Cat herding might seem like a day in the park over managing the number of authors, documents and contributor resources needed to develop a winning proposal. With most proposal teams being dispersed geographically, as well as inside and outside of an organization, a successful proposal management process must solve the challenges of access, version control and security.
Proposal documents no longer live exclusively on the hard drive of a single proposal manager’s computer. Cloud-based document repositories enable proposal managers to share documents with everyone on the proposal development team. Google Drive, Google Docs, Dropbox, and Box are a few of the most well-known file sharing systems.
Many cloud-based file sharing services create other challenges to access that a proposal manager must address. For example, teams using Google may need Google email addresses to access files. The proposal manager may need to verify new email addresses, and use multiple email addresses to communicate with individual team members. Other document sharing solutions may require subscription upgrades to accommodate additional users or to increase folder size limitations. Team access to folders and documents is typically limited to “on” or “off.”
To ensure access for teams developing proposals, a solution should include:
- A collaborative, central platform where the most current versions of proposal documents may be accessed by multiple users.
- Easy controls for administrators to authorize access and permissions at folder and file levels.
“Conflicted Copy.” Another challenge proposal managers often face is file version conflicts. Cloud-based file sharing systems don’t prevent multiple authors from inadvertently working on a document at the same time, saving to the shared folder and causing two versions of the document to be saved at once. The problem grows exponentially with the number of documents in a proposal and authors on a proposal team.
Capabilities of an ideal proposal development solution include:
- The ability to host a single instance of a document that prevents duplicate versions from inadvertently being created. Team members may make all edits and comments simultaneously, or authors may check documents in and out for editing, all without causing any duplicates or conflicted copies.
- Collaboration tools that allow proposal managers to control what authors can do within a proposal “workspace,” and to assign tasks and reminders to team members to stay on schedule.
Managing the collaboration of large teams on a proposal requires not only that team members can access and edit documents, but also that only authorized users can do so. Vigilance is required to maintain the security of online content management systems to prevent breaches and spills, and protect sensitive information.
User interface security features of a secure, proposal management solution should include:
- Two-factor authentication: Simple login and password credentials can be compromised by brute force guessing. With two-factor authentication, or “something you have and something you know,” a user verifies their identity with a confirmation code sent to their email address or phone.
- TLS 1.2 Encryption: Users’ connections and interactions with the proposal management system must be secure. TLS 1.2 is a cryptographic protocol that ensures communications between an application’s server and web or installed windows client are encrypted at all times.
Privia is the only proposal development and management solution that addresses these challenges, and is designed especially to meet the needs of those preparing government proposals. To learn more about Privia, schedule a demo with us today!