New England law firm Pierce Atwood tackles complex document comparison workflows with compareDocs

Published on October 8, 2014 by kerryc

New England powerhouse, Pierce Atwood, found themselves looking for new document comparison software when their current solution was earmarked for End of Life. They found compareDocs—an application that delivered on speed, accuracy and ease of use. The intuitively simple interface reduced previously complex workflows and processes in many cases to a single click...

Pierce Atwood LLP is more than 120 years old, with historic roots in Maine. It has offices throughout New England and in Washington, DC, and a premier practice that extends nationally and internationally. They provide exceptional service and value to their clients, who range from regional and local enterprises, utilities, financiers, middle-market companies, entrepreneurs and individuals to Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, and state and foreign governments.

The business challenge

Document comparison is a “must-have” technology for law firms that need to quickly and accurately determine the differences between two documents. Pierce Atwood had been using Workshare’s DeltaView for a number of years for precisely that purpose. However, Workshare informed Pierce Atwood that the software was on an End-of-Life path and that there would be no future upgrades. It recommended the firm migrate to its Workshare Professional product. It was at that point that Lee Cullivan, Director of Information Technology at Pierce Atwood, decided to look at different options. “The DeltaView licensing structure changed to a pricing model that no longer worked for us.” Lee began testing Workshare Professional and iRedline as possible replacements. He recalls a session at an International Legal Technology conference (ILTA) and seeing compareDocs from DocsCorp for the first time. It was a revelation he said. compareDocs was unlike any other document comparison solution at the time, providing users with the ability to compare “apples to oranges.” Users could compare Word to Word, PDF to PDF, and Word to PDF. Pierce Atwood had been a DocsCorp client for a number of years, using pdfDocs for all their PDF and PDF/A requirements. A pilot group of power users was set up with support from DocsCorp technical experts. The group reported back to Lee that compareDocs was extremely easy and intuitive to use; fast; and compared PDF documents better than either Workshare or iRedline. Lee decided to go with the recommendation and deployed compareDocs as the DeltaView replacement.

Our solution

It’s often been said that it takes a lot of hard work to make something simple. Software should do complex tasks, but it shouldn’t be complex to use. The compareDocs interface is modern, simple and intuitive. Loading documents into the interface is made easy by multiple integration points. You can add documents directly from MS Office, Outlook, leading Document Management Systems and Windows file systems, or simply drag and drop into compareDocs and compare—it’s that simple. For Pierce Atwood, ease of use was extremely important. In fact, for Lee it was what they liked most. “Users would simply not use the application if it was too hard or too complicated. They would seek alternative solutions,” he said. In addition to end user satisfaction, there was an immediate return on investment. According to Lee, “we saved about 15-30 minutes per day. With 100-150 using the application daily, that’s a significant savings.” compareDocs goes beyond Word to Word comparison. It lets users also compare PDF to PDF, Word to PDF, and scanned images to Word or PDF. Just drag the documents onto the interface, select your output settings and let compareDocs do the rest. A Comparison Report is generated showing the differences between the documents. Users can choose to display the changes in a traditional redline report or marked up with Track Changes in a PDF document or in a Word document.

Other benefits

The intuitively simple compareDocs user interface belies the power of the comparison engine under the hood and how it deals with complex comparison workflows. compareDocs provides single-click workflows to reduce complexity and inefficiencies in performing a particular task or process. compareDocs, for example, provides users with an email comparison report as Word or PDF with source documents attached workflow. Or, consider comparing two PDFs, one of which is an image-based PDF. This would require the document to be OCR’ed before running the comparison. However, compareDocs automatically detects this and OCRs the PDF when you click the Compare button as part of a single process. A more complex workflow would be to compare two image-based PDF documents, mark up as a Word redline report output to PDF. compareDocs can perform this workflow with a single click. compareDocs integrates with all the applications and systems Pierce Atwood staff used on a daily basis—MS Outlook, MS Word and the Worldox document management system. Users can select the documents they want to compare in Worldox, click the Compare with compareDocs button on the main menu or right-click and compare. With a single click users have the option to compare and email the comparison report; compare and save as a new document; compare and save as a new version, compare and save as a related document; compare and save to My Computer; or compare and view the comparison report.

In summary

New England law firm, Pierce Atwood, found itself looking for a new document comparison solution when its previous vendor pulled the plug (End of Life) on its application. Pierce Atwood decided to test compareDocs as a possible replacement. Not only did the solution deliver on speed, accuracy and ease of use, it delivered new workflows that reduced some previously complex processes to a single click. The application integrated with the firm’s document management system, requiring no special plug-ins or connectors. The switch to compareDocs resulted in significant savings to the firm. Download PDF version...