A Guide to Document Comparison, Collaboration & Security
©2010 Osterman Research, Inc. 3
ABOUT THIS GUIDE
This guide focuses on the key challenges in managing documents in today’s companies andlooks at the technology that is helping organizations with document comparison, metadataremoval, and content security. This guide also discusses key questions that decision makersshould ask as they develop business practices and deploy technologies to resolve them.
What are the Key Challenges in Managing Documents?
MULTI-PARTY REVIEW AND MODIFICATION/VERSION CONTROL
Collaboration has become the byword of the modern organization and will become moreimportant as organizations become more distributed and more dependent on teams to manageprojects. A key element of any collaborative process is the ability to create, review and publishdocuments of various types easily and efficiently.However, many collaborative tools today lack a variety of important features that are necessary toensure a seamless document creation and modification process:
Arguably one of the most critical challenges in any collaborative document process is versioncontrol. The issue is exacerbated by the use of email as a file transport mechanism, as wellas by the sometimes large number of users that often participate in the document editingprocess. While the “track changes” feature available in virtually all word processors is ofsome help, it does little to solve the underlying version control issue with which most usersmust contend. For example, sending documents for review via email cannot ensure thatreviewers will use “Track Changes” or make edits to the latest version of a document,resulting in frequent modification of old versions and extra work in reconciling multiple, editedversions.
Accurate document comparison
The ability to accurately compare different versions of a document is critical, particularly forsensitive documents like contracts, proposals, statements of work and the like. This isespecially true for documents in which the legal and/or regulatory consequences formisstatements can be severe. A “good enough” comparison that misses details likecomplicated formatting or table cell changes can have damaging consequences.
Managing multiple document formats
There can be difficulties in ensuring compatibility between multiple document formats,especially when different versions of the same software are used in an organization (e.g., thedifference in file format between Microsoft Word 2007 and Word 2003), not to mention whendifferent vendors’ software is used. For example, the typical user today will create or be sent.doc, .docx, .rtf and .pdf files. Resolving the differences between file types and allowingindividuals to access and modify documents regardless of the software they use is vital toensuring employee productivity.
Ease of use
If a system is not easy to use, employees simply will not use it. Consequently, the difficultyinherent in using many content control solutions will keep employees from utilizing them,negating much of the value the organization had hoped to realize by deploying the system.Solutions that are easy to use and leverage your existing software tools and infrastructureinvestments will increase adoption and limit training costs.