Decades before Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were automating their businesses, Ron Popeil was discovering ways to make life easier. He did this in the same way today’s engineers do it. He figured out ways to simplify otherwise complicated tasks. He took something a regular Joe or Jane might find inaccessible, and he made it doable with a low-cost gadget.
Although the technology was less sophisticated, Popeil managed to leverage it to create products like the Bedazzler, Mr. Microphone and hair-in-a-can spray that took the TV infomercial world by storm. He is perhaps best known for the phrase — popularized by his Showtime Rotisserie — “set it and forget it.”
With document automation, you too can set it and forget it. Here’s how.
Creating needed documents for a business is a time suck, especially for longer documents like loan applications. Entering data manually, line-by-line copying and pasting values, can leave employees devoting large swaths of their work week to simply creating something they need to do their job when their time would be better spent.
Automating document creation has two main benefits. The first is the same benefit that all automation achieves, and it is fairly obvious. You guessed it: it saves time. And while this might not seem like a huge boon if a business needs to create a document every now and again, if an industry is predicated on it, that time can add up to lots of money left on the table.
The second benefit is less obvious. Document automation also improves data quality. By tapping Salesforce, which is essentially a repository of data, businesses are able to ensure consistency across the information that populates documents, so, for instance, someone’s name is spelled consistently.
In addition to alleviating the need to train employees, document automation can be designed to use Salesforce information like location to generate area-specific fields. For instance, maybe state regulations require specifics for people living in, say, California. In this case, document automation would know a customer’s state of residence and provide them the clauses the law requires.
Businesses that create numerous documents benefit the most from document generation. The two heavy hitters in this category are insurance and real estate. Once a quote is purchased, insurance companies need to generate a declaration page, endorsement pages, and, as already mentioned, any relevant documents based on the customer’s state. Real estate would need a purchase contract and any amendments to it, while a mortgage would necessitate generating any documents that need digital signatures.
While these industries benefit most, any business that is creating documents can benefit from document generation, especially if the forms they are creating are the same for all clients. If they differ, an experienced partner can help create templates for various uses. Further, just as with Popeil’s as-seen-on-TV widgets, employees do not need any training to learn the style, format or process for creating documents.
Once a company’s documents are automated, they typically share them with customers. This step may require some confirmation on the customer’s end such as an e-signature. Having the process of generation streamlined allows employees to rest assured there is uniformity throughout the process.
Document automation benefits employees across various departments. Because of the time-saving element, operations stands to benefit most. Because of the data quality component, the compliance and legal departments also stand to gain. With document automation, entering $1 million instead of $100,000 on a contract would be impossible. The ease of use of the tools could also benefit the IT department, alleviating the need to tinker with code.
Most companies have their data within Salesforce, which means generating documents in Salesforce using that information makes the most sense. Once a business decides to pull the trigger on automating its document generation, most likely within Salesforce, it has two options as to how to go about it: a custom app or a ready-made app available on the AppExchange. There are pros and cons to each selection.
A lion’s share of businesses will be able to use a ready-made app available on the AppExchange. The biggest gain here is that acquiring an app on the AppExchange requires no custom development. It is available almost immediately and gives users high flexibility. It is easy to set up and alter templates.
However, a small percent of users will require a developer. This will cost more, but has the benefit of being tailored to special uses not covered by AppExchange apps. For instance, if a business integrates lots of outside data, frequently changes its documents’ fields or needs complex calculations not available in Salesforce, a custom app might be appropriate.
While niche functions like integrating lots of outside data would likely be able to be built-out with Salesforce by an experienced partner, they will require more attention. A notable benefit of a custom build is that once it’s complete, the business owns it. There is no need to pay yearly for use of an AppExchange app.
An experienced partner can set up your document automation in the fraction of the time it takes to do it yourself and ensure you aren’t leaving any function on the table. Accelerize 360 has relationships with big name apps like Conga and Nintex, so we are able to troubleshoot any problems that may arise during setup.
Regardless of whether a business goes with an AppExchange app or a custom build, bringing automated document generation into the fold will allow the business to set it and forget it.