Last November, Tempus Nova hosted the Going Google Roadshow here in Denver. After the event, I was talking with one business owner who had some questions about just how I, a proposal writer, made proposals work within Google Docs. I was happy to tell him that being able to collaborate in Google Docs made my life easier, my work more efficient, and ultimately resulted in a faster, higher quality document development process.
So how, exactly, does G Suite enable that?
Let’s take an example from my previous company, where I also wrote proposal responses. Since like many companies, we couldn’t afford to get everyone expensive Sharepoint licenses, we used a folder structure on our LAN for document management. Proposals always have to go through reviews, and the process was challenging. Documents had to be moved into multiple folders, pulled down from the LAN and then uploaded again, file names had to change to indicate the state of the document, and that was just to GET the suggested changes. Sometimes, people would just email me the large, cumbersome documents, which required more version tracking (and also regularly forced me into email jail). From there, I had to look at each set of changes and compile them into one document, trying to figure out how to mesh suggestions from four different executives into something cohesive.
During one particularly challenging proposal at my former job, in my spare time, I was also planning a trip to Las Vegas with 20 other people. We were located all across the world, from the US to Canada to Australia, but we were seamlessly collaborating on the trip through our personal Google accounts. We had docs with trip information that we could update in one place, in real time, with the ability to chat within the documents themselves to discuss items like whether a restaurant had a vegan option or if we wanted to attend a Cirque du Soleil show. No sending files back and forth, no version control required, no worries about whether the most recent version of something was saved — with G Suite, we could bring together people around the globe and ensure we gathered everyone’s input.
I kept thinking I would LOVE the ability to work on a proposal the way I could work on my Vegas trip. I could have one central document, and reviewers could all work in the document simultaneously and not only provide changes, but build on each other’s comments and suggestions to create even more productive input. Google Docs have automatic version tracking and automatic save, so I wouldn’t need to worry about using the “wrong” file — if I wanted to go back to a previous iteration, I easily could. If I had a question about a reviewer’s comment, I could quickly chat them for clarification. And if I needed my final product in a format like Microsoft Word or PDF, I could export it with two clicks.
Today, I work this way. The collaborative power of G Suite makes document review and collaboration simple, straightforward, and efficient. I can easily share sections with my peers if I have questions, rather than emailing them a large file or having to contact IT to give them permissions for entire folders. The comment threads — with the ability to email directly from the comment itself — make review discussions clear and concise. My reviewers always have insight into what the other reviewers are suggesting, so I don’t have to reconcile conflicting changes.
It saves us time. It makes everyone’s life easier. And it leads to better results. I couldn’t be happier to be working in G Suite today.
Oh, and Vegas was fantastic. It all went off without a hitch.