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

A medical writer's perspective of PleaseReview

Posted by Sarah Holden on 16. December 2013 12:09

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


Recently we attended a conference for medical writers. Whilst there, we were visited by a medical writer who works for a US biopharmaceutical company. She is a regular user of our collaborative review and co-authoring solution, PleaseReview. It is gratifying to hear first-hand how PleaseReview helps with what can otherwise be an arduous task. From her point of view, working with others on the many documents regularly produced within both the clinical and regulatory groups means the task of consolidating everyone’s changes into one copy is a major activity- requiring time, patience and great people skills! PleaseReview has made this much easier- she no longer has to play referee, reviewers no longer operate in a vacuum and the time gained equates to significant cost savings.

We have written up a short case study detailing her experience to elaborate the benefits medical writers can expect, so if interested, please take a look

On another note, as we approach the end of the year, we continue on the theme of our Christmas countdown. Today, we celebrate the  newly expanded PleaseTech blog which is a continuation of the blog started by out CEO, Dave Cornwell, but now includes contributions from other team members and guest bloggers as well as being easy to find at www.blog.pleasetech.com.

 

PleaseReview continues to be a product that stands alone in its functionality and power...

Posted by Sarah Holden on 26. November 2013 13:56

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


An article featuring a recent independent evaluation of PleaseReview has just been published by DM Magazine, a UK publication specializing in document and enterprise content management technologies. The article covers the product's newest enhancements following its major v5.0 release and also the strategy behind its development. In my opinion, it make for good reading, and so have included it verbatim here!

Written by Dave Tyler, Editor, Document Manager Magazine

We first looked at PleaseReview a couple of years ago, at which time it was already on its way to becoming established as a unique and powerful tool: whether reviewing or co-authoring documents within a department, across the enterprise (inside or outside the firewall) or with customers, partners and suppliers, PleaseReview expedites the process within its secure, structured and controlled environment. .

The product is now effectively the de facto standard 'tool for the job' in the Life Sciences marketplace. The company claims that what it describes as 'document-centric collaboration' is set to grow steadily over the next few years, driven by a combination of tightened economic strictures and an increased need for better collaboration.

The newest version of PleaseReview, v5.0 boasts a significantly enhanced interface, with a far cleaner look and feel that fits neatly into the current Windows environment - including tight integration with SharePoint 2007/2010/2013. Support for mobile users has been present since 2011, but the new version also includes a useful offline mode, which enables users to review documents while on a plane, for instance, using a zero-footprint client that works as well on tablets as on laptops.

PleaseTech has a clear strategy for the development of this product which they describe as 'Beyond Review', a key element of which is to better support enterprise rollout. The enhanced mobile/flight mode is part of this, as is the excellent SharePoint integration and improved user interface. Users are now presented with a window that looks much more like a Word document (which is of course the office tool that most will be using on a regular basis). Other minor but thoughtful enhancements include a countdown timer to remind users of when a document needs to be reviewed by, and nicely modernised toolbars that suit the current Windows user experience.

Another important innovation is the introduction of Feedback management, allowing the capture of high level feedback on a document (or document sets): this gives a whole new level of functionality to those who utilise PleaseReview on bids, proposals and similar documents. The reporting capabilities of the software have often been a key selling point according to PleaseTech, and the Feedback improvements can only help their cause, as well as helping them address their desire to move across the enterprise.

Another enterprise-class enhancement is in the configurability of the product itself. Intuitive administrator menus allow for the setup of different views and capabilities for different levels of user. For example, casual users can have a more simplified interface than regular users. There have also been improvements to ReviewZones which control who can comment where in Word documents. Less senior staff might only be able to view and comment on specific paragraphs that are relevant to their business unit, for instance, while project managers are given far more control and wider access.

Version 5 is a major step forward from the software we looked at just a couple of years ago in terms of configurability, user interface and reporting and management. V5.1, promised for early 2014, is intended to take PleaseTech's stated aim of 'Beyond Review' even further, with more specialist review tools and unique functionality. 
More info: www.pleasetech.com 


VERDICT
PleaseReview continues to be a product that stands alone in its functionality and power, while broadening its appeal to additional market sectors and presenting itself as an enterprise-ready tool - mobile enhancements are a particularly nice touch.

 

 

PleaseTech announces PleaseReview integration with Oracle WebCenter Content

Posted by Sarah Holden on 14. November 2013 16:09

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


We are very pleased to announce that after lots of hard work we can safely say that PleaseReview™ now brings its specialist collaborative review and co-authoring capabilities within reach of Oracle® WebCenter Content customers.

Following on from our earlier announcement that we had achieved Oracle PartnerNetwork gold level partner status, we have successfully completed PleaseReview's integration with Oracle's WebCenter Content ECM platform. This extends our current partner portfolio with other leading document and content management systems, and more integrations are underway.

PleaseReview is a natural fit with Oracle WebCenter Content as it brings its specialist collaborative review and co-authoring capabilities to those organizations who chose Oracle's ECM platform to help lower costs, reduce risks and improve business productivity. Indeed, as PleaseReview is proven to deliver significant cost and time savings and is easy to use, the ROI becomes quickly obvious. 

Additionally, as PleaseReview seamlessly accesses Oracle WebCenter Content's document repository, users can easily locate and participate in reviews from their WebCenter Content interface. Simultaneous access to the review, control over who can do what to where, comment and change reconciliation, automated consolidation of proposed changes and comments, owner management and control and comprehensive reporting are some of the features  they will benefit from.

For more information, please visit our website, read the news release or contact us.

 

 

The SharePoint dichotomy

Posted by Sarah Holden on 18. October 2013 10:37

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


Now, more than ever, ‘collaboration’ is the buzz word of the day as key analysts and other thought leaders extoll its virtues.  Ben Hecht in the Harvard Business Review recently wrote that ‘collaboration is the new competition’ and going one step further, Gartner point out ‘IT leaders have opportunities to deliver business value in the area collaboration’.

SharePoint is perhaps one of the most prolific ‘collaborative platforms.  Eighteen months ago we published a whitepaper entitledDocument Review and SharePoint Document Collaboration', which asked SharePoint customers what they thought about its collaborative capabilities and whether being known as the ‘business collaboration platform’ lived up to its reputation with regard to the collaborative authoring and review process.

It found that whilst respondents were broadly satisfied with their document review solutions, further questioning revealed many issues.  Whilst the term collaboration was widely used, in reality expectations were low. This demonstrated that in the SharePoint community, education was still required.

So we decided to ask since this research, and three years on from the launch of SharePoint 2010, how have user expectations evolved as the platform has become more prolific?  What is the reality of document collaboration in the workplace?  Is there still a mismatch between what SharePoint users need and what they have?  Have opinions on SharePoint’s collaborative capabilities changed?

We surveyed 276 companies in order to find out the answers to these questions.

Ultimately, are businesses deriving value from their collaborative tools?

Want to know what we found out?  Sign up to a 30 minute webinar, hosted by PleaseTech CEO Dave Cornwell on Tuesday October 22nd.

Simply click this link.

 

 

 

 

Not another email attachment to review (the options)

Posted by Sarah Holden on 19. August 2013 12:00

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


How much effort does it take to produce all the documents that you work with? It’s a question I had rarely considered before joining PleaseTech. But faced with the mass of documentation businesses produce: policies, procedures, manuals, reports, product specs, proposals, marketing collateral (you get the drift)… and then understanding that creating these usually requires significant editing and review before final publication - usually with the input of multiple people – I now ’get’ the need for PleaseReview. 

Previously, as an independent marketing consultant, I used the ‘traditional’ manual review methods. Whilst tradition is a wonderful thing in some circumstances, in this case it is inefficient and costly. Email and tracked changes is fine if it's a ‘one-to-one’ situation. But, as soon as there are more than two people involved it becomes ‘tricky’, if not downright challenging.

Here I consider some of the alternatives available for the collaborative editing and reviewing of business documents and put forward the case that you should use the right tools if you want the job done properly - and as a result, get a better return in terms of money and time saved.

The typical document production process is a workflow that involves a few individuals or at times teams of participants. It goes something like this:

After the document has been drafted, it’s made available to one or more persons for editing (co-authoring) and review. The more extensive the document, the more people that typically become involved. This collaborative process may be repeated several times before a document is considered final. 

Organizations will typically use one of the following methods to carry this out:

Manual – Our research confirms most organizations use manual processes for document review. They muddle through by managing email attachments, copying and pasting edits into original documents, undergoing multiple review cycles, working with several document versions and may even attend several review meetings. 

Time consuming. Frustrating. Unproductive.

Generic online approaches  These are readily available and a step beyond email attachments. Examples include: Adobe Acrobat's shared PDF review and Google Drive. People can access the document online, at the same time which means time saved and fewer review cycles required.

However, solutions such as these have multiple drawbacks.  Things to look out for: do changes still have to be manually incorporated into the original document? Are users able to overwrite others' changes? Are metrics and other review activity captured in a report? Is there any review management? Does it support Word formatting and styles (the most popular document type) and are there any document confidentiality issues (as the document is hosted in the cloud)?

PDF is very popular, but annotations are extremely visual and could overwhelm the document owner:

Business collaboration platforms  These include systems such as Microsoft SharePoint (read our whitepaper), Open Text Content Server and EMC Documentum. Whilst providing a broad range of business collaboration tools, they cannot be expected to meet all the criteria required for a fully functioning, controlled collaborative editing and review solution. Co-authoring is an ‘after you ….. no, after you, I insist’ situation based on 'check-in, check-out', whilst review is typically PDF based. In our experience, document authors and reviewers quickly develop manual workarounds which take us full circle back to email attachments!  

Then there is PleaseReview. After three years at PleaseTech I understand why PleaseReview flourishes. It takes a specialist approach to the issue. Recognizing that many organizations have to meet strict regulatory, compliance or corporate standards it is designed specifically to control and manage the entire review process. It does this by:

  • making the document available in a secure, controlled and collaborative environment 
  • providing owner management and control
  • delivering specialist functionality including automatic change consolidation, easy reconciliation of comments and comprehensive reporting
  • catering for various document types such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF 
  • offering offline and tablet review. 

The associated benefits can be summarized by improved performance – such as reduced review costs, increased time savings, greater employee efficiency and accountability, better quality documents and high user satisfaction. 


For more information on PleaseTech's collaborative review and co-authoring solution, visit: www.pleasetech.com

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