I'm trying to figure out a way of managing different versions of an InDesign document (instruction manual) in a time and cost efficient way. Currently, my company has little to no version control for the .indd documents.
The company I work at currently uses subcontractors to do the InDesign document - meaning, we make the draft in a text editor with all that needs to be in the manual and then the subcontractor creates the InDesign document. The problem is, before we publish the document there is usually several versions of the InDesign document the subcontractor needs to do as - they make the initial version, we comment, they make changes and on and on the wheel turns. After publishing, the document comes under our control, and we do the changes that are required, if any. But up until that point, the contractor is in charge of the InDesign document.
So basically what I'm asking here is whether or not add-ons like Goversion would work for this situation? Would our contractor need to have the Goversion add-on at their end? Is there a viable solution for a situation like this?
If our manuals were any bigger, I would advocate the move to XML and Dita-based system, but with our current product portfolio and manuals this would be more trouble than it's worth.
I don't know specifically about Goversion, but if you're willing to provide your subcontractors access to your document management system, it should be able to monitor outside contractor content as easily as input from anyone in-house. That may or may not be an acceptable option for you.
Another would be to include version numbering and date/time hacks into your file naming conventions. I use a two-character alphanumeric (to be more precise, a number followed with a lower-case alpha character) for versioning and a date hack for all my long documentation. When everyone's on the same page (so to speak) with manual versioning in your naming conventions, it's easy to maintain version control at a glance.
I'm not fully grasping your need for these versions based on your explanation but you can try Radish which is a free plug-in. It's been around for some time but I haven't used it recently. I wrote an article on Radish years ago that you can read here to get a better understanding of how it works.
Another thought is that if you use OneDrive, DropBox, or Google Drive, all of your versions are saved automatically. This would be easy to configure for remote users.
For the $10 cost for Goversion, why not try it out? It looks like it might work for you. Chad's recommendation of Radish looks good too (can't beat the cost), but I personally like the idea of managing Photoshop and Illustrator files too.
Your contractor(s) would need to get a copy too since it is purchased by Adobe CC account.
PS: If you switch to XML (as DITA or not), I would consider Adobe FrameMaker. It can work with content management systems.