Business Process Management (BPM) software often provides a very basic level of document automation, which may be sufficient for many types of simple business processes. However, when workflows are required to include the generation of complex documents, specialised document automation software is needed.
Enterprise-grade document automation systems have the necessary capability to automate complex documents and include file and component management systems. Importantly, they also have far greater forms design capability than standard BPM software, due to being able to cope with immensely complex legal documents.
Automating Document Generation Processes
This simple process begins when a user transforms a word processing file into a template. The user then builds business rules into the template, replacing names, dates, numbers, etc. with simple variables. The user can then add computation variables and define conditions under which clauses or other sections of text will be included in a finished document. Having built all the desired business logic into the document itself, the user will then create a custom interview (an interactive, data-gathering form) for the template, utilising all the same components that were built into the template.
This document-first approach ensures that business rules are coded into the text of the document, accounting for all relevant permutations.
For this to work within a document automation system, the business logic built into the document must match what is in the interview. This reflexive approach eliminates the possibility that irrelevant questions might get asked. In other words, variables that are included in blocks of text that won’t be included in a particular iteration of the document don’t need to be asked in the interview.
Powerful document automation software, like HotDocs, will automatically create a reflexive interview for a template. This feature not only saves significant time but ensures a business logic match between the template and the interview. HotDocs interviews allow further customisation, such as question-specific help resources and answer range validation. HotDocs also provides an API for BPM system users that ensure HotDocs forms take on the look and feel of the forms native to that BPM system.
Ultimately, when a business process requires that information be gathered specifically for creating a document or set of documents, it just makes sense to use document automation software as part of a wider business process. You’ll save time and produce a more accurate, more efficient document workflow.