Version Control: The Difference Between Making and Missing Your Deadline – or Your Bottom Line

Version control: it’s the bane of every creative professional’s existence. When you need the correct version of a file from the 50 to 100 or more that may exist, you can’t take the time to consult every collaborator on the file, and you can’t take a wild guess that “Summer Campaign_Final_Revised_v2” is the version you’re looking for. Compounding the problem are other workday frustrations:

  • Disorganized desktops and email inboxes
  • Inconsistency around file naming conventions
  • Lack of a document management system

These are a few of the dozens of factors that contribute to clicking “send” with the incorrect file attached to your email – often fostering confusion or chaos. And with the error, a project that should take four iterations might now take 12 iterations. A project that should take two days takes five days. This is often time you don’t have. From the second every creative project begins, the clock starts ticking, and adding extra iterations decreases the odds of on-time project completion.

But it’s not just about time; it’s also about your bottom line. If a person sends the incorrect version of a logo to a production partner and the partner produces a document with the wrong version of a logo – that’s a mistake that could cost tens of thousands of dollars. Imagine for example a company that produces graphics for the gaming machines used in Casinos. The wrong version of a graphic is sent to the manufacturer who goes ahead and produces the glass covers for the machines and then prints the ‘incorrect’ graphic onto the glass cover. What do you do with 1000 glass covers each with the wrong version of the graphic? This is a real situation explained to us by a potential customer; the cost of poor quality ran into the tens of thousands of dollars.

To help eliminate situations such as those described above, evolphin created Checkout, an app integrated into the company’s Zoom digital asset management (DAM) system. Checkout links the working copy of a file on the desktop to a version of the file on the Zoom server. The link ensures that the working copy is always in sync with the server copy; Zoom keeps track and always “knows” which of the many versions of a file is the correct or most current version. But what’s the payoff? You don’t incur thousands of dollars in cost and time because you accidentally used the wrong version of a file.

Face it: every collaborator on a file must know, at all times, how someone changed a document, when the document was changed, and where the most recent version is located. That’s one of the key tenets of DAM.

In the comments section below, please tell us your solution for version control. Do you use a DAM system? Do you cross your fingers and hope for the best? We want to hear about it!