Revision History use cases - how your company can benefit from version history

Going through a long document can be a drag, especially when it is filled with a lot of technical details or specific industry jargon. Oftentimes, multiple people will access the document and try to make it their own or add various changes to it over time. This can create friction among multiple writers or executives looking at a document and information can be lost over time that may again come in handy one day. This is where Revision History (aka version history or document version control) comes in. It will speed up the overall process of your company’s workflow without having to always manually delete or restore previous content among many other advantages it offers.

Although Revision History is available in a variety of applications, like Office 365 or Google Docs, the idea of having a WYSIWYG text editor with this feature integrated within your application is something that has not been possible until now. CKEditor 5 has just rolled out this feature that clients have been demanding for quite some time, as a premium plugin. It is now available to implement in all kinds of software. Thus, users will not have to leave the confines of the application, but have a lightweight editor within the app that will allow them to go back and see the changes made to a document, as well as revert to those changes.

This will also mean that security as well as data governance can still be retained within a single web application without users having to use external sources to get work done with version history. They can work within a single application to do it. When leaving the walls of an application, even an entire CMS, the data has to be shared to a degree with the application makers running those external solutions. Because of this, Revision History is a great option for many companies to consider in order to overcome such hassle.

Business use cases to consider

Revision History can come in handy for a wide range of companies and businesses. We will show some use cases for businesses to consider below that can be beneficial for a wide range of industries. Thus, probably your own or one you work with regularly. Keep in mind these are just some of the many use cases and industries it can prove useful in as there are many others. In fact, one can argue it can benefit any company.

With that said, below are some specific use cases to consider when implementing this premium plugin within your application or software.

Clinical trials

Image of clinical equipment shows the complicated process of creating new medication

The pharmaceutical industry is an industry where clinical research is constantly taking place and having a comprehensive audit trail – a chronological record within a company of various workflows – is paramount. Clinical Data Management (CDM) is a very important phase within this clinical research. The goal within the research is to find reliable and statistically-sound data, which will later come in handy developing new medicine. It also drastically reduces time from drug development to market.

There are various tools used to handle the large amounts of data needed to be gathered for clinical trials and it falls under the Clinical Data Management Systems (CDMS) umbrella. These tools make sure an audit trail of data is available to later tap into and this is paramount as it helps manage discrepancies within data or medical findings as they are noted.

An editor with version history can definitely help in this regard and alleviate headaches later on when findings are analyzed for discrepancies or results have to be fact checked and compared with earlier findings. The fact that CDMS are used within this industry also shows how easy they can integrate a document editor with revision history if they choose to. This is again because CKEditor 5 supports seamless integration within a variety of apps or CMSs.

Also of note is that within clinical trials, good note taking is fundamental to finding treatment and medication quickly, with collaborative support being a big plus. This is because researchers can collaborate on notes taken, data jotted down and findings revealed together and later easily share the results with one another. Usually finding cures, medicine and the like is a trial-and-error process and good note taking and collaboration behind it can make it much more efficient.

Having an editor with both Real-Time Collaboration and Revision History enabled can go a long way to making sure nothing is lost within notation. This can happen if notes and documents containing data get lost with revisions down the line as newer versions are saved over older ones.

Some of the documents that healthcare professionals have to deal with constantly include patient forms, insurance approvals, diagnosis reports, consent forms, identification, payment confirmations, prescriptions, compliance documents, surgery reports and more. This is in addition to physicians having to maintain patient medical records for years after treatment.

How Revision History can be useful to prevent or later audit medical fraud

Before patient records started to become digitized, when situations like mistakes occurred causing medical professionals to alter patient records, they could do it in a transparent manner. The provider would cross the entry out and make changes while signing it with their initials. Some of these alterations were labeled as late entry alterations to the original records. A date and time was used to differentiate the alteration as well as the individual making the alteration.

However, the electronic process of record keeping and document editing made it so that healthcare providers could be less transparent about it. It allowed them to be able to alter documents in a way harder to detect the alteration such as if anything was crossed out and changed. This made things more prone to unauthorized alterations or corrupt practices.

As you may imagine, having a system in place with document version control, like what CKEditor 5 now offers with the new plugin, and mandating its use in the cases of healthcare medical records, can go a long way in establishing what if any changes were made over time to a document. This can make it more difficult for healthcare providers to exploit the system and try altering documents without noting any changes.

Being able to view and restore previous versions of patient records can be a game changer for some in the profession. Restoring a version is a breeze and can be done just to keep track of the flow or progress of a document. Being able to see the recent version of the file or see the version history overall is useful all onto itself.

Contract management

Contract image shown with pencil ready to sign

Contracts by nature rely on text editors and multiple parties to sign whether electronically or later in print. Think of how contracts are created before they are signed. A company may have various versions of a contract before it is in final form and another company must sign it. To be able to go back to earlier versions can alleviate a lot of headache in finding the right language or wording if nothing else to make it easily understandable by all parties.

Some of the issues that companies aim to tackle within their contract negotiation platforms, or ones they rely on from other vendors, are how important a particular edit is? What happened the last time a section was edited? How long can the parties involved expect the contract to delay by negotiating due to an element within the contract? Who has the last draft?

As you may have guessed, being able to go back to earlier document versions and see what was changed as well as have the option to reverse the changes can help to answer such questions. However, Microsoft Word still seems to be the most well known or used method for creating contracts and it often results in stale contracts or ones not really good for collaboration or updates over time.

It is useful to be able to see changes that have been made to a contract over time and Revision History is great for this task. It can also be useful to prevent an overwrite of a document by accident and get the previous content back in this case. Previous versions of files are all available to weed through.

Want to learn more about Revision History?

The document may be formatted differently depending on the format it is exported as and the editor used to create or modify it. Thus, errors can occur like certain fonts missing in the process. A lot of file sharing and further collaborative editing is also done via sending various files across e-mail and often opened across varied software like Word, Pages and OpenOffice (in addition to collaboration methods using something like Google Docs). Due to all this, things like formatting errors occur and the process can turn out to be quite inefficient.

A smoother contract editing and management process

CKEditor 5 allows this process to be smoothed out as everyone signing and creating a contract can be on the same page and use it within their workflow, such as an internal and company-wide CMS or an application a particular industry uses ubiquitously.

Think about someone getting a loan for starting a small business or a mortgage. The paperwork or documentation needs to be very precise and there may be various executives that have to approve of it beforehand. A rich text editor can help the entire team be able to track the changes or make sure everyone is on the right page with such documentation. Also, customer payment details can be altered throughout the course of making payments as another example where version history can be very useful.

For someone to get a business loan, for example, more often than not, at least four individuals will be looking at a loan request before it is approved. It may also go through various revisions before the final loan request is written up. These individuals include the person seeking the loan, an accountant who understands the loan process, a professional financial planner who can give advice on what to seek out within the loan request and at least one bank executive.

Specific industry examples of how contracts are handled

Examples of some industries where contract management with word processing can benefit from a rich text editor with document version control are the legal industry, legal contract assembly, procurement management, real estate and fintech.

Within the legal field, for instance, various attorneys or plaintiffs they represent may have to sign documents and agreements. This may include deeds or various civil matters. Much of this signing today is done electronically and using digital documents. Simple contracts also exist that can be made without official signatures but done electronically using e-mail exchanges for instance.

Law firms use legal contract assembly software to manage their entire document workflows. They need comprehensive tools for this task such as an editor that allows for Real-Time Collaboration and Track Changes for audit trails with version history being a nice option so they can later check what was changed or altered and by whom. After all, when drafting such contracts using legal assembly software, legal representatives often work hand-in-hand with business managers to draft the contracts.

Within the real estate industry, purchase contracts often get prepared by real-estate agents that later may have to be revised. These revisions can occur after all parties signed but prior to closing the deal entirely. They are called amendments and may include something like the buyer wanting a certain fence moved or altered around the property due to not having noticed its obstructions earlier.

Whether the contract requires signatures and even the presence of attorneys to go over the signatures or simple contracts, having Revision History as part of the workflow that CKEditor 5 offers can help. It can allow both parties to show changes to the documents or check what was written before and if anything was altered by either party.

General publishing

Books and article pages shown from magazine articles in an image

The publishing industry is one where writing as well as text editing are its bread-and-butter. Most writers or reporters today rely on real time text editors and write from their computer screens, even as they write for a print publication. This allows for things to be rewritten from scratch, mistakes to be made and later fixed, and things added onto the text that may have been omitted the first time around.

When we say publishing, we are talking about a wide range of industries with their own peculiarities and ways of doing things. However, all can benefit from a rich text editor integrated to their own CMS and that can have the flexibility of reverting changes or seeing what was altered over time. Often editors and reporters work together, for instance, on books or articles so having this collaboration and document version control can alleviate the time involved in the writing process and final publishing.

One form of publishing today is publishing onto the web using CMS systems. This can include writing articles for websites, creating website landing page content, or even using something like Medium’s CMS to self-publish online articles. Having Revision History can make all the difference in an online article not having to be rewritten when the author wants to go back to a previous version.

It can also include publishing books or printed pamphlets that function as paper booklets. This form of publishing often is peculiar and needs to have the ability to revise changes to make the text fit on a page or within a layout of the book that is later printed out. Thus, for layout purposes if nothing else, document version control can go a long way in making sure the book is written as intended and information is not omitted within the text.

Lastly, publishing also includes the journalism industry and reporting on current happenings or the news. Being able to see changes over time can be very useful in this industry and compare current versions to old versions can make editors job easier as sometimes things or hard facts were in an older version of a file.

Newspapers are becoming more and more web-based, but a healthy print culture still remains with its long history and demands regarding quality. News websites though are growing and the standards of journalism should also be present within their content. The journalism industry relies on reliable hard facts and good sources, as well as in theory objectivity. Version history can go a long way to fix some inconsistency issues of things like dates before the article is published and can prevent the publication from having to retract it later or correct it in the next issue mentioning the mishap.

In an industry that more often than not still relies on Microsoft Office, CKEditor 5 can be useful with its ability to be customized to a newspaper’s style alongside the Revision History feature it comes with.

Policy governance

Different companies and enterprises have their own policies for employees and contractors to follow. They may include how equipment should be rented out, used and returned. Alternatively, they may include the way employees are to report their spending for things like transportation or dining when out on assignments outside the office or traveling to a conference. A code of ethics is another example of a company policy governance document that can be a huge factor in making sure employees are satisfied and will remain with the company.

These are just some examples of the various policy governance that goes on within companies. Every company has their own internal policies and guidelines to function properly. A text editor that can allow companies to be able to function within internal CMSs or applications and make amends or changes to policies overtime can go a long way in making the process smooth and policies not having to be rewritten from scratch entirely over time. One with Revision History can also help in seeing changes over time to go back and revert to some of these changes that may have worked better in the past or that came up again within a company’s structure.

Policies often define a company’s internal culture and having flexibility with the way these policies are drafted and revised over time can be huge in making one company stand out next to competitors. It can also be a difference maker to draw new talent in and keep employees satisfied for the long term.

Document management

Managing projects is something that all companies need to deal with, and the larger the company the more projects it often has to juggle through, simultaneously amongst different teams. If a manager decides to change something with a document that their team is working on, like a spreadsheet full of data or documentation they have in place for their team, they may want to revert to a previous change as something was working better. Revision History can help in this regard greatly and alleviate the need to constantly save and weed through different files of a single document.

Importance of a good document management workflow

Some organizations have workflow patterns in place that go hand-in-hand with version history. For instance, a workflow can include a project manager creating a document and other teammates later adding comments and suggestions to it. A manager may then look at different versions of such a document and compare them to one another and form the final version he or she will present to investors or executives from such a comparison.

This may be done using various file names and separate documents or in a much more efficient manner using document version control. This is a reason why having it available can be such a great asset within any workflow.

Things become erased, changed or reworded. When something is changed or erased within a document, we may later come to regret this decision and want to bring up the older information.

Alternatively, we may just want to reference it and see what was in the document we are accessing in a previous period of time.

Another issue that can sometimes arise and cause mishap is when employees work on the wrong versions of documents without even knowing it. This results in a loss of productivity for the company in the long run. Having an integrated solution within the CMS or application, which employees rely on, can mean less productivity loss.

It is also worth it for them to invest in the ability to track changes along the way of creating documents and working with files themselves. This is a form of both project and document management, onto itself, since it gives companies the ability to track documents in a systematic manner. Seeing the different versions of change along the way of creating a single document is another aspect of good document management and can help in compliance with aspects like audit trails.

Examples of ways CKEditor 5 can be of use for contracts

Construction is an industry that greatly benefits from having documents that are easily tracked with changes made along the way and being able to go back to these changes at any time when managing construction projects. This is because within the construction industry multiple parties – from architects to project coordinators and managers – have access to a document and make their own changes along the way. Being able to track these changes and see who made what change within a document is a huge benefit within this industry.

Things like problems with safety regulations can arise if this is handled insufficiently because a safety permit should be clear and understandable by all parties involved with a project. Data standardization and reconciliation, failing audits, losing disputes and greater financial risk are other issues that can come up with insufficient document management and lack of document version control.

Invoicing is an example of how rich text editors can benefit companies working with their clients and project management as a whole, particularly ones like CKEditor 5 with a version history feature plugin. It is useful for companies dealing with a variety of invoices from other companies to be able to sometimes audit the invoices or follow an audit trail and be able to know who made changes to an invoice, when and how.

Knowledge management

Knowledge management is a process of sharing knowledge to be used internally within a company by employees with access to it for help when the need arises. This can include documentation on how to use a particular software, FAQ or manuals.

Animation of managing a document

A database of information is usually used for this purpose that is related to a company’s goals and mission. The data is often comprised of documents explaining various processes compromising this knowledge base. There are various knowledge management tools or solutions available to tap into that can be useful for maintaining updated and easily accessible knowledge bases.

The term knowledge base was originally coined as a way to describe a repository of knowledge attained by difficult or lengthy research used to solve a variety of problems. Another way that they can be distinguished and looked at is a repository of information that often is summed up from more lengthy research and understanding.

Knowledge base websites or systems provide a much more efficient way to store information and allow employees to access such documents via rich text commands than the traditional methods. These would consist of the knowledge base being made up of long manuals and extensive documentation that employees had to weed through. A rich text editor like CKEditor 5 can be used for this task and version history can help by allowing the creators of the knowledge base to compare and revert to changes within the knowledge base over time.

In a way knowledge management is similar to policy governance, but rather than specific policy being dictated to employees or recommended to follow, it deals with information. Information that may come in handy when needs arise or is needed on an every-day basis in some cases.

The thing about knowledge bases, much more so than policy governance, is that internal security and data is often something companies do not want to risk getting out or sharing with outsiders. When external solutions are used like Google Docs, the data has to be put on Google’s servers or at least exported out to the external solution Google Docs is. Meanwhile, CKEditor 5 allows the company to keep the knowledge base with document version control to tap into later on, and see changes made over time to it, internally within an application or internal CMS.

Many companies currently have to rely on external websites or CMSs to store their knowledge bases on and a separate website or software like Google Docs to write them. Using CKEditor 5 to create documents and be able to revise them at any time all from within the same application they may even be stored on, would make the process more internal and secure overall.

Organizations and structures within them are constantly changing and being revised with new tools or software being used periodically. Having the flexibility of an editor with Revision History can allow a company to add to existing documentation and knowledge and see what was used previously, for instance, with this feature and compare the results later on.

This is a big aspect of professions or industries like information technology, business administration and library science in addition to most companies operating on a higher level having some sort of information they need their employees to have access to on demand.

Revision history equals a more efficient overall workflow

Document version control can be an asset to any organization’s overall workflow, whether much collaboration takes place or not, or whether heavy record keeping is even required. In terms of collaboration, it can truly be an asset because if more than two teammates are involved in even real-time collaboration on a document, one of them may not see an accepted change that a third teammate checked off within the document. However, version history allows them to go back and follow the trail to see when and where it was made.

Revision History is a very important feature to have in a good rich text editor and CKEditor 5 finally has this much-requested feature available to a wide range of professionals. It can truly make the difference in having easy-to-follow audit trails as well as more efficient workflows. Any company or industry should see some benefit in implementing it and we hope some of the use cases above showed just how it can be useful if implemented within your industry or profession.

To learn more about Revision History, contact us anytime here.

You can read more on the topic of revision history in our blog posts:

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