Collaboration Tool Helps Get the Word Out

Workshare Ltd. will release an upgrade to its namesake collaboration software that lets enterprises manage the job of coordinating changes to shared Microsoft Corp. Word documents by multiple authors.

An upgrade to Workshare Ltd.s namesake collaboration software lets enterprises manage the job of coordinating changes to shared Microsoft Corp. Word documents by multiple authors.

Workshare 3, to be introduced this week, goes beyond the basic document check-out/check-in features of typical document management systems by tracking changes made by individual authors and preventing document corruption, company officials said.

The software has been particularly popular in the legal industry and is used at 98 percent of the top 250 U.S. law firms, according to Workshare. Financial services, life sciences and manufacturing are other key verticals for Workshare. The London-based company also is positioning its software for compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which in its initial stages relies heavily on documentation of business processes and internal controls.

A key new feature in Workshare 3 is support for metadata stripping and reporting. This process removes potentially sensitive information on changes made to the document, or notes or comments by the authors, and provides reporting on what was removed.

Metadata removal and one-click PDF creation are key new features that the Chicago law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP is taking advantage of in this release.

"Converting the Word file to PDF removes the metadata, but if you need to share the document with clients and let them make edits, you cant send them a PDF," said Michael Flanders, IT director, Western Hemisphere, at Baker & McKenzie. "You want to be able to send them the actual Word document, but you want to remove any metadata—changes, notes, comments—that may not be appropriate for them to see."

Flanders said he also likes the increased control Workshare 3 gives users over the distribution of documents. "You can restrict who a document can be delivered to inside an organization and keep a sensitive document from being distributed outside the organization," he said.

Workshare 3 also can save and recognize all e-mails associated with a particular document and maintain an audit trail of documents and related e-mail chains.

The software supports prepackaged integration with document management software from Interwoven Inc. and Hummingbird Ltd. with plans to support integration with other document management vendors in the future, company officials said.

Workshare also announced this week the hiring of Joe Fantuzzi as its new CEO. Fantuzzi previously headed Liquid Engines Inc., NetDialog Inc. and MultiGen Inc. (now MultiGen-Paradigm Inc.) and served in executive positions at Macromedia Inc. and Autodesk Inc.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Be sure to add our messaging and collaboration news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page: