Distributed authoring using Word and Domino?

Subject: Distributed authoring using Word and Domino?
From: geoff -at- userdox -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2003 16:21:47 +1000

X-Posted: Word-PC, Techwr-l, astcq-discuss

Hello everyone,

Well, I've just been given one from out of left field. After spending a
considerable amount of time evaluating AuthorIT for our team, I've been asked
to make a list of issues associated with a distributed authoring environment
using Word and Domino.

I have an aversion to this system straight off the bat, but I thought I'd get
some more opinions. Here's what I've thought of without too much effort:

- Different versions of Word are used throughout the organisation. We already
have problems with this, and expanding the writing team to 100 or so writers
around the world will just make it worse. The potential for document
corruption from 100 different authors, each with a different skill level, using
different versions of Word, just makes my head spin.

- Images can't be linked. We currently single-source our images across the
entire document set, and placing our source documents on Domino will prevent

- Finalisation procedures will need to be extended. With our small team (10),
the time taken to 'finalise' our document set prior to distribution is only 10
days. With 90 writers potentially ignoring our standards and procedures,
finalisation will become a major task. Instead of just checking for errors, we
will need to implement the standards on every document prior to distribution.
At 268 documents, that becomes a major chunk of time.

- Our current, kludgy, time consuming work-arounds for re-purposing would still
be required.

- How would it be possible to ensure that every author used the correct
templates? If the wrong templates are used, the finalisation procedure gets
even longer due to layout, header, and footer problems.

- Speed. It already takes longer than 60 seconds to open a document from my
local Domino server (Brisbane). What about writers in Gallway, Edmonton,
Toronto, New Delhi, Eden Prairie...

- Work/Team management becomes much harder.

- A change to the standards (caused by customer feedback, of course) becomes
almost impossible to implement.

- Development has some distribution, but most of it is done here in Brisbane.
We are R&D, with 99% of the coders, 85% of the analysts, and all the
development team leaders. Any urgent documents will have to be written in
Brisbane due to the different time zones between global writers and local

If anyone has worked in a system like this before, or has any hints and
recommendations, I'd love to here your experiences. Both good and bad.

Thanks for all your efforts.


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