In today’s fast-paced business world, document automation and generation are critical for operational efficiency as companies across industries rely on creating and managing high volumes of documents to conduct transactions, communicate with clients, and keep accurate records.
While these responsibilities used to require tedious manual processes, advances in technology have transformed document creation into a streamlined digital workflow, allowing modern solutions to go from template to finalized paperwork with just a few clicks by pulling data from back-end systems to populate customized documents at scale.
The result is significant time and cost savings that free up employees to focus on other work, as well as reduced human error by eliminating manual tasks. As document requirements continue to grow, automation and generation technology enable organizations to keep pace and leverage these tools to accelerate document workflows, improve compliance, and deliver an enhanced client experience.
This article will get you up to speed on document automation software, from what it does, how it works, its benefits, and how it can be used to deliver maximum value.
Document Automation transforms manual document processes into efficient digital workflows, offering significant time and cost savings. This technology integrates data, streamlines tasks, and provides customizable templates, enhancing productivity across various industries.
The Process of Document Automation
A document automation solution can be defined as a software tool that digitizes the document creation process. It effectively takes all of the manual steps involved – including data entry, formatting, and design – and puts them on autopilot. Digital software is perfect for breaking down complex sets of tasks and instructions into quicker more automated steps. Implementing solutions involved in document creation in an automated workflow saves time and eliminates manual errors.
Step 1: Evaluation of Current Document Processes
If inefficiency is the problem, the first step in solving is to understand why. This means taking a close look at the current document processes and assessing where there are challenges or bottlenecks. It could be that some documents require constant manual adjustment to fit new data, or perhaps there is an over-reliance on templates which can lead to sluggish creation times. Evaluating the existing document process is a necessary first step and is key to determining how to move forward with automation.
Step 2: Selection of Document Automation Software
Next comes the hard part – choosing the right automation solution for your needs. We’ll get into this more later, but the time you put into it and the factors you consider during the shopping process will have a major say in the value you ultimately end up getting from a document automation solution. Every automation tool is different in one way or another, and many are designed with specific industries in mind. Things like data sources, various document-type templates, and other features should be given serious consideration. Luckily, the evaluation of existing document processes that you conducted in the first step should help to narrow down the field to a few contenders.
Step 3: Implementation and Integration with Existing Systems
Once you’ve identified the best document automation option for your company, it’s time to get it up and running. Although the installation process varies from product to product, most can be implemented quickly and efficiently. If you’re using a cloud-based solution, the setup process is typically easier, as there’s no need for additional downloads or installations.
There may be, however, a need to integrate the new document automation tool with your organization’s existing systems. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, and other company applications are all invaluable sources of data for a document automation platform.
Step 4: Training and Adoption
Even the best document automation software in the world won’t benefit your organization if employees aren’t using it.
Ensure employees are equipped to use the new tool in its full capacity, from base template creation and document generation to document assembly, document management, and sharing. There are undoubtedly tons of opportunities to integrate the new solution into your organization’s workflow, whether incrementally or all at once. In some cases, such as with large enterprises and legacy systems, a gradual transition is best for training employees on a new platform without disrupting existing processes.
This may mean building out templates one by one or introducing document assembly to one department before rolling out the same feature across the entire organization.
Benefits of Document Automation
A good document automation system has the power to overhaul virtually any organization’s internal operational efficiency. From medical device manufacturers to legal document processors and those in financial services, everyone can find value in a faster document workflows. Read below for a rundown of some of the most exciting benefits of document automation that companies stand to reap when investing in this type of software.
If there’s one thing that every company is short of in today’s day and age, it’s time. There often aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything you need done, done.
Document Automation consolidates repetitive tasks and reduces manual data entry, freeing up staff to focus on other responsibilities, while saving significant time on document-related tasks. Document Automation also streamlines document production processes, which can significantly speed up contract completion times and help organizations meet tight deadlines more easily.
Reduction In Errors
Human error, as we all know, is inevitable. It’s a part of life and it often has costly consequences within the business world when important documents are filled out incorrectly or have typos. Document Automation helps to eliminate errors – such as transposed numbers, missed deadlines and forgotten details – by establishing rules for how documents should be formatted.
Improved Efficiency and Productivity
Document Automation enables staff to search and retrieve documents quickly, streamlining workflows for improved efficiency. Documents are created automatically with the right fields and information in place, ensuring that you save time while still meeting regulatory standards.
At the end of the day, every organization needs to save time and money. Document Automation can help you do just that by greatly reducing manual data entry tasks, eliminating the need to print and store paper documents, accelerating contract completion times, and helping you adhere to regulations. Document automation platforms tend to pay themselves off rather quickly. This is especially true when it comes to compliance, as document automation can play an integral role in ensuring that a business is operating within the law and avoiding costly fines.
Industries and Use Cases
Benefits abound, who can get the most value out of document automation software? The answer often lies across industry lines.
Here are some of the most common use cases for document automation software:
- Legal and Contract Management – Organizations in this space process a high volume of contracts, agreements, and non-disclosure documents often with strict compliance requirements. This makes document automation a great fit due to its ability to quickly and easily produce documents that are compliant with applicable laws while reducing manual data entry tasks.
- Human Resources – Document Automation software comes in especially handy for HR departments, as documents such as job applications, benefits enrollment forms, and employment contracts can be quickly generated with the click of a button.
- Financial Services – Any organization dealing with financial transactions can benefit from document automation software. Not only does it allow for quick and accurate document creation, but it also eliminates the possibility of human errors in the process. Finance and accounting teams can leverage document automation software to quickly generate invoices, receipts, and statements.
- Sales and Customer Relationship Management – Document Automation can help streamline sales processes and make it easier to stay in touch with customers. It simplifies the task of creating quotes, proposals, contracts, and other documents while reducing turnaround time.
Document Automation Software Options
Document Automation software comes in a range of options to suit all types of businesses. There are solutions specifically built for HR, legal, financial services, and sales teams, as well as more generic tools that aim to work across multiple departments.
Experlogix is one of the most quickly popularizing document automation software solutions today, offering a range of features and capabilities that enable users to create documents, including contracts, proposals, and invoices on the fly. Experlogix also provides customizable templates for automating document generation processes making it a great choice for businesses of all sizes.
You may have also heard of tools like PandaDoc and DocuPilot, which are basically built for sales teams to create documents and manage contracts throughout their entire customer lifecycle. These tools are useful for filling out documents, sending them to various stakeholders, collecting electronic signatures, and more.
In any case, you’ll want to make sure that any document automation system you look at possesses these fundamental features:
- An easy-to-use interface
- Customizable templates and workspaces
- Document storage capabilities
- The ability to share documents with customers, partners, and other stakeholders securely
- Robust integration options, including webhooks and APIs
- Built-in security measures for sensitive data protection
- Excellent customer support
Choosing the Right Document Automation Software
There’s no doubt about the fact that your business needs document automation software. The real question is what kind. While it can be a broadly applicable concept, processing documents with automation often looks different from industry to industry. The market is full of options, each of which has its own nuances and special features. You’d be remiss to simply go with a tool just because it’s the first you find or the cheapest. Fully reaping the benefits of document automation software requires thoughtful selection.
Take time to think about what you want to automate, any special features you may need with respect to processing or storage, and how comfortable your team members are with technology and automation in general. The following four factors are worth keeping top of mind as you browse potential solutions.
Ease of Use and Implementation: Will your team members need special training or resources to use the software? Is it intuitive to understand? Can you customize it for different
Cost: How much are you willing to invest in a document automation tool? Are there additional costs for upgrades or extra features?
Security and Compliance: Does the software meet your company’s safety standards or those of any industries you may be subject to?
Support: Is there customer service access or help documentation available if your team needs assistance with the software?
The criteria outlined here should help you narrow down your options, but definitely shouldn’t be the only considerations taken into account. It’s pivotal to remember the context, as well. Make sure you understand the needs of your team, and what different document automation tools can offer. A demo or free trial can be extremely useful to get a better idea of the capabilities and limitations of each software and will ultimately give you more confidence when pulling the trigger.
Future Trends in Document Automation
Document Automation software is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. And as more businesses, organizations, and individuals get involved in document automation solutions, the technology is continuing to become more sophisticated.
Artificial Intelligence is a perfect example; with AI and machine learning capabilities, document automation systems can now process more information in a fraction of the time that was previously required. This technology is already working to improve accuracy rates while also increasing speed, which will result in higher customer satisfaction levels.
Integration with other business systems is also becoming increasingly important. Businesses are finding that document automation solutions can streamline processes by integrating with existing software and systems, allowing for greater efficiency when it comes to creating new documents or managing existing ones.