Get Your IT Department Out of the Forms Development Business

In most organizations, the forms upon which their businesses rely were built and continue to be maintained by in-house technical resources. IT handles printed or electronic business forms because the original tools and methods for creating these items required precise manipulation of complicated software. It took detail-oriented and focused people to design and construct the documents-the perfect definition of a computer programmer. In some organizations, forms design groups handle some of this work.

Unfortunately, programmers and forms designers aren’t as knowledgeable about form requirements as the employees in Marketing, Legal, Compliance, or other user departments within the organization. The technical professionals can follow specific instructions, but they lack the overall business perspective necessary to make all the document design decisions. When business conditions call for forms changes, the people most qualified to make them find themselves in the role of order-placers rather than implementers.

Another factor responsible for placing forms maintenance responsibility in the hands of technical professionals is the need to integrate data from a variety of sources. Forms include names and addresses, part numbers, policy descriptions, transaction details, and more. Some data must be formatted and placed on the forms in a specific manner. Giving business users, unfamiliar with complicated document composition software, the ability to modify variable data forms can make them unstable or even unusable. Changing the location of an address block, for instance, or adding information near the mailing address, could make the forms un-mailable when inserted into window envelopes.

IT Reliance = Delays
Adding to the frustration of business units, IT departments are frequently overburdened with work. Document change requests often fall to the bottom of the priority list. Businesses can wait months until IT has the time and resources available to make forms changes. Rapid response to changing business conditions is nearly impossible.

Wouldn’t it be better if the individuals most knowledgeable about the use and purpose of their forms could update and test them on their own? That’s exactly the reason Eclipse Software developed the Business Communications CenterTM (BCC). The BCC customer management software solution provides users with an intuitive interface that allows departments like Marketing, HR, and Legal to create campaigns, control messaging, and manage legal terms and conditions without relying on IT or the forms department.

Data-Driven Documents
BCC works with any business software such as CRM and ERP systems. It allows controlled access to areas of the documents safe for user departments to modify. Departments can develop triggered and segmented marketing or informational messages, upsell promotions, region-dependent language selections, and more-all based on business rules they define. Furthermore, Eclipse’s BCC lets users test all variations by manually changing data variables-no more waiting for IT to create test data that covers every data combination! Users can add content blocks or rules and immediately see their effect by previewing the documents. This feature alone can trim weeks from a typical document enhancement project.

BCC can even handle the complex task of managing unused white space-something that normally requires advanced programming skills to accomplish. Built-in logic makes it easy to define which content will be displayed based on the available space remaining on each variable or transactional document. Mandatory items like regulated content will always be included, but optional content such as marketing messages will only be added to documents when space allows. When a defined content block won’t fit in the remaining space at the end of a document, BCC will search for a smaller item to include, depending on the rules.

A demonstration video, details about the Business Communications Center, and samples from many industries are available on the BCC information page at

IT and forms development backlogs keep organizations from implementing improvements to their forms and documents that drive revenue, encourage customer loyalty, and boost the customer experience. With modern tools like BCC from Eclipse Software, companies can safely allow user departments to control the way their internal and external documents look and function, without taking valuable technical resources away from high-priority enterprise projects.