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

That which is measured, improves

Posted by Nick Angell on 8. November 2013 09:55


Back in the summer, we decided to implement a new online support system to further improve our customer service offering. A key requirement was to provide 24 hour access as our clients operate in different time zones.

Having reviewed upwards of 10 different options over a three month period, we landed upon SysAid.  One of the key features of SysAid is that it gives our customers the opportunity to answer questions, or rectify problems themselves via for example, FAQs and an online knowledge base.

By empowering the customer, we have given them the tools to, in some cases, fix the issue themselves before even needing to raise the incident.  If they are unable to find a fix, the system points them to the information they need to send us in order for the query to be resolved quickly and efficiently, cutting out “email tennis” and saving valuable time.

Now it’s nice when I get in in the morning to see that when an incident was raised during the night, the supporting information (screenshots, log files) is already included, as well as the customer setting the urgency of the incident (so helping me prioritise internally).

Our knowledge base (FAQ) now has some 30+ articles, which given the technical nature of the support calls, is a good number.  They’ll always be a limit to the number of article simply because the incidents we encounter the most relate to document corruptions and environmental issues. 

But the purpose of these articles is to get the maximum information from the start of the incident, so the question is how do we make sure we’re asking for, or providing the client with the right information?

What we’re trying to do is monitor our direct email questions, spot trends and create articles based on these. SysAid enables us to tag each article, prompting the end user so that when logging an incident, they’re pointed towards any articles which match the incident criteria.

The knowledge base articles also record page views, which gives us some useful information on which articles are proving the most useful.

The news feed is also an area I like, from informing clients of a server/network outage to simply letting them know a patch has been released for PleaseReview.

This system is still in its infancy, but is an area I feel will only improve our customer service offering to the end user. Bottom line = if you’re happy, my CEO is happy. 

PleaseTech at Oracle OpenWorld

Posted by John Tanner on 26. September 2013 16:30

Our PleaseTech integration expert


As Oracle OpenWorld virgins our pre-show expectations were high, especially considering the sheer size of the event; and as proceedings draw to a close we certainly haven't been disappointed.  The four days have provided an excellent forum to share PleaseTech's products to a diverse range of business partners.  Most surprising has been the interest we have received in our integrations with non-Oracle document management solutions from Microsoft SharePoint to Documentum.

Special thanks also need to go to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who skipped his final keynote speech on Tuesday to attend the America's cup, giving attendees more time to experience the document collaboration benefits of PleaseReview.

 

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

PleaseTech releases PleaseReview v5.0 and keeps cool in the hot weather

Posted by Sarah Holden on 17. July 2013 13:35

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


There is always a certain amount of build-up prior to a new product release. This has certainly been the case for us here at PleaseTech. And in marketing, it’s always good to have something concrete to say. And it’s even better to be able to add ‘we’re the first’ which we can do – twice, following the release this week of PleaseReview v5.0, our collaborative document review solution.

We are the first to make it easier for busy people to catch up with the reviews waiting for their attention. The new offline tablet review (for iPad and Android) means you don’t have to be ‘connected’ to catch up. 

We are the first to help users collaborate to capture high level feedback on a document – from multiple participants, in real time, on the same feedback document. 

Ok, if you’re not involved in team reviews this may not matter to you - but to some it’s a big deal and will contribute to better productivity and better quality documents. For more detail on these and other enhancements do see our previous post or read the new release.

It is with a sense of relief for us all that the release is out the door and, now that the communication wheel is in motion and clients are already contacting us to upgrade their systems, minds are turning to the next project. That’s the thing about working for a dynamic technology company - people don’t stay still for long - there’s always more to do.

This continuous development cycle keeps us ahead of the curve and in recognition of this, we are proud to have been recently named a Gartner Cool Vendor in the social software and collaboration space. 

This accolade reflects our work ethic and some of our key success factors are recognized in their report:

- Identify opportunities early

- Offer the solution in a variety of deployment models (e.g. cloud, mobile, on-premise)

- Match new technology investments to user cases

- Continue to innovate

Why are we cool? Because, in Gartner’s words we “tackle long-standing coordination, collaboration and peer review challenges faced by teams every day regarding group writing, reviewing and editing documents in a way that transforms a complicated, burdensome experience into a  more efficient and controlled process”.

So, PleaseReview v5.0 is out of the door, but watch this space, v5.1 is already in development…  

 

Just layin' down some tracks....

Posted by Clare Beazley on 12. July 2013 11:40


Picture the scene, the offices of a software company deep in the heart of England. It's stopped raining.  The calm is then shattered when the CFO sends an instant message to her colleagues explaining why she is going to be away from her desk for an hour or so.  "I'm just off to the studio to lay down some tracks."  You can hear the stunned surprise across the ether.  Clare, an international pop star?  Actually no, I was just heading off to record the voiceover script for our new animated cartoon explaining, with humour, how PleaseReview helps solve the nightmare of document review.  And it was a first for me (not something that happens too often at my age), as I haven't even visited a recording studio, let alone been recorded.  So I spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in a local recording studio in the company of Dave, a professional and excellent sound engineer, and his recording gear, to record the script.  The only downside was having to listen to the playback of my voice as we reviewed each take.  Still, all makes a change from being an accountant...

Click on this link to view the new PleaseTech movie

 

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