Understanding the Value Proposition of Document Assembly
Although many organizations have transitioned away from using paper to deploying more digital solutions, they still rely upon documents to conduct business. In many cases, they need to replicate variations of the same document multiple times, such as contracts, invoices, or insurance claims. Traditionally, these documents have been created manually in a word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs and shared with customers and colleagues as email attachments. Thanks to document assembly and editing integration, however, developers can build applications that automate the creation process and streamline editing workflows.
Manual Document Assembly Challenges
While manual processes have the benefit of being a familiar one, they also perpetuate inefficiencies, increases the likelihood of errors, and exposes all parties to substantial security risks. Here’s a quick look at the problems with manual document processes.
Problem #1: Inefficiency
Creating a document from scratch takes time. Someone must manually gather the necessary assets and painstakingly draft the document by either rewriting it or performing multiple “copy/paste” actions. New information unique to the document must be added, and extensive manual review is needed throughout the process to ensure that no unique information from another document is left in the new version. That’s why research firm Forrester found that businesses spend an average of 2.6 days drafting and executing a contract, with one in five companies taking five or more days. Considering that the average customer expects the process to take 1.2 days, this gap can put an organization at a competitive disadvantage.
Problem #2: Human Error
Unfortunately, relying so heavily on a manual process for document creation is bound to fall victim to human error. Extensive research over several decades has found that, regardless of the task they’re performing, human beings make an average of 3-6 errors per hour. In some cases, an error is as simple as a missing letter or punctuation mark. But in a protracted document creation process, the likelihood of a more serious mistake (such as cutting and pasting the wrong section into a document, adding the incorrect data into a field, or simply overlooking vital information) greatly increases. When it comes to legal documents like contracts, service agreements, and invoices, even a small mistake can create significant problems and cost a lot of money to resolve if they’re not caught early.
Problem #3: Security
Most organizations already have some form of third party word processing solution in place, such as Microsoft Office or Google Docs, so it makes sense that they would turn to these programs for their document creation needs. Unfortunately, doing so exposes them to substantial security and version control risks. Creating and sharing documents entirely within third-party environments (such as drafting a contract in Microsoft Word and then emailing it via Gmail) means that organizations will not be able to fully control who has access to those documents and who can make changes to them.
For many industries, it could represent a breach of compliance requirements because the third party software would have some level of access to the data. Furthermore, if multiple people are sharing, downloading, and editing the document, it becomes incredibly difficult to determine which version is the most up to date. Edits made in one document may not be reflected in another, and there’s always the question of who has access to those various versions once they leave the secure confines of the organization’s environment.
Programmatic Document Assembly
Document automation tools allow software developers to provide powerful document assembly features that streamline the drafting and creation process. Rather than painstakingly drafting a document by hand, templates with customizable, form-fillable sections can be uploaded and then assembled programmatically as needed. Creating a new contract, for instance, could be as simple as uploading searchable data and then telling the software to plug the contract’s essential information into the relevant fields. Applications can also use powerful AI sifters to determine what content needs to be included in a given document type.
By automating the document assembly process, organizations can easily handle higher workflow volumes, making it possible for them to scale more effectively. Since all creation is being handled programmatically at the code level, the risk of human error is greatly reduced. Only after the document is assembled will it go to someone for manual review and editing.
Exerting Secure Editorial Control
Rather than relying on third-party programs to draft and share a document, developers can integrate functionality that allows users to assemble and edit documents entirely within their web-based application. This completely eliminates the need for third-party dependencies. When someone opens a document within the application, they can make edits, annotations, and redactions without having to export it to another program. Not only does this greatly streamline workflows, but it also allows organizations to manage access and keep documents safely within their secure applications.
In addition to controlling who has access and the ability to make changes to a document, companies can also easily determine which version is the most up-to-date. Rather than a situation in which multiple people have downloaded and edited a document, everyone works from the same version and can suggest changes while preserving the integrity of the original file. When the editing process is completed, the project owner can determine which changes to make permanent as they export a finalized document.
Throughout the editing process, the document remains within a secure application environment. Since it can be viewed and edited within the application, organizations don’t have to worry about sending the document to an external platform over vulnerable channels like email. This is incredibly valuable for companies operating in industries with strict data compliance requirements because it keeps potentially sensitive data safely behind their firewalls and limits exposure to potentially compromised systems.
Implementing a Document Assembly Solution with PrizmDoc Editor
For many software developers, document editing represents a significant gap in functionality and security. They often turn to third-party solutions and external workarounds because they don’t have the time or expertise to build editing and assembly functionality directly into their applications. Unfortunately, this approach undermines the value proposition of their solution because it forces their customers to continue relying upon the very third-party tools that aren’t currently meeting their business needs.
With PrizmDoc Editor, developers can integrate ready-made document assembly and editing features directly into their applications to deliver secure automation and collaboration. Easily incorporated into cloud-based or on-premise solutions, PrizmDoc Editor uses powerful REST APIs and can be embedded into multiple programming languages (including Node, Java, .NET, PHP, Python, and Ruby). See for yourself how quickly and easily you can expand your application’s document functionality with a free trial of PrizmDoc Editor. Just download our ready-to-run Docker image to get started right away!