Saturday, December 10, 2011

AgileWords shows how to do one thing well

In the world of SaaS, PaaS and software in general there are 3 main types of solutions:
  1. Platform (covers lots of functionality and is very extensible)
  2. Industry-specific (provides a comprehensive solution for particular industry)
  3. Point (solves one problem, integrates well with existing systems)
(more on this later..)

While GoogleDocs and Zoho have done a good job with platform-type SaaS offerings, there are far from becoming ubiquidous.  There are many reasons for that - some have to do with letting the data outside of the company walls, some with lack of support for "diconnected" use model, some with not wanting or not being able to undertake the re-training effort.

Be it as it may, what is one to do if they want to use the collaborative, single source nature of the SaaS applications for document review and approval for example, but not ready to convert everyone to GoogleDocs?

AgileWords take a stab at solving the document reviews problem the "point solution" way.  

Today document reviews involve a lot of back-and-forth via email with redline and side notes or comments.  All these edits are hard to reconcile and the intent or context is quickly lost, not to mention the version hell. 

AgileWords came up with a clean solution for merging the benefit of the SaaS ability to collaborate on something real-time and keep track of the changes in one place with the format that most documents that need to be reviewed (contracts, product documentation, marketing literature) exist today - MS Word.  

They import the MS Word document keeping the formatting (very important as the document needs to stay 100% consistent with the original).  To keep the formatting, they actually do a clever combination of converting what they can to text and what they can't - to images.  

They then allow comment insertion and discussions around a particular session.  Once a revision has been made, the new document is uploaded replacing the original one optionally showing the changes made.

A very nicely designed and thought-through point-solution product that doesn't disturb existing systems, but adds the much-needed element.

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