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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)”


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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Day Three Key Texts

The 12 Days of Christmas: The Third Day – 3 Key Texts

“On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 3 key texts, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter”  

We can take the traditional route of giving three French hens or – as you might have started to guess – we don’t want more birds! I’d rather have three key texts. Perhaps you might be wondering, “what exactly is key text?”

Xait Christmas Ornaments

Twelve Days of Christmas Day-Three Key Texts Screenshot

In the context of document production, Key Text refers to text that is used to highlight important information in a document. The key text will typically be larger, highlighted or bold text and located in the left or right margin (separated from the body text). It serves as a visual representation to focus the reader’s attention on a critical piece of information that might get lost within a large body paragraph.

So why is this an important feature when creating business-critical documents? Because of a reader’s behavior when reviewing a document: over 90% will read the key text first when they focus on a page. We have found the use and impact of key text to be so important that we have built easy-to-use functionality so you can add key texts directly in XaitPorter.

With typical document production software, adding key text can be an absolute nightmare. And that’s not considering the difficulty of using key text and images together – all of which have to be re-sized and scaled to fit into the new adjusted column space. We have seen and heard from our clients just how difficult adding key text can be for them, so we wanted to ensure that XaitPorter made the process easier and quicker.

Have you ever been frustrated by formatting issues when working with key text and images? That’s the reason why our Day 3 gift to you is, in fact, the gift of time.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Day Two Dashboard Reports

The 12 Days of Christmas: The Second Day – 2 Dashboard Reports

“On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 2 dashboard reports and one project in XaitPorter”

What project data and information can you view in your dashboard reports?

Overall project overview – including project timelines and progress and

Detailed data and information – including resource allocation; comments and edits; approvals and workflows     

The dashboard will typically be the first screen you see when you log into the XaitPorter platform (unless you are logging directly into a specific project – remember the first day ?)

You can think of the Dashboard as the command center for your overall administrative and reporting tasks. You also have the ability to select which reports you would like to see in your dashboard – as well as deciding where those reports should display – by simply dragging and dropping them into your preferred position. You can also adjust the size of the reports by simply dragging them to different columns. For example, if you have three reports in one column, each will be 1/3 height; but if you have one report in a column by itself, the report will expand to make use of the full column height. It’s super easy for your entire project team to use and customize.

 

Xait Christmas Ornaments

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Two Dashboard Reports Screenshot

This customization allows you to optimize your work space and tailor XaitPorter to your needs – saving you and your team valuable time by having your most important information available at a glance. Here is a little secret as well: you can have many more than two dashboard reports.

Dashboards give you better control and real-time visibility of your project – and this is your gift for Day 2. Wait until you see what we have for tomorrow…

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Linked Sections - A Simple Solution for Reusable Content

Linked Sections – A Simple Solution for Reusable Content

Lets start out with a definition of a linked section as we realize this may be a term you are not familiar with. Simply put, a linked section is any piece of content you would like to re-use and keep updated. Pretty straightforward but it is a constant source of frustration and mistakes when creating a document.


Using Color in your Documents

Using Color in your Documents

Just how colorful should your professional business documents or proposals be? How much color is too much color? Are you using color to effectively highlight key points are are you splashing color everywhere in hopes of making a poorly worded document seem more interesting or valuable? In the world of business documents color should be used as an emphasis tool and not as a flashy glittery show piece. Each color and section you use color in should have a specific goal and if using that splash of color is not helping reiterate that goal you should think twice about using it.


Make it easier for the information worker

Make it easier for the information worker

In a survey published by IDC in 2012, it states information workers waste a significant amount of time each week dealing with the variety of challenges related to working with documents. This wasted time costs the organization more than $19,000 a year per information worker.


Content Library

The Value of a Content Library

Is there a way to efficiently re-use content? That is a question we have heard over and over again throughout the years and the answer is yes, in XaitPorter its called a content library. Many times business documents tend to say the same thing or have the same sections that go in each documents much like an about us section, product descriptions, SLAs, or terms of service. Is copying and pasting really the best way to solve this issue? Lets take a look at 3 key benefits of using a content library.


How do You Extract Insight from Information?

We can all admit that most of us are drowning in data and we have long moved passed the days of “data” being the end game. Today, we all have the “data” we could ever need and our endgame is now learning how to extract the information we want from that data. So how do you use the information you have to make meaningful and important business decisions?

Understand Your Data Sources


How do You Ensure Data Quality

How do You Ensure Data Quality?

Data quality is becoming a prime concern for companies of all sizes, not just the big boys who have traditionally always dealt with these issues. In today’s business environment everything a company does is tracked and measured, the sheer quantity of information available can quickly become overwhelming and at worst, forgotten about or even lost.

Our Data is Safe and Secure… Right?