What’s your problem? No really, we want to know. What are the problems you’re experiencing with your document review process? Do you have a higher number of documents to review, how are you reviewing those documents, is the process working well for you?
It’s these sort of questions we’ve been asking prospective customers at the shows we’ve been attending this year. At PleaseTech marketing HQ, it not only helps us get our messaging right, it also educates us so we can fully understand the inefficiencies of other review options (PDF, track changes with email, SharePoint, etc.) and why they don’t provide a completely effective review process.
Our latest research was gathered at the APMP Bid & Proposal Conference in Chicago in May of this year and highlighted something we’ve suspected for some time; that the document workload is increasing. For proposal professionals, this means the number of documents they have to review is getting bigger and bigger.
Fine if the size of your team is increasing in proportion to the number of documents. Or if you have a process in place to effectively manage the number of reviews coming across your desk, but our research suggests this isn’t the case.
Lots of color team reviewers don’t have simultaneous access to documents, nor can they review whenever, wherever and on any device. Frustratingly, this means they’re sat at their desk waiting for a colleague to finish working on a document before they can begin.
Many also say they’d like to know which of their changes do or don’t make the final draft, and associated rationale.
From the perspective of managing a review, document owners still have to merge several sets of changes into a master copy; they aren’t using a system which allows them to automatically incorporate all changes in one go.
Often reviews are delayed when people forget about deadlines, and people tell us that a system that sent out reminders would be seriously helpful. On the flip side, using a system that also showed each of the reviewers’ status on a review is also highlighted as being extremely useful by respondents.
We know from past research conducted at SharePoint conferences that people are using legacy tools to review documents and this is the same for proposal professionals – tools of the trade include PDF mark-up, track changes with email or shared drives, and even hard copy.
This amounts to proposals that miss deadlines; take far longer than necessary to complete; cost valuable work hours and causes inevitable disharmony amongst reviewers.
Every year, lots of new users come on board and start using PleaseReview. Some of them from our existing customer base who see their colleagues using our software and want a slice of the cake, others new customers who come to us via our website, or who we meet at shows. What they all have in common was a poor document review process, and the knowledge that there is a better way. As for the rest of you, hopefully our research will begin to help you understand and improve your own processes. We look forward to discussing it with you at one of the next shows we’re attending.