Key Differences Between Digital Forms, Document Generation and Content Automation

No company today exists as one piece. A company of any size works by combining smaller pieces, tasks or processes to achieve a common goal.

In most cases, employees of larger companies don’t understand what every piece does or how smaller pieces fit together to create a cohesive solution. Digital forms, document generation and content automation are some of these pieces that look similar on the surface, but in reality serve a distinct purpose.

Digital Forms

Digital forms allow people to digitally record physical information.

Let’s take a site safety manager, for example.

The site manager moves around his site and performs a routine equipment report using a Nintex form on a tablet. He enters the condition of the machinery, when it was last checked, and if it needs to be replaced soon. Once complete, the form is submitted and sent to the office.

In some cases, physical data might not need human interaction to add it to a digital form. For example, a smart thermostat is already connected online, and its data can be updated constantly to a digital record.

Many companies also use scanning equipment to convert paper forms into digital copies. This is becoming less common as companies transition entirely to digital files with software like SharePoint or Dropbox.

Once the information is saved digitally, it can then be used in other documents.

Document Generation

Document generation is the next step in the content automation process.

Once physical information is recorded on a digital form, it can be accessed from other programs to build a new document.

Using our earlier example, the safety manager’s equipment report is saved at the office. Later on, the CEO needs a summary of every equipment report in the company. A document generation program builds the summary by pulling data off the safety manager’s equipment check, as well as equipment checks from other sites.

With Nintex Document Generation, you only need to build the document template once. When the program knows how you want the document displayed, it pulls information from databases like Salesforce, Office 365 or SharePoint and creates the document for you.

This can save a huge amount of repetitive work. Instead of having to manually pull data from every site report to build each summary, the CEO can reuse the template once it’s built and the document will automatically populate with the necessary data.

Content Automation

Next, content automation adds the generated documents into other automatic processes.

In our example, the digital form has already been entered once. It can now be used in other digital forms or documents. The summary our CEO needed can be reused in future content or automated processes.

Content automation plays a key role in determining how to use generated documents in automated workflows. It takes previously created information and adds it to automated tasks, like sending notifications when a task is complete or contacting someone to approve a sales form.

How They Fit Together

These three processes work together to streamline business practices.

Digital forms focus on entering information into forms on your desktop, mobile device, or tablet. These forms can be filled out anywhere and be received instantly for the next step.

Document generation focuses on putting information from digital forms into documents. It uses prebuilt templates to understand where information goes in documents. After that, the document can be generated with the most up to date information and added to the final step.

Content automation focuses on integrating those documents with other programs to automate as many processes as possible. Different applications pull generated documents to create new content more quickly.

Pieces in the Puzzle

Using digital forms, document generation and content automation, a company can stay connected, updated and efficient. In addition, using these processes can reduce errors and keep highly-skilled people where they are needed most.

Every company is made of smaller pieces that work together for a common goal, and digital forms, document generation and content automation are pieces that help your organization to solve the puzzle.

 

Get started with Nintex today to get a free trial and see these processes in action!

Ryan O'Leary

Ryan is a Technical Evangelist at Nintex, enabling partners to optimize and enhance the Salesforce customers’ experience. Previously, he worked for six years driving customer success at Drawloop. Ryan is a Certified Salesforce Admin and Developer and is passionate about blazing new trails on Salesforce Trailhead.