Document automation software has become indispensable for businesses that want to streamline their document creation, assembly, and management processes. In other words, it’s for those that want to run a more efficient operation. To do that, it’s essential that you have the right document automation features.
With numerous options available, it can be challenging to know what to look for in document automation software to ensure that it addresses your business needs and improves your efficiency. In this article, we’ll explore essential document automation software features and advanced functionalities that document automation software should have and how to evaluate vendor options.
Understanding document automation software
Before diving into what features to look for, you’ll need an understanding of what document automation software is and how it works.
Document automation software is a type of software that helps businesses automate and streamline their document creation, assembly, and management processes. It does this by automating repetitive tasks, such as document formatting, data extraction, data entry, and the activities that happen after a document has been created. With document automation software, businesses can create dynamic templates for frequently used documents, which can save them time and effort in the long run.
Document automation software also integrates with other software to ensure smooth workflows. For example, it can integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software to automatically generate documents based on customer data. This can save you a lot of time and effort, as you no longer have to manually create documents for each customer.
What is the importance of document automation software?
Document automation software has become increasingly important in today’s fast-paced business environment. It helps businesses increase efficiency and productivity by automating repetitive tasks, which frees up employees’ time to focus on more important things. It also reduces errors and inconsistencies throughout the contract management lifecycle which can snowball if they’re not caught early. Together, all of these factors can save businesses time and money in the long run.
Benefits of using document automation software
There are many benefits associated with using document automation software. Some of them are obvious while others are more nuanced and may be related to your specific situation. Below are some of the more common benefits.
- Increased efficiency and productivity: Contract automation software can automate repetitive tasks, which frees up employees’ time to focus on more important activities.
- Reduced errors and inconsistencies: Since you’re automating tasks, there’s little to no room for human error which reduces the prevalence of formatting and data issues. With that being said, if the source data is incorrect, it’ll be repeated within each document that’s created.
- Improved collaboration and sharing capabilities: You’re able to allow people in different teams to easily collaborate on documents. They can edit, make suggestions, and otherwise decide the outcome through changes that can be tracked. This makes it faster to complete important documents.
- Enhanced security and compliance measures: Document automation software provides access controls and audit trails, which can enhance security and compliance measures.
- Cost savings: By automating repetitive tasks, document automation software can save businesses time and money in the long run. These cost savings are direct and indirect. People don’t have to perform certain tasks which saves you money and you also don’t need to allocate physical storage space, buy printing materials, and incur other costs associated with physical document management.
- Improved customer experience: Many document automation solutions integrate with CRM, HIRS tools, and other software solutions to provide a seamless customer experience.
Document automation software features – the essentials
Document automation can make many processes much easier or even completely hands off but only if you take advantage of the right software. Before you can do that, you need to know what to look for and what to avoid. Below are the essential features that document automation software should have.
Template creation and management
One of the most critical features of document automation software is the ability to create customizable dynamic templates for frequently used documents. These templates should be easy to manage, update, and share across teams, ensuring consistency and accuracy across all documents.
You should be able to create templates for a variety of documents, including contracts, proposals, invoices, and more. These templates can be customized with company branding, logos, and other design elements, making them instantly recognizable to clients and stakeholders.
Data extraction/collection and integration
Another essential feature of document automation software is the ability to extract data from multiple sources and integrate it into a document template. This feature saves time and ensures data accuracy, as you, no longer need to manually input data into each document.
Document automation software can extract data from a variety of sources, including CRM systems, spreadsheets, and databases. This data can then be integrated into a document template, creating a customized document that is accurate and up-to-date.
Conversely, it could include data collection tools like intuitive questionnaires. This will allow a third party to supply the necessary data. That information is then used to automate the creation of documents.
Workflow automation and customization
You should be able to automate parts or the entire document workflow based on your current processes. Instead of just the document creation aspect, you can also automate data collection as discussed previously, signing, storage, and many other steps in the process. This reduces the time spent on manual tasks and ensures documents move efficiently through the workflow process.
In the end, you can create automated workflows that automate the document creation and approval process. This means that documents can be automatically generated, reviewed, and approved, saving time and reducing errors.
Collaboration and sharing capabilities
Document automation software should also allow for easy collaboration and sharing of documents across teams and organizations. This feature streamlines communication and ensures all stakeholders have access to the latest document versions.
With document automation software, teams can collaborate on documents through cloud-based systems from any location, making changes and updates as needed. Documents can be shared with external stakeholders, such as clients or vendors, ensuring that everyone has access to the latest version of the document.
Security and compliance measures
Finally, document automation software should have robust security and compliance measures to ensure document privacy, integrity, and accessibility. This feature is especially critical for businesses handling sensitive or confidential information.
These features include but aren’t limited to account permissions, encryption, and access controls to ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive documents. Additionally, the software should comply with industry-specific regulations, such as HIPAA or GDPR, to ensure that documents are handled in accordance with legal requirements.
Overall, document automation software is an essential tool for businesses looking to streamline their document creation and management processes. With features such as customizable templates, data collection and integration, workflow automation, collaboration and sharing capabilities, and robust security measures, document automation software can save businesses time, reduce errors, and improve document accuracy.
Advanced document automation software features to enhance productivity
Beyond essential features, there are advanced functionalities that can further enhance productivity and efficiency when creating and managing documents.
In today’s fast-paced world, time is of the essence, and you need to be as efficient as possible. The following advanced features can help achieve that goal:
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are revolutionizing the way we work. These technologies can help automate document review, speed up document drafting, and identify inconsistencies and errors within a document. This feature ensures document accuracy and reduces manual review time, freeing up time for other important tasks.
DoxFlowy is one of the first document automation solutions to introduce AI document drafting right into your workflow. With just a few keystrokes you can draft content, review, and do various other tasks.
For example, AI and machine learning can be used to analyze data and identify patterns that humans might miss. This can help you make better decisions and improve your bottom line.
Optical character recognition (OCR)
While not technically the field for document automation, it can come in handy if it’s available. OCR allows for the easy scanning and digitizing of physical documents. OCR technology can read text from images, making it possible to extract information from scanned documents, photos, and even screenshots. This makes it easier to integrate data into digital templates for document creation
OCR is especially useful for businesses that deal with a lot of paper documents. By digitizing these documents, they can be easily accessed and searched, saving time and increasing efficiency.
Electronic signature integration
Integration with electronic signature software allows for secure and efficient signing of documents. This eliminates the need for manual signatures and reduces review time. Electronic signatures are legally binding and can be used in place of handwritten signatures in many situations.
DoxFlowy has built-in electronic signature software so you won’t have to integrate with a third-party tool to make it work. Simply set it up while creating your dynamic template and it’ll automatically be sent to the recipient for signing while executing the workflow.
Version control and document history
The ability to track document versions and access document history is a critical feature when collaborating on documents across teams and organizations. Version control ensures everyone has access to the latest document versions, and document history provides a paper trail of document changes and edits.
Version control is especially useful when multiple people are working on a document. It ensures that everyone is working on the same version, reducing the risk of errors and misunderstandings. Document history provides a record of who made changes to a document thereby making it easy to track changes and ensure accountability.
Overall, these advanced features can help businesses save time, increase efficiency, and improve document accuracy. By leveraging the latest technologies, businesses can stay ahead of the competition and achieve their goals more quickly and easily.
Evaluating document automation software vendors
When evaluating document automation software vendors, several factors should be considered to ensure the software meets business requirements and budget:
Vendor reputation and customer support
Research vendor reputation, customer reviews, and check for customer support availability to ensure support is there when needed. Generally speaking, there should be multiple forms of customer support such as live chat, email, and a knowledgebase.
Pricing and scalability
Cost and scalability should be considered, as you require software that meets your budget and can grow with their needs. The price that works for you will vary but you should be prepared to pay anywhere from a hundred dollars a month to thousands of dollars a month depending on your needs.
Integration with existing software and systems
The software should integrate easily with your existing software and systems across a few important categories. Your document management and storage tool, your CRM, and even your HRIS systems. Of course, the breadth of the integrations will be dependent on what you’re trying to accomplish.
Document automation software is an essential tool for businesses looking to streamline document creation and management processes, increase efficiency, and reduce errors. Essential features include template creation and management, data extraction and integration, workflow automation and customization, collaboration and sharing capabilities, and security and compliance measures.
Just because a tool has all the features you need, doesn’t mean it’ll be ideal for you. You also need to look at the user interface, pricing, and the support options available. If all of those check out then it could be a long-term fruitful relationship.
Take a look at DoxFlowy, it has all the major document automation features plus it runs on a powerful AI engine. It can save countless hours in all aspects of your document workflows.