5 Benefits Of Using An Online Document Editor To Collaborate13 August, 2022
One of the main drawbacks of remote or hybrid-work models is the fact that it challenges decades’ worth of in-person practices — such as popping into a co-worker's cubicle to bounce ideas off each other and take notes on a scrap of paper.
However, there are now countless tools enabling teams to collaborate more efficiently than ever before. Large teams used to go back and forth for weeks and struggle to reach an agreement during review or co-authoring processes. Now, online document editors provide a way to streamline document sharing and editing, all while cutting costs, saving time, and increasing security for sensitive information.
Ahead, we’re exploring the top five benefits of using collaborative software for document editing and our experts’ recommendations for successful deployment. Read on.
How Online Document Editors Improve Collaboration
With cloud-based document collaboration, a writer or reviewer makes revisions, saves the updated document, and then shares it with the team by providing a link to the most recent version. This cloud-based process ensures that other contributors will review and revise only the latest version. Since the goal is to arrive at a finished document as soon as possible, cloud-based document collaboration saves time and is more efficient.
As an added plus, cloud-based editing provides auditing: each version of the document is tracked and saved, and an auditor can access a dashboard to review revisions, each with a date and the name of the contributor. This change-tracking feature is essential for industries like law, M&A, life sciences, and others where third-party regulators require an audit trail.
Allows For True Collaboration
The efficiency of cloud-based document collaboration is an improvement over traditional collaborations using native document editing software like Microsoft Word. In native document sharing, a contributor makes revisions, saves the updated document, shares it by email, then waits for a reply from team members. Since each collaborator operates as a silo, this approach often generates multiple versions of the same document: the original, which is downloaded and saved; a contributor’s revised version, which is saved, then shared, then saved by each collaborator.
Native document editing collaborations are by nature less time-efficient. More importantly, this approach can easily result in stakeholders making redundant or contradicting revisions. Someone – often the author of the original version or someone assigned as editor – has the task of sorting through the multiple saved Word docs to determine the final version of the document. While the editor can generate an audit report, the process is often manual and time-consuming.
By comparison, cloud-based collaboration provides a single file for all stakeholders to access simultaneously. Everyone is looking at the exact same information and working collaboratively on it. This simple, intuitive approach keeps the team informed, aligned, and moving faster and more efficiently to the goal of a completed document.
Is More Secure
A potential downside of native document editing is the backup process. While a cloud-based document editor saves each file in the cloud, a collaborator using native document editing software may be saving each version to a local storage destination.
A brown-out, cup of water spilled on a keyboard, or another mishap can wipe out hours of work and slow down the entire document editing process.
And from a security point of view, document editing in which each contributor is saving to a local source means that the security of the entire enterprise becomes dependent on the quality of a contributor’s storage source – which is why hackers look for “.doc” and “.exe” files.
With cloud-based document editing, files are saved in real time to a secure location with multiple levels of encryption. Nothing gets lost. All a contributor needs to do is log in using his or her password.
Requires A Simpler Setup
An enterprise content management system is often large and complex, requiring the work of experts to develop and install and hours of training before content collaborators are up to speed. The prospect of making a system overhaul to add a document editor is daunting and likely expensive, especially for large teams, some of whom are in remote locations and using multiple operating systems.
A better approach is to use a dedicated third-party online document editor that provides document collaboration and editing functions without the need to change the enterprise content management system. The document editing software is easy to install and training needs are minimal – so your enterprise will gain the benefits of faster and more efficient content editing without the costs.
Want to see how CollabLoop can improve document editing? Schedule a demo.
Makes Scaling Easy
By using a document collaboration platform, you can easily increase or decrease your storage based on the files your team is working on. This makes file organization easier and more efficient. Team members can find the documents they need without having to find the author or track down the most recent versions.
Besides, onboarding a new team member is as easy as creating a profile for them in the document editing software and giving them access. On the flip side, offboarding them is as simple as removing this account — and all data is safely backed in the cloud with no risk of getting lost by a computer reboot, or accidentally deleted.
CollabLoop simplifies the onboarding and offboarding process and allows you to scale as needed. As your team grows, you can add seats to your subscription and invite users to join existing workspaces and access documents by granting them permission to view, comment, edit, or download. Plus, all the data is stored in your company account — not their individual profile —, so any changes to your team won’t impact your documents.
4 Tips for Online Document Editor Collaborations
Make Use of Company Accounts Mandatory
A common mistake we see is that teams send invites to the staff’s personal email out of convenience. But you don’t want corporate data on people’s devices — period. Using personal emails in work environments is a high-risk move you should avoid at all costs.
The first step to secure online collaboration is using company emails and accounts to acquire the licenses for the document editing software to prevent breaches and security risks. This is especially important for industries like banking, life sciences, and others where compliance and data protection are paramount.
Use Secure Sharing Options
One of the main challenges for online collaboration is sharing documents with a large group of people without risking the document’s integrity. To achieve this, you’ll need to give each stakeholder the exact access they need to do their part.
Furthermore, be mindful of who you’re inviting to collaborate on the document and only invite people who truly have a role in the process. If you want someone to see the document without participating in its creation, you can wait for the collaborative process to end and share a final version.
Simply put, use the range of role-based sharing permissions available in your online document editor to limit people’s ability to view, comment/suggest, edit, print, download or reshare the file. Operating on a need-to-know basis allows you to keep more strict control over your information.
In CollabLoop, protecting sensitive or proprietary information is simple. Limit a user’s access by sharing specific sections — by redacting any sensitive information you don’t want them to access — or an entire document and set a level of permissions to the file for individual users to rest assured that no one is overstepping their role within the document.
Create Standard Operating Procedures For Collaboration
Before collaboration begins, set clear expectations of how the process will go. This can be done by ranking priorities or developing a step-by-step workflow to prevent issues from arising.
Depending on your organization, the parties involved can include the author, peer reviewers, researchers, subject matter experts, an editor or proofreader, and a board that has the final approval. You’ll want to share the document following the rank of those involved — so the researchers and subject matter experts would come before the editor, and the board would get the final version.
This approach saves time for everyone involved and prevents valuable information from getting lost in the process.
Track All The Changes
Lastly, you want to ensure that every change is accounted for in your document. And most importantly, you’ll want to be able to identify the user making each change. Version tracking increases accountability and keeps everyone aligned throughout the process.
We’re not talking about tracking changes until someone decides to accept them. That’s not an audit trail — that’s just a scratch pad! A full audit trail includes not only the changes but also the chronology of changes so it’s possible to recreate how the document evolved from one version to another.
CollabLoop’s built-in audit trails make it a breeze to track any views, comments, or changes made in a document throughout the collaborative process. Company and site administrators can access these audit trail reports at any time.