PleaseTech blog

We aim to provide useful, pertinent and sometimes fun insights into the world of document collaboration and the workings of a technology company

Using PleaseReview to make the impossible possible

Posted by Jason Webb on 25. February 2014 14:14

Integrations Manager


When PleaseReview was originally designed we had a vision of making document review a simpler and less painful process for those involved. The initial concept was of small tight-knit groups of 6-15 people reviewing a small number of documents, but thankfully we engineered it without technical limits and as PleaseReview has grown as a product, so have our end user requirements.
 
I was recently working with a life sciences company, and was slightly surprised to find them routinely undertaking reviews containing up to 170 documents and with 100+ reviewers. To put this in perspective, if each document was printed out for each person to work on this would result in a stack of paper roughly 590 feet or 180 meters high: twice the height of the Statue of Liberty and half as tall as the Eiffel Tower!
 
 
This volume of data is impossible to review using almost any other mechanism due to both the number of reviewers and the number of documents (and associated comments and changes) involved: the 'traditional'  email and Word track changes functionality would be chaos and a PDF based approach would require massive effort to consolidate the comments and changes and provide the associated reports. In real time applications, such as Google Docs or Office 365 (quite apart from the issues this would create by hosting high value intellectual property documents), the anarchy caused by hundreds of users making uncontrolled edits to hundreds of documents doesn't even bear thinking about!
 
The only possible way to review such large document sets is using PleaseReview. 
 
So when I asked one of the business users if she thought PleaseReview was important to her job,  she immediately responded with "No, it's CRITICAL to our process now".
 
Now, that's job satisfaction!
 
 
If you would like to know more how our customers use PleaseReview, please take a look at some of our case studies.
 

Cloud File Sharing And The Art of Document Collaboration

Posted by PleaseTech Guest on 6. February 2014 16:01

Our guest blogger is...


Andrew Barnes, independent marketing consultant

My first experience of cloud based file sharing was as a personal user of Dropbox several years ago. As the owner of a shiny new iPad I needed to be able to transfer content between the device and my main laptop. Dropbox proved ideal.

My second encounter with cloud file sharing was not so successful. I was doing some work for a company that used a third-party cloud service as a file-sharing mechanism. I needed access to this repository, so they gave me login credentials.

I just downloaded the software to my laptop, logged in and started to access the content I needed. No training was required and everything was going well until my Macbook Air ran out of local disk space, and I wasn’t connected to the internet.

No problem I thought, I could delete the several GB of shared files that had been synched to my computer and all would be well.

As someone who has been in and around enterprise computing for the last 30 years I was astonished at what happened next. I got back on line and was blissfully unaware anything was wrong until various users started complaining that the “shared disk” was empty. It seemed my action of freeing disk space locally had synched to the cloud. No real harm was done but it was a lesson for the system administrator to think about the security and risk implications of cloud file sharing.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’m reminded again of risk, the importance of an audit trail, and the opportunity that can be gained by knowing who did what to documents.

There is no doubt that the facility for real-time editing of documents using applications like Google Docs can be very useful when used in small measure. There is equally no doubt that it can be a nightmare.

Allowing multiple people to “real-time collaborate” on a document will get very confusing. Keeping track of who did what, and having considered discussion of, and input into, the merits of a change can make for interesting conversations; especially if all the collaborators can’t be on-line at once.

To me such editing quickly has the same effect as many people talking at once. The dominant people (not necessarily the subject experts) take over, changes are made that may not be well considered and there may be little or no audit trail available. What’s worse is that if you are off-line you are out of it.

For some, document collaboration is a regulatory requirement. For others it is a productivity and consistency cornerstone of business and sales processes. In either case a structured approach is the only way to be confident in what is produced.

And the structured approach can provide unexpected value. With the right platform tracking who has worked on which documents can help build the profile of subject matter experts. Identifying who made the most contribution to sales proposals can pin-point deal champions. Investigating the effectiveness of partners in the review process can cement relationships, or identify room for improvement.

So yes, cloud file sharing has its place, but before diving in on a large scale, think about your needs from the document collaboration process, what outputs you expect and how well you can demonstrate adherence to regulation.

PleaseTech and Oracle® introduce WebCenter Content’s new collaborative document review capabilities

Posted by Sarah Holden on 24. January 2014 10:10

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


It’s been a couple of weeks since we announced our PleaseTech integration with Oracle’s WebCenter Content ECM platform. We are now following that up by hosting a brief webinar to demonstrate both what this partnership brings and how it works.

Oracle’s WebCenter Content allows businesses to not only consolidate and manage their documents and content from a central platform, but now has the added capability to address a very specific, yet prolific business issue. How to collaboratively edit, review and co-author a document at the same time as others, whilst maintaining control over the document, management over the process and adherence to corporate compliance requirements. Oh, and making it easy to do, too!

The webinar will be presented by PleaseTech CEO, Dave Cornwell and Senior Principal, Product Management, Oracle.

So simply sign up! LINK to webinar page.

Webinar: Collaborative document review within Oracle WebCenter Content

Thursday January 30th, 2014: 12 noon, EST / 9am PST / 5pm GMT

Duration: 30 minutes

 

We look forward to you joining us next week.

Integrating PleaseReview with Oracle WebCenter Content

Posted by John Tanner on 22. January 2014 11:06

Our PleaseTech integration expert


When setting out on developing the integration of WebCenter Content with PleaseReview, our primary aims were the same as with other PleaseReview document management integrations. We wanted to develop a seamless solution which would allow all of the controlled collaboration benefits of PleaseReview to be available from within WebCenter Content without the user having to log into a separate system.  In addition, we wanted to make it possible for existing PleaseReview users already familiar with the User Interface, to be able to log into it using their WebCenter Content Credentials and carry out reviews using WebCenter documents and WebCenter Users as Participants.

In order to achieve these aims it was necessary to develop three separate components, which together work hand-in-hand to join WebCenter Content and PleaseReview....

Firstly a custom WebCenter Content Component was created in order to update the WebCenter Content user interface to include new PleaseReview menu items and custom inbox pages in the style of the WebCenter Content instance, for users with the appropriate permissions.  The result was a custom component that can easily be deployed and configured to work with PleaseReview by a WebCenter Content administrator.

Next, a custom PleaseReview extension (or System Connector) specific to WebCenter Content was built to enable users to log into the PleaseReview UI using their WebCenter Credentials and to enable PleaseReview to be able to interact with WebCenter Content via its APIs, for purposes such as accessing documents, selecting users etc. This was built using the standard PleaseReview system connector structure, so as to simplify the deployment process.

Finally, in order to enable PleaseReview to obtain details of the PleaseReview specific users and groups administered from within WebLogic Admin Console, a WebLogic PleaseReview Connector was developed, which can simply be deployed as a Web Application on the WebLogic server on which WebCenter Content resides using the WebLogic AdminClient.

Putting these three components together we now have a solution which offers everything we initially set out to do, making a seamless collaborative review process possible from within WebCenter Content.  

For anyone interested in finding out more about this integration and the collaborative document review capabilities within WebCenter Content, please join us for our complimentary webinar on January 30th- just sign up here

 

Looking back at 2013 and forward to 2014

Posted by David Cornwell on 7. January 2014 10:07

Founder/CEO of PleaseTech Ltd - collaborative document review and co-authoring for the enterprise.


I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year. Welcome to 2014. 

As is traditional, the first part of my January blog is somewhat repetitive as I say that the previous year was yet another successful one for PleaseTech with revenue growth, new clients and some great product enhancements! 

2013 revenue growth over 2012 was approximately 10%. Whilst that figure may seem disappointing in light of previous growth figures, it masks a much higher underlying sales growth reflected by our annual recurring revenue being up 25%. 2013 brought us a total of 21 new corporate clients.

We remain profitable and continue to retain a healthy cash balance. Given that we now employ more people and have further recruiting plans (meaning ever increasing projected overheads), this remains an excellent position to be in.

With approximately 80% of 2013 sales, the trend of Life Sciences being our largest sector continues and, once again, North America is our largest market accounting for 66% of all sales. This is a slight decrease from previous years following an increase in business with European customers.

In terms of product, 2013 saw the release of PleaseReview v5.0. Key enhancements included:

— An enhanced user interface

— The feedback capability which can be used both to capture high level feedback on a document set and thoughts and ideas to help with team brainstorming

— Flight mode. It's now possible to review Word documents offline on your tablet (Android and iPad) and then upload to the master review when back online

— User types to control the functionality available to reviewers according to the level of sophistication required

— Simplified licensing to take into account added product capabilities. 

From a customer service point of view, we continue to get excellent feedback on our support. For example, a recent customer commented: “Sadly, the sense of true customer service is lost on many vendors we do business with; we are happy to see that PleaseTech ‘gets it’.”

2013 was the year we 'landed' on the industry analysts radar and were recognized as thought leaders in the document review and collaboration space. Ovum, Info-Tech, Osterman Research and the Bloor Group all covered us and, to top it off, there was the Gartner 'Cool Vendor' award. I'm sure that our continuing understanding of the critical and ubiquitous business process of document review and how PleaseReview responds to this will continue to attract the analysts' attention.

As we continue to develop partner relations, we released a PleaseReview integration with Oracle WebCenter Content and achieved Oracle Gold Partner status. Work on other integrations and partnerships has been a constant theme of 2013 and continues into the new year.

So, looking back I think we can be proud of what we achieved in 2013. 

What can we expect in 2014?

Well, from our perspective the answer is: more of the same.  We will continue to work hard and deliver excellent software. 

There is increased optimism about the global economy which can only be a good thing. Given the high reliance we have on US dollar denominated sales, the volatility in the dollar/sterling exchange rate over the last 12 months remains a business risk that we need to manage, but isn't a threat to the fundamentals of our business.

We will continue to expand our presence in Life Sciences by working with new and existing partners, but 2014 should also bring to fruition the work we have been doing on some exciting new opportunities in new market sectors with new partners. Watch out for announcements over the course of the year.

We have PleaseReview v5.1 coming towards the end of its development phase with the test phase starting shortly. I’ll be devoting a whole blog post to v5.1 later in January so watch this space. Work has already started on v6.0 and we have no shortage of ideas and requests for enhancements. 2014 will also see further development of PleaseCompose.

So, from a business perspective, it’s ‘steady as she goes’ or in other words ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. 

From a personal perspective a year wouldn’t be the same without a physical challenge or two. Nothing major is planned yet but in the meantime I have signed up for the South Wales Three Peaks Trial Platinum walk at the end of March which is a 17 mile walk with a total ascent of 5,000 feet.

That will keep me focused for now!

 

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