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3 Differences of Document Management & Generation

Our sales team at Nintex often fields the question: “Do you provide document management services?”

The answer is no. Instead, Nintex Drawloop® Document Generation and works with traditional document management services to redefine and expand on the term.

Document generation and document management are not competitive, but rather complimentary, products. With document generation, you can create and deliver a richly formatted document to a document management platform for storage and/or routing.

But how exactly does document generation differ from document management? It boils down to three main differences.

1.  Document Generation is Automated and Data-Driven

With document generation, data drives your documents.

The data from Salesforce, Apex, an internal database or external data source populates the documents you need with important information. With a customer invoice, for example, that information would likely include company name, address, previous amount paid and current amount due.

If the information isn’t accurate in the data source, it won’t be accurate in the final document. As a result, one of the big benefits of document generation is increased data accuracy and compliance. Employees entering information into Salesforce, Apex or another data source double-check that the data is correct, knowing that all public-facing documents will be based on it.

In contrast, document management is control-driven. One example of a document management tool is Salesforce CRM Content, which lets you organize, share, search, and manage content within your organization.

But with so many eyes on the document, how do you manage and ensure version and security control? Document management can help answer this question.

With document management, you also can go back to older versions of a document and see changes made to documents over time. These documents may be either templates or the documents you create via document generation. When someone copies and pastes into their templates, they might mistakenly believe what they’re doing is document generation but that’s a manual task, not an automated process. 

2.  Document Generation is Process-Based

With document generation, your company defines an automated process. With a click of a button or programmatically, this workflow merges custom data and document templates into a complete document package.

Document management, however, is storage location-based.

Document management systems are designated locations where your users can store, access and download documents. In fact, Nintex partners with document management companies like Box and Dropbox, which offer document management services that complement our document generation.

3.  With Document Generation, Your End-Users Never Touch the Original Template Documents

Because document generation is an automated process, an end user simply selects the desired document package from a drop-down menu. Nintex Drawloop® Document Generation creates the document package with all of the required merge data, often combining it into a single PDF for delivery.

This means documents no longer sit on a user’s desktop, where that user can manually edit or “customize” the original documents, possibly making errors or changing brand templates in the process. This also creates an environment that helps ensure accurate data and 100% user adoption for your Salesforce deployment.

With document management, users at any time can download a document, modify and edit it. Yes, there are user controls and access rules that you can create, but at the end of the day, any user can download a document and modify it to their specifications.


While document generation and document management each have their own strengths. Together, they work to create a streamlined, secure process by which users can easily collaborate and produce a finalized document package.

Document generation doesn’t replace a document management solution. Instead, our customers revolutionize their approach to document creation by deploying a service to automate all document creation. This provides a solution for enterprise organizations to leverage document management while introducing document generation as a service to all of its enterprise users.


Are you a Salesforce user? Curious to try document generation for yourself? Try Nintex Drawloop® free for 30 days!


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