency can be a nightmare. The result: a final proposal which looks like a “cut-and-paste” from five different organizations.

 

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Eleven Sections Editing Screenshot

The solution: XaitPorter’s easy-to-use editing tools enable you to apply unified rules so you can quickly assemble each section – ensuring consistency in layout, formatting, labeling and numbering. You can maintain brand integrity and design across the entire document or apply different branding conventions to sections contributed by third parties. Finally, document assembly can be done in parallel, increasing team efficiency and reducing delivery time for your proposal or tender – for some projects by over 70%.

XaitPorter gives the gift of quicker assembly time, better brand consistency and less overall stress in managing your project – so turn up the volume on the Christmas music and enjoy those 11 pipers piping.

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can improve document assembly.Schedule Demo


Twelve Days of Christmas Day Ten Document Types

The Tenth Day: 10 Document Types

“On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 10 document types, 9 integrated systems, 8 peers reviewing, 7 ways to collaborate, 6 skilled reviewers, 5 approvers approving, 4 zoomable images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter”

Those 10 lords a-leaping probably are pretty energetic and agile. However, I would place a wager that most bid and project managers would prefer instead an agile, robust platform which is able to produce ten – or better, 100 – different types of documents.

Many companies struggle with too many platforms for producing documents – requiring different systems for creating proposals, another one for contracts, a third for marketing collateral, and so on. Other collaboration and production platforms are limited to bare-bones functionality: they have a “do it yourself” approach and typically require add-on apps or software plug-ins. And forget about integration to CRM systems or other databases – it’s just too complex.

Our philosophy is to allow our customers to create document types or templates directly within XaitPorter and automate as much of the production process as possible. Therefore, once you create a template for your first proposal, annual report or application, the template is immediately available for the next project. And an added benefit for IT and business: XaitPorter can produce documents for any department in your organization – commercial, executive, marketing, contracts, finance, services, HR.

 

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Ten Document Types Screenshot

 

With thousands of users across the globe, we don’t really know exactly HOW many types of  documents our customers are producing in their XaitPorter platform. But here is a (short) list of the top 10, and a longer list with many more.

  1. Sales Proposals
  2. Tender and Bid Responses
  3. Annual and Quarterly Reports
  4. Corporate Sustainability Reports
  5. Licensing Applications
  6. Geographical Studies
  7. Ship Design Specifications
  8. Contracts
  9. Regulatory Manuals and Documentation
  10. Product Manuals and Brochures

And also Financial reports, Marketing Reports, Research Trials and Reports, Sales Specifications, Clinical Research Papers, ISO Documentation, Ship Stability Books, FEED Agreements and ITTs, Fact Sheets, Research Grant Applications, IPO Offerings, Sales Reports, Stakeholder Reports, White Papers and many more…

And although we haven’t seen it yet, we guess you could also create a musical arrangement in XaitPorter for those 10 lords.

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can improve its document reviewing process.Schedule Demo


Twelve Days of Christmas Day-Nine-Integrated Processes Sections

The Ninth Day: 9 Integrated Systems

“On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 9 integrated systems, 8 peers reviewing, 7 ways to collaborate, 6 skilled reviewers, 5 approvers approving, 4 zoomable images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter” 

In the classic version of “12 Days of Christmas”, the receiver is given the gift of 9 ladies dancing. Xait proposes a different present, but one which might get you dancing nonetheless.

Time is rarely on the side of a bid manager, project coordinator, sales executive or contract manager. Bid managers need to manage a pipeline of tenders, often with finite resources. Sales executives are usually under pressure to maintain a healthy funnel of offers or proposals. Project coordinators and contract managers may be requested to quickly react to customer requests for NDAs, contract addendums or SOWs. When a proposal, contract or a SOW is requested at short notice, other activities are usually postponed to gather information from multiple systems and resources across the organization. Results: deadlines for other projects slip, important tasks or activities are postponed.

XaitPorter helps you automate this process by integrating with other systems, including CRM (ie. Salesforce), contract management, ERP or project systems. Information in the form of metadata – such as pricing, design, customer information, company, product boilerplates – is pushed from the core system into XaitPorter. The metadata populates the pre-built document templates in XaitPorter, with pre-defined processes governing the information flow to automate the selection of data required for the tender, NDA, contract, proposal, application or other template. The system data is added to the template, which is also populated with the correct boilerplates and standard information. No cut and paste, no typos or errors transferring data from its originating system to your document. No need to stretch resources, call in favors or postpone projects.

With XaitPorter’s integration capabilities and automated processes, you can generate a completed proposal or NDA based on the pre-approved information from the originating system – and it’s almost as simple as a single click. We hope you think this is something to dance about.

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can improve its document reviewing process.Schedule Demo


Twelve Days of Christmas Day Eight Peers Reviewing

The Eighth Day: 8 Peers Reviewing

“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 8 peers reviewing, 7 ways to collaborate, 6 skilled reviewers, 5 approvers approving, 4 zoomable images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter”

For document production projects, we really don’t need 8 maids a-milking (unless you need subject matter expertise with a proposal for a dairy farm). But the value of subject matter expertise – from peers, partners or other third-party experts – should not be underestimated, as it can transform a good proposal, tender or application into a winning one.

Project and bid managers often need to manage contributions from subject matter experts outside of the bid team or external to your company, such as:

  • Technical or product experts to provide design, system or market expertise
  • Scientific or experts to advise on data, evidence or trends
  • Commercial experts to deliver pricing models, contract structures or terms

These experts could be regular contributors to multiple proposals, or they could be providing one-off expertise for a specific project. In either situation, there may be little time to train them on processes or platforms – and often corporate security rules restrict system access to external parties.

XaitPorter solves this problem by enabling access-based user rights, providing a structured collaboration process and delivering an easy-to-use, intuitive platform for creating and sharing information. Peers and external contributors can write, review and approve content in their section of responsibility directly in the XaitPorter project. Or, they can receive notifications and comments about their contribution via email, then review and respond accordingly. For partner or external expert contributions, XaitPorter’s layout tools make it easy to reformat text and ensure design consistency throughout the document.

Twelve Days of Christmas Day-Eight Peers Reviewing Screenshot

It can be a challenge to bring all of this expertise together. But working with easy-to-use document production tools enables your contributors to focus on the content, not the system or process. The outcome: your proposal captures your team dedication and hard work; your great product, services or solution; and trusted subject matter expertise. And this will help you win bids and delight customers.

So as a gift for the 12 Days of Christmas? We’ll take 8 expert peer reviews or trusted partner contributions every day of the year.

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can improve its document reviewing process.Schedule Demo


Twelve Days of Christmas Day Seven Ways To Collaborate

The Seventh Day: 7 ways to collaborate

“On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me 7 ways to collaborate, 6 skilled reviewers, 5 approvers approving, 4 zoomable images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter”

Although 7 swans a-swimming are beautiful, we have an alternative: 7 highly effective ways to collaborate with your team on complex projects for business-critical documents.

When you are working in a large project team on a complex proposal or critical document, do you find yourself swimming (like those 7 swans!) in a pool of emails, voicemails, text messages and chats? That email you received this morning is quickly obsolete when you receive a new chat in WhatsApp or Slack. Then your supervisor leaves an urgent voicemail which is entirely different from the email or message.

Unstructured process for collaborating on complex projects can drive people crazy -problems include delays, duplicate work and conflicting information.

Typical issues include:

  • Unstructured communication such as long email chains which are difficult to follow and action (and don’t get us started with messages sent “reply all”!)
  • Managing security rights and access when working with confidential company or customer information
  • Lack of document or system access for external stakeholders – such as contractors, suppliers, vendors and other third parties – who are working on the project
  • Mistakes in routing information or assigning tasks to the wrong contributor
  • Lack of context for edits and comments
  • Travel or out of office delays – or simply forgetting to send a comment or note during the course of a busy day

At Xait, we have heard all of these challenges – and more – since we launched the first XaitPorter platform 15 years ago. So for the 7th day, we propose 7 solutions to improve collaboration…

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Seven Comments Screenshot

7 Ways to Collaborate within XaitPorter:

  1. Project and Task Overviews provide real-time visibility into every project and task to which a contributor is assigned
  2. Role-defined collaboration enables contributors to collaborate based on user role or group membership for a specific section
  3. Email notifications outside of XaitPorter for users on the road or who are unable to log into the platform
  4. Interactive comments so contributors are able to read real-time feedback and respond quickly
  5. Access-based collaboration to enable authorized users to read or edit restricted or confidential information
  6. Transparent rules and processes for collaboration (e.g. time-based, workflow -based)
  7. Dynamic work groups and structured, secure processes for collaboration with external stakeholders – vendors, suppliers, customers and other third-party contributors

So you no longer need to drown in unstructured collaboration processes – get out of the pool and enjoy the swans.

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can improve document collaboration.Schedule Demo


Twelve-Days-of-Christmas-Day-Six-Skilled-Reviewers

The Sixth Day: 6 Skilled Reviewers

“On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 6 skilled reviewers, 5 approvers approving, 4 zoomable images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter” 

We have already established our view on receiving birds as a gift, so no geese a-laying, please! However, we will gladly accept six skilled reviewers.

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Six Skilled Reviewers Screenshot

 

As you read in yesterday’s blog, reviewers are second in the document creation process – after writers, before approvers. Why is this role important? Consider the role of a reviewer in a large tender or proposal, where you will likely have multiple stakeholders for each section. A reviewer is often one of your colleagues – either based locally or in a remote office. However, XaitPorter also enables external, third-party contributors to have secure, rights- or role-based access to your project or document.

Reviewers contribute in a number of important ways, including:

  • Providing subject matter expertise for critical content (e.g. technical, scientific, financial)
  • Reviewing content for accuracy, relevance and context
  • Correcting grammar or terminology
  • Translating (e.g. via an external translation agency) or editing translated text
  • Confirming facts, historical information and data
  • Adding a customer-focused perspective or industry viewpoint
  • Validating your offer or price

XaitPorter enables all contributors to work simultaneously and collaborate in parallel: for example, when a reviewer adds an inline comment to a section, a writer or another contributor can immediately take action.

Reviewers will add inline comments to their section of responsibility, such as:

“Please change the wording to….”

“This translation should read instead…..”

“Could you please clarify the meaning and intent of the following phrase….”

“Please delete this paragraph and replace with….”

…and any number of other editorial comments and suggestions.

What is the value of delivering a high-quality, error-free proposal or annual report which includes contributions from multiple expert reviewers? Expertly-produced documents convey a higher level of authority and integrity than documents which contain grammar or spelling mistakes, factual errors, pricing discrepancies or other faults. For important proposals, tenders or reports, those six reviewers could indeed be priceless.

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can improve its document reviewing process.Schedule Demo


Twelve Day of Christmas Day Five Approvers Approving

The 12 Days of Christmas: The Fifth Day: 5 Approvers Approving

 “On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 5 approvers approving, 4 zoomable images, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter”

You might wish instead for the traditional gift of 5 gold rings – after all, who wouldn’t want gold?  But you may discover that 5 approvers approving is more valuable than rings when producing business-critical documents.

Consider the potential complexity of managing the approval process when working on a large proposal or tender. Decisions on the final product or technology design, service guarantees or warranties, delivery schedules and pricing need to be managed in parallel, especially when different departments – like R&D, finance, sales and service – own responsibility and sign-off for their respective contributions to the tender. Final approval is often the responsibility of a busy department head or senior executive who may be hard to reach at short notice during a timeline crunch. In surveys with bid and project managers, over 70% say that managing the approval process is the most stressful part of a project or bid.

How can five approvers prevent that stress-induced gray hair when managing a critical project? By increasing efficiency, control and oversight of the approval process. This helps you and your team to overcome hurdles in receiving timely approvals and meeting critical deadlines.

How does this work within a project? When creating a project or document in XaitPorter, you can set up multiple sections and sub-sections and assign writers, reviewers and approvers for each section. Throughout the document production process, all contributors are able to work in parallel within their respective domains. Notifications are sent from XaitPorter for each step of the process, keeping contributors informed of tasks and due dates.

 

Xait Christmas Ornaments

Twelve Days of Christmas Day-Five-Approvers Approving Screenshot

 

Once the writer and reviewer have both completed their assignments, the approver has final authorization to determine if that section is completed. The approver can add comments, request clarification on content or send it back for more writing or editing. The approver can also reject the section and post the reason why. Once the approver is satisfied, he or she marks the section as complete. All authorized contributors can view the status of each section directly in XaitPorter – increasing transparency with the process and making the project easier to manage. And best of all – no more gray hairs and sleepless nights.

Schedule demo of XaitPorter

Learn more about how your company can manage use document creation workflow.Schedule Demo


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