Automating Collaboration: Expired, Tired and Wired Methods for Multi-party Drafting
In the the past when contracts were negotiated mark-ups were made by hand. The hard copy marked-up documents would be transported back and forth by mail or in person and new documents incorporating changes were typed up. This process was lengthy and cumbersome. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to shelve this expired approach. Online authoring/editing tools are allowing for a more efficient, streamlined process. But what is the most efficient way today to collaboratively draft with multiple parties?
Call to mind the last time you were involved in a multi-party drafting process. What tools did you use? How long did it take and was the process satisfactory?
The last time I was involved in a multi-party drafting exercise we were using Word along with an Enterprise Content Management System (ECM). The ECM system we were using had separate servers in Sydney and Melbourne. My team members were in both of these cities. We separated out different parts of the document that needed to be drafted and allocated different people to work on these sections. Only one person could be working on the master document at one time as the desktop Word version did not allow for more. The master document was saved in the ECM and we had to take turns to input our respective parts. Then we released the updated master in the ECM. Delays on the server after the master was released meant that if someone had saved changes to it in Sydney the updated document would not be visible or available for review by a person in Melbourne for 20 minutes or more. This resulted in significant delays in the drafting process.
Most software products simply don’t allow for “controlled”, multi-party drafting and simultaneous review. Google Docs for example allows multiple persons to add corrections to the same document simultaneously. However, this can get messy and does not allow for privacy as another person with access can watch you in real time struggling over a passage or phrase. Google Docs also does not provide control over specific parts of the master that you may want to lock down and prevent others from changing.
So what does wired collaboration software look like? Some software solutions contain functions that provide more process control and privacy while allowing for more than one person to be working on a master document at a time. This software also updates in dynamically in real time. These solutions are automating collaboration!
Take a look at how these features could work for you with ContractRoom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZp-UMcK0GE&feature=youtu.be
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