To the uninitiated the idea of using Word or Excel to manage documents might be concerning. After all we are all familiar with Microsoft Office to some degree or another and consequently many of us have Word or Excel files on our computers. Some of us are better than others at managing our file systems, with files littering the desktop, in many folders, USB drives. Relax, this may be how you manage your personal files but in a corporate setting things are very different.
Before we can go into the details as to why Word and Excel are a good choice we need to look at the core requirements of a document management system.
Typically businesses that require documents management solutions are dealing with multiple users and documents that are frequently changed. This leads to additional software feature requirements. Documents must be accessible to authorized personnel and secondly, that users and changes must be tracked. Consider what tasks users are going to do with documents:
- Capture (document scan)
When dealing with multiple users, typical use case scenarios such as these bring an additional layer of complexity requiring the following:
- Validation – checklist of common errors
- Indexing – tracking of digital documents
- Storage – storage space for documents
- Versioning – changes to be recorded
When considering storage, it must be a secure centralised repository with redundancies allowing documents to be accessed directly via the internet.
Reasons to use Word and Excel for Documents Management:
- Nearly everyone is familiar with Microsoft Office, both Word and Excel user interfaces, both developer and stakeholder alike (all parties) can navigate documents easily
- The most common of file formats, .xls .doc (docx)
- Built in functionality for tracking changes
What is MS Word + Excel Round Trip functionality?
The term round trip implies a seamless integration and a seamless exchange of data. In the case of requirements management, the ability to seamlessly and effortlessly import / export requirements documentations into Excel or Word, then send the requirements document to clients for approval. This is possible through the use of tailored corporate templates that store meta data. When imported back into the requirements tool, all document changes are tracked through the meta data and all versions stored in the centralized repository.
codeBeamer ALM has both Word and Excel round trip functionality, and is made simpler still through the use of a simple import wizard. All changes to documents are tracked and changes can be traced back to the source.