One of the problems of collaborating on documents is figuring out who has the latest version. How many times are you working with a group and you spend as much time asking who has the latest copy as working on the document?
Our current hybrid and mobile working environments make it even harder, since people time shift schedules and work almost anywhere and anytime. Finding and using the latest documents is always a problem since most of us use numerous devices and can’t always be sure what’s current.
It’s not just wasting time. It’s also wasting money.
You might lose a deal if you need to create a sales proposal and can’t get it to your customer on time. If you manufacture products and have outdated specs, you have to spend money on rework.
This only gets worse if you have a lot of people who provide input to your document.
Traditional document and content management platforms provide some of the answers to these problems. But they only work inside their system. If someone opens a document, edits it, and checks it in, your system should update the document version. You might get a notification that a user updated the document so you know it changed.
But if you download a document, edit it locally, and share it with a colleague, you just broke the system. The next person looking for the document will have the wrong information. And worse, they don’t even know it.
A better approach is to use content virtualization which doesn’t rely on the location of your document to manage it. It always provides up-to-date content regardless of document location. If you have the document on your desktop, in email, or stored in the cloud, when you next open it, you will have the latest version.
Get Rid of ROT
Along with not finding the latest version of a document, another problem collaborators face is multiple versions all over the place. You might have a document on your laptop, your tablet, and even another desktop somewhere. Some people want to store documents on cloud services or local file shares, and after a while, you have outdated and redundant documents everywhere. Trying to sort all this out becomes a nightmare.
By tracking all copies of a file, you can easily find redundant versions. Your files are never outdated. The moment you open one, the latest version appears. Each document has a tracking and synchronization identifier so all files know what version they are no matter their location.
Another issue is limiting who can view or edit a file as people collaborate. Just because you are on the same project team doesn’t mean you necessarily need the same access to all files. Sometimes certain people only need to view a document, while others may not need any access. If you rely on a location-based solution to assign permissions, this all falls apart when you move the file to another location.
Document owners should be able to assign permissions to a document and change it whenever the need arises. The next time someone opens the file, the new permissions are available immediately. If the document owner needs to remove access entirely, they can do it and it applies the next time someone opens the file.
Wrapsody in Action
So how does this work in practice? Let’s take a look at how Wrapsody can make collaborating easier.
Evie works in the strategic planning group of an electronics manufacturer. She participates in a project to streamline how the company brings products to market with the goal of reducing cost and time to market. Her manager launched a task force for the project to include herself and employees from sales, finance, marketing, manufacturing, and business strategy. Evie started developing a business plan for the project.
The members of the task force shared the initial versions of documents on market analysis, financial impact, and business strategy and updated documents were sent out as new versions became available. For an interim briefing to the leader of the task force, Evie had to aggregate the latest versions of the documents on her PC into the business plan.
Before updating the material, Evie had to verify she had the latest versions by checking emails and talking with the authors over the phone. About 30% of her time was spent consolidating the latest documents before the briefing, holding the briefing, and sharing feedback after the briefing. If the business plan changed before the final report, Evie needed to repeat all these steps.
Evie had a lot of challenges to overcome. First, she needed to minimize the time wasted sharing documents, managing versions, and preparing a report. Dozens of documents are shared among the members of the task force, so this could be difficult. As different members share different versions multiple times, the same documents may be stored repeatedly on different PCs. The document name itself may not indicate whether the document is the latest version. If there is a need to review the progress or hold a briefing, it will take a long time to aggregate the latest documents.
Evie needs to create an environment to efficiently manage documents for collaboration.
By using Wrapsody all members of the task force store the initial version of the business plan on their PC. They update the plan locally and when a new version is available, the leader opens it on her PC, reads the document, and adds comments, if needed. The members read the comments and make appropriate updates to their documents. No additional document sharing or aggregation process or briefing is necessary.
Wrapsody automatically synchronizes the latest version of the business plan to everyone’s device. Evie could edit the document on her laptop and later read it on her iPad. She can always be sure everyone has the latest version. This makes collaboration easy since the document is now the system of record.
Evie and the task force successfully reduced the cost of bringing products to market and cut cycle time by 40%. Using Wrapsody streamlined their process by making it easy to update their documents and ensuring each member of the task force had the latest version.
Learn more about how Wrapsody can break the cycle of confusion when collaborating with documents