Document automation or document assembly? The terms are interchangeable, right? Most people believe that, yes, the two mean the same thing. However, one cannot be substituted for the other. In fact, they mean two completely different things. In this article, we explore the two concepts to find out the key differences between document automation and document assembly, but also to highlight the connection between them.
What Is Document Automation?
Document automation is the complex process of producing high-volume of customer communications (bills, invoices, statements, letters, contracts, and other documents) through the use of a software. It encompasses four major steps: template creation, rendering, assembly, and distribution. It also creates a centralized development path for all the documents, which ensures the consistent application of brand guidelines as well as regulation compliance.
What Is Document Assembly?
Document assembly is the process of putting together into one single complex package all the documents needed to complete a full automation cycle, from company to customers. Large amounts of required communications are gathered together and assembled into a unified batch that can be scaled and adapted to fit anything from a single-page to thousand-page requests.
How Are Automation and Assembly Different?
To put it simply, document assembly is one of several steps that make up document automation. This is the central difference between the two terms. This applies to both on-premises automated document assembly and online document assembly.
How Are Automation and Assembly Connected?
While document automation and document assembly may be different, there is a connection between the two, assembly being an essential part in the whole automation process. To understand where assembly fits in, you need to know more about the process.
Automating Document Production
The first step in document automation is creating a template. The template acts as the starting point for document generation, as it provides the necessary instructions for automation. Users design the documents they need, which is important when it comes to creating easy-to-read, engaging templates.
Your customers’ information is retrieved based on the criteria you create for each template. Document template management enables you to create rules to define which template(s) are used in specific scenarios, and then apply transactional data to those templates to render individual communications.
For example, if you needed to pull a customer’s information to send out an email, but you also wanted to attach a statement to that email, you would need two different templates. One of the benefits of having templates is you can set it and forget it. Once they’re created, document automation takes care of retrieving all the data and generating the required documents, freeing up your employees to work on other things.
Bringing it Together with Document Assembly
Once the templates pull customer data and generate the required documents, document assembly takes over. It takes all of the documents associated with a request and puts them together. Chances are, you’re not going to send out a one-page document to your customer, so this is an important step.
Whether it’s creating multiple statements from multiple months if a customer wants a yearly summary, or simply adding disclaimers or cover pages, automated document assembly brings everything together.
Thanks to this, document automation not only helps your company’s bottom line, but gives your customers what they want, when and how they want it. Creating a great customer experience is paramount to the success of your company.
Keeping Your Customers Happy
Online document assembly allows your company to develop on your customers’ expectations and provide the information they need in a seamless package. Built-in multichannel or omnichannel features mean that your customers can receive documents in the mail, their email, as a text message, or in some cases through social media.
It also keeps your IT department happy. By using this functionality, you can reduce costs and get up to speed much faster than using an on-premise solution. IT can also control data quality and cleanliness by setting up a ‘review and approve’ process based upon role. While the business department takes control of the content and layout, the IT department can focus on data integrity and control.
Lastly, having document assembly, your company can run high-volume batch jobs, such as monthly statements, invoices, annual reports and more. It becomes easy to accelerate the creation of one or more documents on-demand, such as individual statements, quotes, or certificates as a customer requests them.
To sum up, the major difference between the two terms is that document assembly is a crucial part of the complex document automation process. By using the document templates and the rendering paths created via automation software, the assembly step brings together high volumes of different documents to create complete packages that meet client and industry-specific requirements.
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