BY LESLIE CONDUITT
Senior Document Designer
In the past, a company’s forms department was primarily made up of graphic designers who were experts in layout, CAD tools and process management. They worked with other departments such as business analysts and the legal department to define the content of the form; and with programmers to design forms around the output generated by their ERP systems. In today’s world, marketing wants to control everything that the customer sees. With customer communication solutions, marketing departments are taking advantage of every customer touchpoint. Documents are an excellent place to provide relevant communications and to up-sell and cross-sell to the clients you already have.
As technology has advanced in document input and output, the forms department has shifted toward a more technical skill set, placing an even heavier burden on the IT team; now they are not only responsible for defining form data and content, but also for design and layout, legal clauses, terms and conditions, and a variety of company logos and location information for the parent company and its subsidiaries. These burdens can be minimized with document solutions and customer communication solutions that work with virtually all business software.
Bring Improvements to the Surface
So, how can IT teams keep up with all of these demands? Start by thinking outside the surface of your page. One way to do that is an innovative software solution called DocOrigin from Eclipse. DocOrigin was developed by industry experts that understand forms development from every aspect – including the critical importance of throughput, reliability, infrastructure, document object control, and simplifying content management. This is why companies like AT&T, GE Healthcare, PPG, McKesson, and Tyler Technologies replaced aging legacy document and forms software with DocOrigin. Transactional documents, no matter how they are delivered, electronic or paper, are still the primary method of communications with customers, partners and employees. Why not use them to improve communication and increase profits?
DocOrigin provides tools for pulling external information, ads and messaging into the form template and allows the appropriate department to maintain its content. IT personnel define where the content appears in a document, but pulls it from an external source. Rich Text files can be maintained for everything from a marketing tag line in the footer of an invoice to full page ‘Terms and Conditions’ statements that appear on a separate page at the end of the document. In addition, a properties file can be created to pull information by using a combination of fields.
This is the key to Integration Without Modification™. “IWM” gives companies the ability to change document presentation without changing business applications, eliminating change orders in your core business software.
DocOrigin Hits a Home Run
One good example is the experience of a national sports equipment company that has stores across the United States. Outlets operate under the parent company name as well as other subsidiaries and acquisitions. The Company runs a seasonal promotion for equipment commonly sold within each region. In addition, the legal ‘Terms and Conditions’ change based on the state. Using a traditional form design method of creating a form with a combination of each aspect could result in more than 100 form templates. Using the dynamic presentation features of DocOrigin may reduce that number to a single template. So the scope and effort of all tasks are much easier to implement and manage.
In this case, the ‘Terms and Conditions’ page, maintained by the legal department, is pulled in from an external RTF file that keys on the field for the state of purchase. This eliminates the need for 50 template versions of the T&Cs.
Now, the marketing team is free to create ads that can be triggered by any combination of data in the current document in real time, generating the ads or messages without programming or scripting. The purchase date, region and items sold can be used to up-sell other products and services. Lastly, the templates properties file pulls the regional company’s logo, address, website and other information automatically based on the location of the sale.
All of these customer communication features eliminate hard-coded form templates and give non-technical departments such as marketing, human resources, legal, and product management the ability to use existing transactional documents as powerful communications and sales tools. The result is that only one form template needs to be maintained, yet the marketing and legal department can change the content at any time without any impact on the IT department. As the data changes, the content is automatically updated. Revision controls can be put in place to regenerate or archive the document of record.
Successful migration into the future of document generation lies in the ability to leverage the data generated by older legacy systems, as well as modern enterprise and customer management systems, and other line‐of‐business applications, to create and generate high-value, next-generation enterprise documents, forms, checks, and labels. DocOrigin is the perfect tool for organizations looking to the future of document and forms generation. You can find out more by visiting EclipseCorp.US.