James Wilding – PleaseTech Ltd. Account Manager
TCUK: Thank you for becoming a TCUK16 sponsor. Tell us about what motivated you to join us?
JW: We need to tell you a bit about us to explain why we joined TCUK as a sponsor…so here comes the PR!
PleaseTech is a technology company specialising in collaborative document co-authoring and review software. Our flagship product, PleaseReview, is a proven collaborative review and co-authoring solution for Microsoft Word and other document types including source code. It facilitates controlled, simultaneous and secure collaboration for the review and editing of documents.
Whilst document review and co-authoring is recognised as a critical business issue which consumes considerable resources across the organisation, the basic problem remains: if you have a Microsoft Word document (or Excel, PDF, etc.) and need several people to review it, how do you do that in an efficient and controlled way? This is where PleaseReview adds value: it offers control, management and metrics to the review, accommodates both online and offline reviewers (supporting a mobile workforce) and enables secure collaboration with external partners.
In addition to defence contractors, the military and government, PleaseReview is used by 75% of the world’s top 25 pharmaceutical companies, where bringing products to market is a huge endeavour. In this environment, medical writers have to collaboratively edit and review complex documents generated for clinical trials, quality assurance and regulatory submissions. This often requires contributions from area authors and subject matter experts both internal and external to an organisation.
Whilst technical writers are required to work with applications including HTML and XML editors, there are many documents such as user manuals, specifications, guides, contracts and proposals which are created, updated and reviewed in Microsoft Word and PDF. Joining TCUK seems to be a natural fit.
TCUK: This year the TCUK event special focus is ‘From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator’. Are there any relevant trends in technical communication that apply to both novice and experienced communicators?
JW: When there are many people involved in the review of documents, including experts outside of an organisation as well as different teams internally, this process can be frustratingly slow. Without a proper business process in place, documents distributed via email for review result in hundreds of often conflicting changes, all of which need to be amalgamated into a master copy – just imagine trying to do that using cut and paste! Furthermore, if tracked changes have been used by several participants on a review, it’s almost impossible to see who has commented on what, and why. All this leads to a frustrated team, as well as delayed and inaccurate documents if important changes have been missed.
Consequently, we’re beginning to see a move towards more effective collaboration, with technical writers looking to make the document review and co-authoring process more efficient and transparent. Whereas a few years ago there was a gentle hum of conversation around the topic, there’s now a much louder dialogue going on, as has been seen amongst the analyst, IT and business community.
With increasing regulation and higher compliance standards, reporting and audit trails are also key, detailing what has been changed in a document, by whom, when and why.
TCUK: As a sponsor, what words of advice do you have to encourage technical communicators to attend this year’s conference?
JW: Go and talk to the exhibitors! We regularly exhibit in the US where conference attendees make it a part of their conference experience to talk to the exhibitors and find out what products are on the market. We’re not just saying this so you’ll come and talk to us (although please do!), there are some really great tools out there that can genuinely improve the way you work.
TCUK: The TCUK conference moves to a new location each year. This year, TCUK is hosted in Bedfordshire, England. What are you looking forward to most at this year’s conference?
JW: We’re really looking forward to being able to talk to delegates to better understand how technical writers approach document review, and the challenges they face, both on a day to day basis, and from an industry perspective.
PleaseTech has satisfied customers ranging from small consultancies to global organisations from multiple business sectors including Life Sciences, Defence, IT, Utilities and Government and across disciplines such as regulatory, proposals, software engineering, marketing, contract management, QA and more.
For more information come and see us in the exhibition area, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.pleasetech.com.