This is a guest post by our customer and partner Jon Hill, founder of Hourwise. Hourwise provides outsourced back-office and account management services to general contractors. Hourwise sends hundreds of quotes, invoices, and contracts on behalf of their clients monthly.
It’s easy to forget, but software programs are simply tools that help increase our productivity and make our lives easier. Like any tool, there’s typically a right one for the job, some that aren’t as efficient, and the wrong ones (that may still get the job done, but it won’t be pretty).
If I need to install crown molding, I’m going to get a miter saw. I could use a miter box, or a 10” Ryobi simple miter, but what I really want is a Dewalt 12” double bevel compound miter saw. Software is no different. When it comes to document creation and document management, there are many options to consider.
But we found the right tool for the job. PandaDoc! They’ve really hit the nail on the head (pun intended). From creation, to organization and traceability, PandaDoc is a game changer on many levels. And here’s why.
By document creation, I’m referring to going from a piece of blank “paper” to the final document. There are many options out there but some only do certain types well.
Option 1: The ancient way. Printed 3-ply. Manually filled out for whatever purpose. I get it. You’ve been using it for 35 years.
Option 2: The old way. MS Office, Adobe, and Apple Productivity Apps are still probably the most effective ways to create. These options are often more than what is necessary for day-to-day documents, but they are familiar and user-friendly. Sharing and collaborating becomes a nightmare though!
Option 3: The new way. Enter the cloud. Google Docs is probably the biggest player in cloud document creation. It revolutionized document creation/storage and collaboration. PandaDoc, however, has helped take it to the next level. They offer so much flexibility to create unique and professional documents in a collaborative and intuitive interface. They do it really well and are getting better every day.
Key things to consider are security, access, collaboration, organization, and cost.
Option 1: The ancient way. Filing cabinets. Need I say more?
Option 2: The old way. On-site device storage via your computer or server. This is secure but makes access and collaboration difficult. And if something happens to the hard drive you’re SOL. A company I worked for lost 6 months of important documents because all of their servers crashed simultaneously.
Option 3: The new way. The cloud. Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, Box, Onedrive, etc. are the big guys. PandaDoc, however, handles it all here too! It’s a one stop shop! We are storing documents created on the site as well as other documents we’ve uploaded. Secure, cost effective, and great!
Ahhh, glorious e-signatures. It blows my mind that people still fax documents. If you’re reading this and still use a fax machine, I’m sorry. But tell me, what you would rather use?
Scanning and emailing really isn’t much better either. E-signatures are legally binding, fast and efficient.
Option 1: The ancient way. Pen and paper, then mail or fax. Store in a file cabinet.
Option 2: The old way. Pen and paper, then scan and email. Save on local computer drive.
Option 3: The new way. E-signature software like Docusign, Echosign, and Rightsignature allow you to add signatures to documents created the old way. Definitely a step up in efficiency, but they only solve the e-signature problem and still require a subscription for their service! PandaDoc, on the other hand, allows you to throw in a signature line, assign it to someone, and voila!
Traceability and Workflow
Now we’re getting into the magic sauce. A business is built on document flow. Very few solutions exist that handle this aspect of document management. What good is a document if you don’t know whether or not it’s been viewed or signed? It’s useless!
Pandadoc keeps it simple. It tracks document progress, notifies all parties of activity within the document, and allows for simple approval actions. Exactly what a small to mid-size business needs.
Reporting and Metrics
Lots of documents means lots to manage. How many proposals did I send last week? How much were they worth? Can I move any through the pipeline? What about invoices and outstanding receivables? There are a number of solutions solving these needs but you sacrifice a level of customization and workflow. PandaDoc does all this in a unique way by tracking and reporting in pricing tables that can be embedded within any document. And you can access all of your documents from one place. Wow. Game changer.
Overall, it’s my job to review, identify, and implement the right software tools for my clients. PandaDoc really is the only solution that I’ve found that promises to be the one-stop shop for document management from start to finish. The best part is they are listening to their clients and improving their product and features all the time!