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What is the True Cost of Document Creation Software?

Think About It

Is the Investment Worth It?

Many organizations make the mistake of thinking document creation software is an expense when they should be looking at it as an investment!

For many organizations, adopting new tools like document creation software would need justification with figures. The people controlling the finances need to know it’s worth it. Many organizations may choose not to adopt technology like this because they think it may be too expensive. But when you consider the true cost of enterprise software, consider it an investment as it’s sure to give you good returns.

Whoever is giving technology a bad rap probably doesn’t know how much money is saved in the document creation process once a business goes paperless. When you compare it to how much money organizations spend using a manual process, it becomes obvious that the time for a software change is long overdue.

Why is Automation Software an Investment?

While great document creation software has a cost, this cost could be considered negligible considering the results. Imagine spending about $18 a month to have full access to all that it can do. By that we are talking about:

All the same, it is understandable that every spending should be justified. There is no reason to spend on document creation tools if they will not add to business growth.

How the Best Document Creation Software Saves Money?

To appreciate the savings when you go paperless, you need to visualize how much is being spent on paper. Now, the spending on paper may vary according to the business size and the line of business they are into.

For this calculation, let us consider an insurance company that hires 100 people. Every employee may use 5 sheets of paper a day (this is on the lower side).

The daily amount of paper used in the business would be 5x100 = 500

Now if a sheet of paper costs $0.06 then the daily expense on paper would be 500 x 0.06 = $30

The monthly cost of paper would  be 30 x 20 = $600

This calculation doesn't take into account possible money spent on running a printer and ink cartridges which would make the expense even more.

By going paperless, a business can save more than $600 a month before even considering the return on investment a digital document design software would bring to a business.

How Much Time is Saved by Automating Documents?

Let’s agree that time translates into money. So, by saving time, you would save money. The question now is how much time is saved?

According to a survey, the average knowledge-based employee spends 2.5 hours a day dealing with paper documents. This includes manual creation of documents, filing, and searching for them. Because most of this is spread out over the entire workday, it may go unnoticed. But let's consolidate this and then see what it means in terms of money.

If 2.5 hours are spent dealing with documents every day, that means 2.5 x 5 = 12.5 hours are spent every 5 day week dealing with documents. That’s more than an entire nine to five day spend dealing with documents.

Now, if the average hourly pay at an organization is $20 an hour, then every week an individual is paid 20 x 12.5 = $250 for doing work they were not hired to do.

With document creation software, this task would be handled automatically and $1000 would be saved on an individual who would invest their time in more productive knowledge-based activities of the business.

What is the Cost of Human Error?

The amount of human error involved in manual document processes is enormous. It could be a missing digit on an invoice, outdated information entered into a report, or even a file misplaced or filed under the wrong name. All these errors can eventually cost a business a lot of money. Leading business insight provider Ganter estimates that replacing lost documents could cost a business $220.

By simply getting document creator software free download, a business would save over $30,000 a year. This is just an estimate for lost documents. It does not include the amount of money that can be lost if a mistake is made in a contract document or an insurance claim.

To calculate the cost of human error, a business would have to look at the different errors usually made by its employees when they create documents and then quantify it. One of the features of automated document software is the ability to quickly collect such data and provide a detailed report on how much money the business may be losing every year due to human error.

Understanding the Relationship Between Customer Satisfaction and ROI of Document Template Software

Whatever a business spends on should be directly or indirectly able to bring in returns. Even paper that may eventually become an expense can still bring returns.

But, what is the amount of ROI that document processes and procedures attract?

A good measure of this would be customer satisfaction.

Whatever industry the business might be in, there are customers that it intends to serve. Customers bring in the money that the business needs to grow. It is therefore important that they are satisfied every time they walk out of your business.

With the best document template software, customers may not even have to walk into a business. A bank customer, for example, may request a statement from their bank and that will be sent to them within seconds. This is a quick process and it should be error-free.

When a business meets it’s client's needs effectively, the clients are bound to come back and they will recommend the business to their associates.

Automating the process of dealing with documents gives employees more time to focus on improving the service that they provide to a client. The employees are equipped with the tools they need to act both professionally and competently. These are sure ways to attract and retain clients.

Save Money When You Recruit New Staff

With an automated document system, a business will save both time and money during the recruitment process. There are time-consuming processes associated with recruiting staff.

The onboarding process is one of those processes that may take up more time and resources than you may realize. Manual document creation requires more time to imprint an organization’s branding and style on a recruit. There is so much that they need to learn and that will not guarantee that they will not make costly errors even after all the training.

Onboarding recruits at an organization that uses a program like document creation in MS Word may not take more than 30 minutes considering there is a good chance the new staff members are familiar with the Microsoft programs. The manual process may however take an entire day or more.

What is the Cost of Filing Documents?

For any business, keeping records is vital. They will come in when you need to settle your taxes, provide reports to stakeholders, review the performance of the business, and so much more. You, therefore, need to file the documents safely and orderly.

What is the cost of all this though? We have already looked at the minimum cost spent on paper, which would be used. But there are other costs involved in filing documents like files and cabinets and sometimes offsite storage.

If a single cabinet costs $200, you will need to take into consideration how long it will take to fill up, and then you need to buy another one.

Depending on how many documents get filed every day, the minimum cost on a cabinet every year would be $200, but that can be more.

Then, you need to consider the costs of folders and offsite storage. In total, the cost may go upwards of $10,000 a year all this is not a factor if you are using document creation software.

What Costs are Involved in the Best Document Automation Software?

So, manual processes evidently cost a lot more than most businesses realize, but does that mean document creation software is the answer? No doubt it comes at a cost, but the cost is far less than you would spend on the manual process. Let us take a look at what you would have to spend on.

Software Purchase: Generally, you can download document creation software free and you will have a trial period to see if it is what your business needs. However, there is a monthly subscription. The subscription will depend on the number of users. As stated before, $18 may be the average cost on subscription.

Template Design: This is possibly what would take up a bit more money especially if you choose to hire professionals to design the templates. You, however, should realize that it is a one time spend and the ROI is worth it. The cost may vary according to the number of templates you choose to have designed as well as how complex they may be. Email templates would be the cheapest at just over $800. Some organizations manage the cost of template design by using in-house document designers. Another option to minimize the cost is to use already available templates. With document template creation software, you can make use of pre-designed templates that you adjust to suit your need.

Cloud Storage: It is recommended that you depend on cloud storage for all your data. This provides a centralized location to access data but it will also ensure the safety of sensitive data. Cloud storage will eliminate the need for filing cabinets and make accessing documents easier and faster. The cost of this may vary according to the amount of data your business needs to store. For example, a small business can use free storage on Google. However, most businesses that would benefit from document automation will need paid storage which may cost between $100 to $1000 annually. This is less than some businesses spend on paying staff for time wasted filing documents manually.

Training: This is a cost that will also vary according to the software you use as well as the competence of your staff. Some businesses may have staff who already know how to use such software and they can train their colleagues at no extra fee or for a small bonus. It is important though, that staff can use the software before the switch is made because that will determine the benefits the business will see from adopting new technology.

Updates and Security: Some updates may be free as part of the after-sales service provided by the software company. At the same time, you may find it worth exploring other software that may provide better security for your data and that would cost you. Usually, this is a negligible cost that may not be necessary often.

Should Your Business Invest in Document Creation Software?

The figures have spoken up, it is evident that if a business is still doing this manually, it is spending a lot more than it realizes and providing an environment for inefficiency to thrive. If your business is ready to move on to the next level, this is a process that should be at the top of the list to adopt.

Think of this, most people in your organization own smartphones and other mobile devices that can grant them access to online documents. Doesn’t it make sense to equip them with technology that will ensure vital documents are easy to access with the least amount of effort?

Conclusion

Document automation is an investment in your business that comes at a reasonable cost. Most of the money spent is not a recurring expenditure in comparison to what you have to spend to ensure there is paper in your office.

The world has also been forced to make a shift to conduct business with minimal contact and paper documents may soon be a threat to one’s health. Investing in software that helps you go paperless is an investment in the light of the health of your staff and your clients. A dynamic document creation software is just what the world needs now.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Genesis Abel

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Genesis Abel

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