Posted by AODocs ● Sep 23, 2020 6:47:15 AM

Are You Ready for Document Automation ? (aka Document Assembly)

At AODocs, we are all about giving enterprises the tools to control their business critical information while letting the end users enjoy a human friendly collaboration environment. A lot of focus in information management is on the control of content once it is created - we focus on capture, storage, routing and so on. But careful mentorship of content creation -- or document automation -- is equally important if you don’t want to have hundreds of uncontrolled content items popping up all over the place (SharePoint library creators take note!)

Controlling Content Creation

Content comes in many shapes, sizes and formats. If you’re a Google Drive user just take a look at the Drive Audit tool and it will show you all of the different types of files stored in your space - the results are often fascinating. A lot of time can be spent on cleaning up content stores but a more proactive approach is to limit the amount of content that is created in the first place, and of course to use a document management tool like AODocs to properly manage versions and collaborative editing.

While content creation is often a manual process, increasingly the new content created is not in fact new - but is a mashup of information from existing sources. Information generates more information, if you like. Think about weekly reports - these aren’t generated from fresh air, you don’t need to be Shakespeare to craft a marketing report - you just need data from Google Analytics, Hubspot and Salesforce for example.

This type of content, where you are generating documents from multiple sources of existing information is known as document automation, or document assembly. Many types of business documents can be created in this manner and they tend to have certain characteristics. These documents typically must be generated in a specific format, for example they must contain headers and footers with specific information, they have a predefined structure and contain the same type of content irrespective of version - it is only the values that change, not the structure. Financial reports, technical or medical test results, RFP responses, and project deliverables are classic examples of this type of content.

Document Assembly

AODocs document assembly screenshot

The process for creating custom, self-building documents is equally simple and powerful.

  1. Define the document sections that will be fed by metadata
  2. Connect the document section to the relevant metadata source
    a. That could be a form field, a user entry box, or stored data from a CRM, or ERP.
    b. Equally it could be metadata from the document itself - perhaps version number, last edited date and so on.

    3. Then in the words of the Sugababes - push the button!
    a. Or to be more precise, when the document is ready to be created, pull the metadata from the various sources into the document and you are done.
It really is that simple. But actually we’ve only just scratched the surface with the description above. There are a lot more capabilities just waiting to be used with document automation systems.
  • Documents can be generated automatically based on the metadata stored in AODocs, or any other system connected to AODocs via API
  • Documents can be automatically updated when metadata stored in AODocs changes
  • Multiple documents can be assembled in parallel, and/or be collated into a single output document, quickly

Summary

Creating documents such as reports from other data sources has typically involved a lot of copy and pasting. This is mundane work at best, takes a lot of time and naturally includes a lot of errors.

By deploying document automation software like AODocs, users can create accurate document templates that remove manually introduced transcription errors and help save time, every time they need the document. This simple form of automation is incredibly powerful and moves AODocs from being “just” a document storage and business process management tool into a powerful content generation platform, and automation solution. I’ll take some of that please!



To learn more about automated document management with AODocs, contact us or visit our website to request a demo:

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Topics: Document Management, Process Automation