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good ideas for document controlAdvice is something that can be easily found online for virtually anything you can think of. Whether the advice being offered is useful or not is another question.

I recently came across an article offering 3 tips to do document control better that in theory sounded like something I could point our readers to, to help them better their document control work. The issue with the article is that the tips assume that there is no way to automate or otherwise properly address common document control issues and instead makes suggestions as to how to take half measures to resolve them.

Instead of critiquing the article, I’ll instead refer to the 3 tips offered in the article and explain how DocBoss addresses each:

Tip #1: Assign Ownership

The article suggests “assigning” one person to “own” the documents so that they are the only person allowed to make changes to them.  This is a good suggestion if you work for a small company with a small number of projects and only have one location. If you’re a large company with multiple projects occurring at any given time and have staff around the world in different timezones, this strategy won’t work. I imagine it also assumes people can follow instructions and won’t make changes when they aren’t allowed to.

The real issue here is controlling documents which is the whole point of document control in the first place, not limiting your productivity. DocBoss offers four levels of usesr to automatically give certain permissions to staff so that only certain people can perform certain tasks. For example, only a Full User can set up and edit projects and create submittals with DocBoss. Other levels of users also have their own permissions specified so you don’t have to worry about unauthorized people making changes to documents because they can’t. But by giving people certain permissions, each person working on the project can do their work as needed at anytime during the day, anywhere in the world. Plus DocBoss also tracks all changes and who made them automatically.

Tip #2: Use Technology Correctly

The article suggests that technology should be used to better document control work but then gives Sharepoint as the example of technology to use, an application that wasn’t designed specifically for document control and still forces you to do the work manually.

DocBoss automates many of the tasks that non-document control specific applications like Excel and Sharepoint force you to do manually and that create many of the issues that we’re trying to address in the first place! So the tip really shouldn’t be Use Technology Correctly but rather Use The Correct Technology Correctly.

Tip #3: Remember to Communicate

This tip suggests manually sending emails and other methods of communication to project members to let them know about the goings on at various stages. Again, it’s a manual task that you must remember to do.

With DocBoss, communication – and many other tasks – is automatic. You define up front at the beginning of a project what you require and DocBoss will do it. For example you can set up a distribution list to send notifications by email that a transmittal is finished. DocBoss also has workflow features to automate tasks related to documents that get returned for review and revision. The bottom line is you can customize DocBoss to automate many of these tasks that you’re probably doing manually currently.

When it comes to technology to help you with your document control work, the bottom line is using something that actually works and preferably is something that was specifically designed for document control.