What Makes a Good Documentation Software? Introducing MeisterNote.

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Documentation software is changing. With rapidly-evolving requirements for document creation and sharing, new ways of working and exciting technical possibilities, there has never been a better time to switch to a modern, collaborative solution. However, choosing a good documentation software for your company can become a much more challenging process than it initially sounds. With so many factors to consider, and so many tools on the market, analyzing the pros and cons of each can be overwhelming. To help you with your choice, this post looks in more detail at what a documentation software is, what you might use it for, and the characteristics you should consider when choosing your next online documentation tool. 

What Makes a Good Documentation Software? Introducing MeisterNote.

We’re looking into the fascinating topic of documentation software as part of the official launch for our latest product: MeisterNote. This outstanding collaborative documentation tool for teams is the latest offering in the Meister Suite – a beautiful, intuitive group of products that helps your company achieve seamless, end-to-end workflow management. We’re helping companies everywhere create collaborative, beautiful documentation: find out how you can reap the benefits too on the official MeisterNote website.

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What’s Wrong with Documentation?

Even for the hyper-organized among us, documentation can be a very scary word. Part of this is to do with association: the process of documentation is traditionally associated with long, incomprehensible walls of text that no one in their right mind would read. We’ve all seen examples – “black hole” Google Drive folders, confusing version histories on company servers, email threads that threaten the space-time continuum – and each is as useless and inefficient as the last. Essentially, this type of content doesn’t help anyone: in fact, it only serves to slow projects down, to the extent that the Manifesto for Agile Development specifically mentions working software over comprehensive documentation as one of its guiding principles.

Then again, when you look down at the 5-year old, 15,000 word Microsoft Word document (that someone last edited in 2019) on your screen, who could blame them? It is largely because of the inefficiencies in documentation, at the heart of even the most forward-thinking companies, that we sensed the time was right to intervene. With MeisterNote, we’ve added a documentation software to our unique range of beautifully designed, highly-integrated online productivity tools.

Thanks to tools like MeisterNote, as well as many competitor products, the modern, digital documentation experience has become a very different matter entirely. With the advanced styling options, real-time collaborative editing and sophisticated organization features that MeisterNote and its peers can provide, companies everywhere are finding that actually writing things down can provide massive benefits to their business activities. 

The Only Documentation Software You Need.

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Going Online

The Covid-19 pandemic essentially ended the discussion on whether “offline” forms of documentation had any future. Not just “pen and paper” methods, but digitalized communication stored without the potential for remote access too. With so much of the modern working day occurring online, these types of systems will probably not survive the next few years. Before long, the terms “online documentation tool” and “documentation tool” will essentially become synonymous with each other. There will be no alternative to creating and storing documentation online: the question will simply be “with which tool?”

The benefits of a fully online documentation software are essentially endless. Cloud-based systems, including MeisterNote, open up possibilities for companies that were simply not available beforehand with analog or single-system tools. These include: 

  • Real-time updates. Storing documentation online means that information is updated in real time. This reduces the risk that users access and work from outdated documentation.
  • Simultaneous editing. With MeisterNote, multiple people can edit a single document at once, which saves time creating and collating different sets of notes or documents.
  • Storage space. Particularly for large companies, the question of where to actually store documents can become a serious issue. If you forward an email chain with 20 MB in attachments to 500 people, you’re looking at 10 GB of used storage on the mail server. For one email. Keeping your documentation centralized and online means that employees won’t have to save files locally and the issue is avoided.
  • Security. When company employees store information on their computer, they become targets for cyber criminals, who want access to the information they have. By storing documentation centrally on secured, monitored servers, MeisterNote mitigates this problem and keeps your data safe.

We’re serious about security. Find out more on the MeisterNote security page.

How is Documentation Used in Other Companies?

So far, we’ve ascertained that online, cloud-based documentation is both possible and can yield several key advantages when compared to more traditional documentation methods. However, the key to understanding the importance of online documentation is to define it in a modern context. We would add our own description of online documentation for companies at this point:

Online documentation is any centrally-stored, written information that is useful for a company and its employees.

Given the fact that documentation is everything and everything is documentation, it probably makes more sense to split the topic into the different types of documentation that are required on a corporate level. We see the key types of documentation requirements as follows:

  • Knowledge bases that help teams collect, organize, retrieve, and share important knowledge about their companies and projects.
  • Internal communication materials that inform employees about company updates in a way that is consistent, easy to understand and trackable.
  • Project documentation materials that provide a single source of truth to the project team regarding the aims, status and results of the project in question. 
  • Meeting management documentation, which is designed to make meetings within a company shorter, more relevant and more valuable. 

To summarize, the best documentation software will help you to create and manage these types of documentation in the most efficient way possible. Its features should be ideally suited for your individual purpose.

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Why is Online Documentation Necessary?

Despite the vast scale of the documentation requirement and the issues it often presents, the fact remains that well-structured, properly-maintained documentation helps us do our jobs more effectively and more efficiently. Of course, it is eminently possible to work without thorough documentation, and many companies – especially those in the early stages of their development – do exactly this. 

The more you think about it, the more familiar it seems. Instead of knowledge bases, small teams may rely exclusively on their senior members to be sources of knowledge and to convey important information to their team when a question arises. Rather than a dedicated communication platform, companies may turn to mass-emails and slack messages that are simply deleted, overlooked or forgotten over time. In projects, locally-stored information may cause information silos and duplicated content, rather than a transparent, easily-accessible account of work.

The Alternative?

If the opposite to documentation is no documentation at all, the following questions would eventually need to be considered. 

  • How do we prevent knowledge loss? Knowledge loss is the process of company information leaving the company, often over a longer period of time: as months and years pass, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of processes, procedures and information. If this information isn’t recorded and structured, the long-term effects on businesses can be severe.
  • How do we stop information hoarding? It has been estimated that Fortune 500 companies lose roughly $31.5 billion a year by failing to share knowledge. However, the problem is not just limited to giants. Studies show that on average, employees spend 9.3 hours per week searching for information, almost a quarter of the working week. 
  • How do we scale? When new employees join your team, it puts pressure on the ones already there, especially in the onboarding phase. Experienced employees may not be able to focus on their jobs if they are continually answering everyone’s questions.

Given the above, we can easily say that even if an online documentation software is not currently part of your company’s present digital ecosystem, it will have to be in the future, especially if you have any plans of growing in a sustainable way. As such, there is only one question left to answer: which online documentation tool is right for me?

Choosing the Right Documentation Software 

As we can see from some of the examples listed above, the results of having a poorly-structured system of documentation and no documentation system at all are exactly the same. This means two things: not only is a modern, integrated documentation software an absolute necessity for most companies, it needs to be implemented across the entire team at the same time. We would shorten this to three key terms: 

  • Collaboration
  • Centralization
  • Ease of Use

With this in mind, what exactly are the things you should be looking out for when it comes to tool selection? Well, much of the answer depends on who is using the software, and indeed for what. The ways in which people use online documentation depends on what the organization does, and their own role within it. However, the following requirements are relevant to almost every company.

1. Centralize Information

As your company grows, it will accumulate a wealth of information. By documenting it online, this know-how can benefit everyone, which in turn opens a wide range of opportunities to the company itself. Not only do you break down information silos, you’ll reduce reliance on email and ensure that unnecessary duplicates or out-of-date information are kept out of the picture. 

2. Improve Team Productivity

If your employees don’t share information, they are likely to repeat each other’s mistakes. Online documentation tools can boost productivity, with regular updates communicated through the tool. This, in turn, empowers teams to make faster, better-informed decisions.

3. Enable Faster Onboarding

Onboarding is the time before a new employee reaches full productivity. Companies can shorten this period by giving new hires full access to company information, getting them up to speed faster and minimizing repetitive questions. This not only means that new hires are trained with the latest information and receive consistent guidance, but reduces the workload for trainers and mentors too. 

4. Ensure Better Knowledge Retention

When an experienced employee leaves, any undocumented information they possess leaves with them. By making sure that important information is always available via a centralized online documentation software, you can help both existing and future employees.

Time To Change Documentation Software?

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Using MeisterNote as Your Online Documentation Software

Having considered the importance of documentation and indeed the requirements for a good online documentation software, we came up with MeisterNote. Our all-new collaborative documentation tool for teams is the answer to many of the problems posed by the current landscape of productivity tools available on the market today. 

MeisterNote’s incredible feature set makes the tool perfect to use for online documentation. The tool’s online documentation capabilities will help teams large and small to fulfil the following needs.

Visit our features page to discover exactly what MeisterNote can do for you!

  • Use advanced sharing options to share internal newsletters and blogs, minutes from team meetings, messages and all kinds of other information within a company. Permission settings can be set individually or according to user groups, depending on how much control over creating, commenting on and sharing content you want to grant your audience.

Find out how to use MeisterNote’s sharing options in our help center!

  • Collect documents relating to a specific project. MeisterNote allows you to embed many different types of content into your note, which keeps them flexible and smooths the transition from your existing tool. Open PDFs, Videos, Word documents and more without leaving the in-app viewer.

Discover how to get the most out of MeisterNote for project documentation on our homepage.

  • Actively run and document the results of meetings. This covers agenda preparation, minute taking and the creation of follow-up materials, all of which is made simple by MeisterNote’s intuitive content-creation capabilities. You can even use MeisterNote to make templates that you simply fill in as the meeting progresses.

MeisterNote has tons of other features that make it a great aid for meeting management. Find out more![/pro-tip] Enable remote work. With MeisterNote, your team will be able to carry out any aspect of the documentation process, whether they’re at the office or at home. [pro-tip]Learn more about the benefits of using MeisterNote for remote work.

  • Boost personal or team productivity by reducing time spent searching for information. MeisterNote’s customizable dashboard view and powerful search functionality means that you’re only ever a click away from the documentation you’re looking for. 

More About MeisterNote 

The world of work is changing. Even before the pandemic, changing requirements for documentation software meant new challenges for teams, both in terms of enabling remote work and facilitating a more collaborative environment that yielded better results in many key industries.

We believe that MeisterNote is the solution to the documentation problems faced by teams worldwide. As a documentation software that meets the need of companies for knowledge bases, meeting management, internal communication and project documentation, it ensures enhanced collaboration, seamless integration and perfect organization in a single, beautiful interface. 

What are you waiting for? Start your online documentation journey today.

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