Why SaaS Companies Need Document Version Control + How to Do It In Vendr

Procurement

Contract Management

Document version control is a must-have for businesses. Here’s how it can help you maintain document integrity and collaborate more effectively with peers.

Written by
Vendr Team
Published on
June 12, 2024
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Consider a team that is working on a procurement contract. There are multiple versions of the contract in Google Drive; however, instead of using a system to track different versions, team members rely on their own memory to know which version is the latest. This seems to work fine — until they send the wrong contract to the client, creating delays for everyone involved.

To prevent such incidents, today’s organizations increasingly leverage document version control to manage documents as they are changed over time. This guide will cover the essential aspects of document version control, including: 

  • What is document version control?
  • 3 different approaches to document version control.
  • Document version control best practices.
  • How Vendr streamlines document management. 
  • Document version control FAQs.

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What is document version control?

Document version control is the process of tracking different versions of a file as it is modified. For example, if you edit a procurement contract, document version control saves both the previous and current versions. It also labels the most recent version so you can find it easily.

With document version control, organizations can:

  • Avoid sending or working on an outdated version of a file.
  • Access older file versions to retrieve information.
  • Create an audit trail of changes to previous versions.

Companies use various version control tools to support different workflows, including software development, project management, and procurement.

The importance of version control in contract management

File version control is integral to contract management processes. Failing to adequately store and label the most recent version of a contract might lead to a lot of employee time spent trying to identify the right one. This delays important conversations and projects while frustrating teams. In addition to wasting time, poor document version control can lead to expensive mistakes. 

Imagine that you are operating under the assumption that a 12-month contract with a software vendor is due to renew on July 1st with a 30-day cancellation notice. But the final version of a contract has a 60-day notice, causing you to miss your cancellation window and forcing you to pay for another year.

3 different approaches to document version control

Here are three ways to control the different versions of important documents.

1. The status quo: Manual work 

One way to keep track of different document versions is to save each new version under a new name. For example, you can label changes with the numbers “1.0” or “2.0,” the words “draft” or “final,” or specific dates.

Although this approach is simple, it leaves a lot of room for human error. A team member could forget to save a new version of a document and overwrite the old one. And it might become difficult to organize all the different versions.

To avoid these issues, some organizations use spreadsheets to track document changes. Each column includes information that streamlines tracking, such as a link to the document, the name of the employee who made the changes, the date, and a brief description of the changes.

2. An intermediate option: Work collaboration tools

Work collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace have replaced manual document version control in many instances. These tools store documents in the cloud and automatically keep logs of any changes, as well as who made them. This is helpful when multiple people are editing the same document.

That said, sometimes you will still need to save different versions of the same document. For example, you might need to have a client-facing version and an internal version to keep comments separate.

3. The idea solution: Contract management software

Contract management software keeps all important documents and agreements in one place. It is especially beneficial for SaaS contracts with automatic renewal since it can remind you that key dates are coming up.

You can upload different versions of the same contract and each will be saved as a separate file. Determining the most recent version is easy using automatically generated version numbers and upload dates.

Document version control best practices

Whether you opt to control document versions manually or using software, we recommend following these best practices to minimize issues:

  • Standardize naming conventions: When everyone follows the same naming guidelines, it’s easier to find what you need.
  • Centralize document storage: Keep all documents accessible in one location, such as a cloud storage platform.
  • Secure document access: Implement role-based access permissions to minimize security risks and allow only authorized employees to update documents.
  • Archive old documents: Avoid digital clutter by removing or archiving files that are no longer relevant.
  • Make document version control a part of employee training: As new employees join your organization, educate them about procedures related to file version control because their previous employer might have had different guidelines. 

How Vendr streamlines document management

Vendr Contracts is a platform that helps ​​procurement teams manage SaaS and non-SaaS agreements. It centralizes all contracts, tracks renewals, and provides visibility into your spending. The platform also includes a document version management feature that allows you to:

  • See all existing iterations of a document.
  • Upload new versions.
  • Determine the most recent version.

It’s very easy to upload a new version of a contract. Just click on “Upload version” in the Action column.

You will also see the date of the latest version of the document and the name of the person who uploaded it.

Vendr allows you to identify current contract versions with a version number (“V2” in the example below) and the upload date.

When you open a document, use the dropdown menu to switch between versions and revert to an older one if necessary. The most recent version is labeled as such to avoid confusion.

Vendr: Your cost-saving tool for streamlining SaaS procurement

Companies use Vendr’s procurement automation platform to simplify the procurement process, from evaluating vendors to managing contracts. In addition, our pricing benchmarks, expert negotiators, and community insights help you discover discount levers and ensure you never overpay for software.

To get started, register for a free account and gain access to buyer guides and community insights.

Document version control FAQs

What is an example of document version control?

An example of document version control is using Google Docs to track and access previous file versions. Google Docs automatically saves every edit, which allows users to see the revision history, restore older versions, or copy content from previous document versions.

Which teams or departments at a company need document version control?

Document version control is a must-have for all departments, from HR to legal and procurement. It allows the entire organization to track changes over time, prevent data loss, create efficient workflows, and avoid costly errors. For example, SaaS companies use document version control during product development, procurement, and other processes.

What are some examples of document version control software? 

Vendr is one example of a document management system that allows you to upload and manage all of your contracts. You can distinguish between different versions using dates and version numbers.

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Vendr Team
Vendr Team
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Vendr's team of SaaS and negotiation experts provide their curated insights into the latest trends in software, tool capabilities, and modern procurement strategies.

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