NextPage, Workshare Ease Document Management

By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2005-03-07

NextPage Inc.s NextPage 1.5 and Workshare Inc.s Workshare Professional 4.0 are two good choices for companies that need easy-to-use tools for managing document collaboration and revisions from within Microsoft Corp. Office applications.

The NextPage service and the Workshare Professional software, both of which were released last month, will be beneficial to groups that collaborate on documents by simplifying the process of tracking changes and comments, as well as the process of identifying who has contributed those changes and comments. Both products use encrypted metadata stored in documents to identify the documents and their status in the revision workflow, and both have the ability to automatically capture information from e-mail messages that are connected to a document version.

eWEEK Labs tests show that Workshare lets users control far more of the revision process during document collaboration, including accepting changes to documents as well as scrubbing metadata from documents. NextPage does not offer the same range of features, but it has some well-thought-out tools for tracking document revisions.

For example, in addition to storing metadata in documents, NextPage stores metadata on its servers to help track document changes. This method removes dependency on a particular e-mail client and lets companies license access to business partners as needed (without being responsible for managing a software license). Workshare, in contrast, is integrated in Microsoft Outlook through a tool bar.

NextPage will be a good match for small groups that need to collaborate on documents, particularly with business partners that dont need to have an audit trail that records document revisions.

For organizations whose documents may need to adhere to regulatory requirements, such as investment organizations, Workshare is a good fit because of its ability to track and report on collaboration. Workshare is also better suited for handling revision aggregation for larger groups.

NextPage 1.5 costs $250 per user per year; Workshare 4.0 costs $349 per user. We think both products are priced a little high, considering that the retail price for Office is about $375. However, both products easily could pay for themselves in more efficient version management.

Both applications work with Office 2000 and later—specifically, with Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

Click here to read the full review of Workshare Professional 4.0.

Click here to read the full review of NextPage 1.5.

Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

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