How Document Version Control Can Sink or Save You


02/05/2016

We've all seen stories like this one: In 2013 a typo in a Macy's ad listed a $1500 necklace for sale at $47 instead of the intended price of $479. With ads like this going through various levels of approval before publication, it makes you wonder how mistakes like this happen. When firms have multiple people working on one project, unless they are properly managing that input they can produce errors that aren't caught before publication. Such errors can be costly to your clients. Stories like the Macy's ad highlight the need for easy collaboration and version control in your document management software.

Many Hands Make Version Control a Necessity

To explore this idea, let's look at a hypothetical scenario in which improper version control leads to a published mistake, costing a parent company revenue. Company A is a financial firm producing an ad for the public. To comply with industry regulations, the ad needs to be reviewed by a number of people, including compliance officers. Whoever is coordinating production of the ad has to keep track of all comments, annotations, and changes to the advertisement, and those changes need to be reflected in the final version.

Document version control can save your company from financial and legal issues

If Company A doesn't use document management software that includes collaboration tools that aid in version control, mistakes can go unnoticed. In the case of Macy's, the price went unnoticed; in Company A, perhaps a valid stock symbol is used in artwork. In both of these scenarios, the companies face financial, and perhaps even regulatory, repercussions for their mistakes. So what can Company A do to mitigate these sort of risks?

Collaboration and Version Control

Software that allows multiple users to make annotations and comments into one master document greatly reduces the chance that version control will be an issue. When all changes are kept within a single document, it is quick and easy for reviewers to compare the final and original pieces. This creates a proofing redundancy, so even if one reviewer misses a correction, other reviewers have a chance to spot and correct the mistake.

Does your software incorporate collaboration tools for easy version control? If you're like many software developers, you're strapped for the time and money it takes to add new features to your existing software. If this is the case, a third-party software provider may be the answer. Third-party code libraries are everywhere these days, and there are many companies offering collaboration tools. If you're thinking about using third-party code in your applications, here are some important factors to consider:

Company and Product Security
  • Ensure the product you integrate into your software comes from a safe and reliable provider.
  • Research companies and ask questions about products to be sure the company you choose meets your security needs.
Product Versatility
  • Does the solution meet your current and future needs?
  • Look for a product’s release history.

The toolkits you use should be flexible enough to do what you need them to do, even if you change your application. Finding software that is updated regularly with the newest features will let your applications grow without needing major revamps.

Proactive Support
  • Are your framework and platform supported?
  • How detailed is the documentation?
  • What methods of support does the company provide?
  • Can you try the product prior to purchasing?

Documentation, maintenance, stability, and tech support are all important factors when sourcing your third-party code provider. Make sure the product you choose has the right documentation to allow you to implement the tool quickly and easily.

Are you developing a document management application? Check out PrizmDoc.

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