I work with a team of people where we frequently generate reports specific to clients, regions, and topics. Each time we begin a new report, we open up several older reports which cover the appropriate combination of these items, then copy/paste into the new document, make revisions as necessary, and publish. Errors inevitably come in, since this system requires the person beginning a new report to be familiar with all previous ones, or else take time talking to the rest of the team to figure this out.
What we need
We're looking for a tool that would allow individual report sections/paragraphs to be tagged and version controlled. This way, when we generate a new report, we could simply select the list of appropriate tags, and the most recent version of all applicable paragraphs/sections would be brought in. This could be directly in Word, or in an interface where it could easily be copy/pasted into Word, retaining basic formatting.
- Free trial. The software can cost, but there should be a free trial so I can test it out in order to craft a demo for the team.
- Basic formatting. Things such as heading level, bold/italic, etc should be included.
- Links to sources/references. We cite our work and pull in data from external sources, so we need to track these as well.
- Attachments. Many sections will include a figure or graphic, so we need to include these.
- Version control. It's OK if we can only see the most recent version of a section, but seeing what changed from the last one would be helpful.
- Free-form commenting.
- Easy Sharepoint and/or Microsoft Word integration.
- "Field" compatibility, or some method of inserting names/dates as variables which can be updated from one central location.
- Web-based user interface. We have a server where we can install/run Windows or Linux apps if necessary.