Under the Hood – 3rd in a Series

20 Mar

In our first article about Online Planrooms and Digital Document Management, we looked at a broad overview of the services available to help you in organizing and managing your documents.  In our second article, we started to delve into the specific questions as they relate to Online Planrooms and Digital Document Management.  Now we will continue to explore more of the questions that must be asked before choosing a plan management solution.

How can I win more bids and/or track my project?

Let’s break this down into two separate questions: “How can I win more bids?” and “How can I track my project?”  The first part is a little tricky to explain.  An Online Planroom will allow you to easily give more visibility to your project and to reach companies you may not have had access to before.  This is done with an ad in a trade publication or local paper that directs potential bidders to a web portal where your project is housed.  Your customers will be able to review the files and place an order for a hard copy set or a digital download of the files, thus allowing them to more quickly return a bid to you.  More market penetration + faster bid response = (potentially) more bids won.  The actions that are made upon the web portal are tracked, which leads into question 2, “How can I track my project?”

Projects are tracked through the Online Planroom, each project retaining a record of who has looked at the specific project to easily create a Planholder list.  If a plan is viewed, downloaded, or a hard copy ordered, this information is recorded as well.

Are my project documents secure and available 24/7 online?

The short answer to both of these questions is yes.  The files hosted on the Online Planroom can be locked down for viewing purposes only.  If locked down, files cannot be printed or modified without unsecuring them using the proper password.  If a set of digital files is ordered, those specific files are unlocked to allow printing.

As to the availability of content on the Planroom, the files on the Planroom are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Once the files are loaded to the Planroom, they are available for viewing and ordering based on your requirements.  Files are able to be viewed and ordered from any internet capable device – desktops, laptops, tablets, even smartphones.  There is no special software required.

Do I have the right addenda or revision and how can I track this?

Different Online Planroom offerings track this information in different ways.  Some applications file each modification of the file into a separate folder, meaning the Bid Set is in one folder, Addendum #1 is in another folder, Addendum #2 in another folder, etc.  Some Planrooms have a folder that contains the most current versions of the files, thus creating a “current set” of the latest files.  Some Planrooms sort the various document issues into separate tabs, and some Planrooms combine several of these methods giving a greater flexibility to how your plans are to be displayed.

Ensuring you can track who has which documents is an important criteria when selecting the best Planroom solution. The integration of communication tools to notify bidders is another key element which can you save you time and money while allowing the bidders to view changes quickly online.

We hope that this series has helped you to decide whether an Online Planroom offering is right for you.

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