Keep IT Out of Your Documents

Efficient document management has become a hallmark of a well-run enterprise. When businesses create documents meant for external audiences or internal consumption, they must do a good job of communicating and realizing the goals the business means to achieve. Until some time ago, organizations accepted that managing and monitoring this task was the responsibility of the IT department. It’s almost easy to see why. Digital document design requires impressive computer skills, high-level knowledge of the relationship between software and hardware, and deftness with data usage. Creating a document also required familiarity with print description languages, print drivers, and coding. Some companies still hang on to this approach for designing and distributing corporate documents, but IT-centric document management is no longer a business best practice. Most IT departments don’t even want this responsibility, anyway. Even companies with limited resources and smaller staffs can take advantage of advanced document design software. Instead of relying on programming code, organizations can create high-quality, easy to read, clean, and professional documents with an easy-to-use GUI interface.

IT’s Role in Document Management

Like all other corporate functions, the role of the IT department has evolved. IT looks after the company’s technology systems, maintains its digital and technological infrastructure and automation, and makes sure all systems work together seamlessly. Increasingly, they ensure a company’s systems are well protected from security breaches and, of course, they troubleshoot the many issues that come up throughout the day. Though their priorities lie elsewhere, IT still has a role to play in document management. They set up and support the digital systems that serve as the backbone of creating invoices and statements. IT needs to set up the document composition software, integrate it with other systems, and allow access to data sources as needed. But IT lacks all the skills required for effective document design. Details such as sticking to a consistent corporate language, setting up and following style guides in terms of the wireframe and language, choosing effective colors, text, corporate messaging, overall layout, or choosing how to present these elements so a document is clear and engaging should not be their responsibility. IT also can’t be expected to remain current with the marketing and messaging requirements of individual departments.

Document Design

There are two principal functions of document design: arranging and presenting elements so a document is clear, easily understood, and effective; and organizing all data so it’s easily accessible to staffers who create documents, keep artwork up to date, and preserve a history of all relevant communication. Eclipse Software developed the Business Communications Center™ (BCC), part of our flagship product, DocOrigin, to handle these tasks. BCC 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. Whether you’re creating static forms, fillable forms, checks, labels, reports, purchase orders, shipping slips, statements, or other documents, modern document composition software packages are easy to master and come with all the tools necessary to create perfect templates. You will see exactly how the final product will look with PDF and HTML preview windows, and you can output your documents to desktop printers, production printers, or electronic platforms. White space management, a function rarely included in older document composition software, makes it easy for users to define content that will only be displayed in a transactional document if space allows. BCC includes sophisticated white space management logic. Documents include data from a variety of sources. They may feature names and addresses, account balances, transaction details, and so forth. Document composition programs work with business software such as CRM and ERP systems, where such data resides. Products like the Eclipse platform allows business users access to areas of the documents safe for them to modify, while protecting regions where alterations could cause problems. If you have legacy documents, you can reformat them, import the documents into the software, and clean them up for a professional presentation. Customization is available for typeface, size, style, color and other design elements. You can create documents as static versions or variable options for exact targeting of your client base. Tables and other graphical information are also easy to insert. Adaptability and ease of use ensures your organization creates documents in a timely matter with consistent elements and fewer errors. It also saves valuable staff time and preserves a historical record of communications you need to keep. One upon a time… IT expertise was required to perform all these functions, but as corporate roles change and technology puts more power and control in employees’ hands, companies can separate document design from IT with no downside. With modern document composition software, companies can free up IT resources while simultaneously assigning document maintenance responsibility to the user departments.