What is a Document Manager without Version History?
By Joe Miller
Document Manager and Version History
In previous articles I have discussed the usefulness of a document manager, such as groupware, in organizing document sharing. I have also discussed the role that a Version History plays in a good document manager. In this article I wish to elaborate on Version History and its ability to make or break your document manager. The reason a document manager benefits so much from Version History is that Version History presents a visual flow chart of the editorial process any document has gone through. The who, what, when, where, and how are all answered.
Having Version History as one of your document manager tools creates a three-point advantage in document collaboration, advantages that take businesses to a higher level of efficiency, organization, and communication.
Ad Hoc Management
Business communication and document collaboration move too quickly with the ease of Microsoft Outlook and other email communication, where any presentation or document can be shot back and forth between any number of parties any number of times. Because of the simplicity of this process, it is difficult for a document manager to track all of the editorial changes made to documents without Version History. In other words, the jumble of unordered, chronologically challenged changes are difficult, if not impossible to organize without Version History. Version History helps to present a chronological order of ad hoc business. A document manager that uses Version History will be able to work the way your business does.
As I mentioned before, as document versions are sent back and forth in no particular order, a document manager can only do so much without the help of Version History. Eventually deadlines fall due, and the various document versions need to be organized before they are brought together into one final draft. The most common process for organizing attached drafts is to dig through your email box and hard drive to collect all of the drafts and to sort them by date. Then, you ask everyone else to do the same and send them to you. Once all of the information comes back to you, you have to go over the same process again, this time deleting duplicate files. Already, too much time has been spent referencing all of the document changes. Version History references documents immediately upon request, displaying exactly where documents were sent, when they were sent, and how versions relate to each other. Version History helps to create a document manager that works for you.
Digital Thread Technology
Every tool a document manager utilizes has its own tricks. Version History is no exception. What is its trick? Digital Thread Technology. As a document is created, whether a budget plan, a marketing presentation, or a legal contract, Digital Thread Technology inserts tracking information into the metadata of the electronic document. This allows the document to be tracked over various email boxes and drives, even if the document has been sent to individuals who do not use your document manager. Digital Thread Technology literally threads each draft together like beads on a necklace, enabling Version History to create a simple and informative flow chart of your documentís draft genealogy.