Regardless of your industry or the size of your company, documents are the lifeblood of your workflow. Certain industries like sales, legal, insurance, and pharmaceutical can produce thousands of documents each day!
When you produce a document, it goes through several different stages, referred to as the document lifecycle. You can take advantage of technology to assist with management and archiving, and even automate their creation (using the best document automation solutions). Let’s take a look at the document lifecycle and what your business can do to improve it.
These stages are relevant to all documents, regardless of your industry, company size, the technology you use, and the type of document it is. The usual steps an employee takes are as follows:
You can see how tedious this process can be without the right document automation (docauto) software.
The document lifecycle is made up of document creation, active documents, and inactive documents.
Usually using Microsoft Office, the document’s creation involves creating a template or typing up a letter to your clients, for example. Documents are created from “scratch.” This is a pretty simple stage, comparatively.
After the document has been created, it begins its active life. The document will be accessed by various employees, perhaps edited, or stored with other related documents. Usually documents are stored in the user’s or organization’s document management system, like via the Cloud or a shared drive.
There are many benefits to using a document management system, including:
When a document is no longer useful for your organization, it becomes inactive. The information in the document might be no longer correct, or there might be a new version that’s superior. Regardless, once a document is no longer in use, it becomes an inactive document. Record management systems archive these documents, and protect your organization’s intellectual property.
Document automation can supplement your document management system to allow better collaboration and easier document design. Docauto software can also help ensure that each document created adheres to the company’s standards, and that they are completely compliant.
Instead of going through a lengthy editing and review process, and possibly needing developers to add code to the document, document creation software puts document design right into the hands of the business users. Docauto with a really easy-to-use Designer component allows business users to create templates without sending it to the development team for help. And some of the best docauto solutions are built upon familiar apps such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and even PowerPoint) so that no additional training is required to get started with the program. (Though, of course, a fast and helpful support team cannot be understated!)
Some docauto solutions include a document management component. For example, Windward Hub allows users to manage templates, schedule future reports, and even generate documents on-demand.
Docauto software is sure to enhance the entire document lifecycle by allowing for easy template creation, data-connected documents, fast output, and even maintenance and scheduling.
Most document generation software connects a datasource to a template so that the data generated into any document is fast and up-to-date. For example, Windward Core allows users to insert tags into their templates that pull data from a connected datasource. This means that documents can stay in their active stage longer—there’s no need to create an entirely new document when a template can pull fresh data every time it is output.
Overall, document automation is now an important part of the document lifecycle, and a key to the success of creating documentation. If you’re looking for a new docauto solution, take a look at Windward’s guide to document generation and automation features.