Document Automation - From Manual Work to High-Tech

Charlotte Goetz

Managing documents is increasingly challenging for companies. For this reason, more and more companies are looking for innovative solutions to simplify the handling of the abundance of documents. Document automation is an innovative approach that assists in making document management more efficient. Document automation enables repetitive tasks associated with the

  • Creation,
  • Editing and
  • Management

of documents.

What is Document Automation?

Document Automation Definition

Document automation is, at its core, the use of a special software or platform that creates predefined templates and rules. These templates are applied to a variety of document types, including contracts, reports or invoices. The software extracts relevant data from various sources such as databases, CRM systems, Excel spreadsheets or e-mails and inserts them into the templates. This process takes place either at the push of a button or is oriented to a fixed schedule. The idea behind this is to reduce inconsistencies and reduce the time spent on recurring activities.

Approaches to document automation

There are various approaches to document automation, each with a different focus and tailored to extensive requirements.

Rule-based document automation

In this approach, there are defined rules and conditions according to which automation takes place. These rules include logical decisions and thus control the flow of document creation. Rule-based document automation is well suited for documents with clearly defined structures and data that must meet certain criteria.

Template-based Document Automation

This involves the use of templates created in advance, which serve as the basis for document creation. The automation software inserts the relevant data into corresponding placeholders. This approach is particularly useful for recurring documents such as invoices or quotations, where there are only a few variable elements.

AI-driven Document Automation

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers the possibility to automate documents in an advanced way. AI understands natural language and recognizes patterns as well as relationships it establishes between data. This makes the use of AI ideal for companies with complex document processes that handle unstructured data.

Hybrid Document Automation

Hybrid document automation couples automation methods to leverage the strengths of multiple approaches simultaneously. For example: rules-based and AI-driven elements in the linkage to provide both precise control and flexibility.

Self-learning Document Automation

To learn from previous documents and actions, this approach uses machine learning. Over time, the automation process improves automatically as the software learns from experience and corrections and continuously adapts.

Advantages of Document Automation Approaches - Summary

ApproachAdvantages
Rule-basedPrecise control, suitable for complex processes
Template basedFast conversion, suitable for recurring documents
AI-controlledUnstructured data processing, advanced pattern recognition
HybridCombination of precision and flexibility
Self-learningImproving automation over time

This is why companies benefit from document automation

As document transactions continue to grow, choosing the most viable Document Automation increases efficiency and frees up valuable resources. Compliance helps meet legal and regulatory requirements because the templates used already have the required information and regulations. Document Automation arranges for rapid generation and processing of documents, allowing staff to focus on and prioritize strategic tasks.

The more present a document is, the more meaningful and valuable its automated processing becomes. Skip logic, automated reminders, and pre-filled information enable a smooth flow of information. This optimizes the precision and efficiency of document processing without compromising the security of confidential data. The Digitization of documents and the automation of document workflows reveal potential weaknesses and inefficient areas in the process. In combination with the factors already mentioned, document automation leads to cost savings and increased profitability.

Automatic document digitization vs. manual processing

Using the right platform facilitates both the creation and distribution of digitized documents. Thanks to the digital capture of information in documents, there is no risk of entering illegible or incorrect data. In contrast, manual document creation processes are prone to errors that can cause delays and increase business workloads. Document automation minimizes such shortcomings and notifies employees if required information is missing.

Data storage in Document Automation

In Document Automation, the storage location for automated documents is a key factor in the success of this technology. Regardless of the storage method, data security is paramount. Encryption, access controls and regular backups are essential to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of stored data. Cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Amazon AWS offer a number of conveniences for enterprises in terms of access flexibility, scalability, collaboration and automation capabilities through offered Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The latter create the connection between Document Automation and the cloud storage and generate automated workflows. This makes the time when documents were untraceable on separate drives or in email folders a thing of the past.

Document Automation in Practice - Guide for Companies

  • Choosing the right software

The first step is to select a suitable document automation software or platform based on internal guidelines. The tool should offer all the necessary functions to create templates, integrate data sources and control the automation process. In addition to individual company policies, other important selection factors are ease of use, the ability to integrate with existing systems and the customizability of the templates.

  • Create templates

Once the software is selected, the creation of templates for the documents to be automated takes place. These templates define the layout, the placeholders for variable data and the rules according to which the automation is to run. Existing documents that are imported into the software serve as the basis for this.

  • Integrate data sources

The Document Automation software requires access to the data sources from which the variable information for document creation originates. The software makes it possible to link these data sources and retrieve crucial information.

  • Data mapping and automation settings

This is followed by the data mapping. Here, the placeholders in the templates are mapped to the corresponding data fields from the sources. The company determines whether the automation is to be performed manually or automatically.

  • Automation and personalization

Once the automation starts, the software pulls the required data from the sources and inserts it into the templates on its own. This step designs the fast and accurate creation of the digital documents.

  • Review and adjustment

After automation, the generated documents must be checked for correctness and consistency. If necessary, adjustments must be made to the templates or automation settings. As a result, the achievement of optimal results increases enormously.

  • Implementation

Implementation usually plays out in stages, with smaller document processes being automated first before the technology is deployed on a larger scale.

  • Continuous improvement

Document automation is not a static process. It is worthwhile for the company to continuously monitor the automation process. There is an opportunity to gather feedback and optimize the process to ensure maximum efficiency and quality.

Conclusion - Document Automation

Document Automation allows documents to be created quickly and accurately, replacing tedious manual completion of repetitive documents with template-based systems. For complex documents, companies maintain a high level of control and quality assurance. In summary, document automation is a powerful technology that helps businesses streamline their document processes. It improves efficiency, minimizes errors and saves valuable resources. Due to its versatility, document automation can be successfully implemented in a number of industries.

Intelligent document automation with Konfuzio is especially suited for low-code and pro-code workflows and brings itself as adaptive AI with hybrid Multicloud infrastructure into existing processes. Konfuzio reads and understands what others overlook.

Would you like to receive more information about what you can achieve with AI, automation and digitalization in your company? Then contact us via the Contact form.

About me

More Articles

enaio optimal systems

enaio - A document management system for paperless work

OPTIMAL SYSTEMS GmbH is the manufacturer of enaio and has established itself over the last 30 years in Germany as...

Read article
zero trust cover picture

Zero Trust: redefine network security 

Zero Trust is a model that is seen as a pioneering approach to network security. Unlike...

Read article
Intelligent Process Automation

Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) of business processes

With autonomous systems such as self-driving cars or drones, AI-powered forms of automation are increasingly becoming part of everyday life. From customer service...

Read article
Arrow-up