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Head in the clouds

After an evaluation and testing period, we've chosen to move our document and drafting process over to Google Docs and Google Drive. It's quite a departure from 7 years ago when we would draft our copy straight into the project management system, and then post fresh, updated drafts with every tranche of changes and edits. It was quite useful, you could scroll back and see the evolution of every draft, but it was a slightly cumbersome and inflexible way to work.

Now, using Google Docs, every draft is held in a single document, with a full edit history and complete version control. With Google Docs, we are able to share the document instantly via a special link, allowing multiple stakeholders to view, comment and suggest simultaneously, using the intuitive feedback tools provided. We can even share links that allow others to only view the document, or give them complete editing rights.

We can then composite the changes and suggestions in one operation, without error. Previously, with sometimes as many as four or five stakeholders emailing in their suggestions and changes, it would be up to us to find the changes in the returned drafts and then transfer them to the new draft document one by one. This could be a time-consuming process.

Now we can simply complete the preliminary draft, send the link out, and watch as the comments and suggestions come back, in real-time. After making the changes, we can name each version of the draft, and view every edit - who made it, what it was when it was made. This is an exceptional level of version control - and because every keystroke is captured, you never lose a thing.

By using Google Docs and Google Drive, we are now building up a complete archive of searchable, indexed news releases, statements, case studies, social media schedules, columns, features and award entries. Google is famous for its search, and the search facility in Google Drive does not disappoint.

In the future we'll be looking at how we might be able to share our archives with our clients, to give them access to their approved releases and social media output. With so much functionality in the suite of free and paid apps from Google, I have no doubt we will be adding new cloud capabilities to Vividink in the near future.

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