Wondering if you should build a document generation software from scratch for your business or use a paid API?
Read on for an overview of the process as well as potential problems you might encounter…
Document generation is the practice of automatically generating business documents like contracts, sales proposals, work orders, and invoices.
You might need a document generation solution IF:
- You work in a position where you prepare a lot of quotes or proposals for clients manually.
- You have a job that requires you to prepare non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or employment contracts for each new project.
- You're tired of writing the same paperwork over and over again, and you'd like to make it simple for others to fill out administrative forms.
In every business, no matter how large or small, a document management system is used to track and archive the countless papers created daily.
A brand new document creation system might seem like a good idea on paper.
After all, you can modify, adjust, and edit your software based on your unique needs and requirements.
But, at the same time, this process can be time-consuming and costly.
Below, we’ll cover some of the problems that come with building document generation software from scratch, as well as how to overcome them.
Here's what we'll cover:
- How Does Document Generation Software Work? Overview & Benefits
- Document Generation: Build From Scratch Or Buy?
- 3 Biggest Obstacles When Building a Document Management Generation Solution From Scratch
How Does Document Generation Software Work? Overview & Benefits
Document generation software has a long list of advantages.
Let’s first take a look at the top seven benefits first before discussing building one from scratch.
1. Significantly reduced time
According to ReferralMd, a typical office worker makes around 61 trips to the fax machine, printer, and copier.
Additionally, an average of 4 weeks is lost in businesses on misfiled, mislabeled, or untracked documents.
You can significantly reduce time spent on document management as well as generation, with the right software.
You can also quickly write a single contract or mass-produce updated policy documents in less time.
Or, you can save time by automating review and approval with your document generation software.
With less time spent on document generation, you'll have more time to focus on tasks that will help your company expand.
2. Fewer mistakes
Accuracy is crucial. Small mistakes, like typos or omitted legal declarations, might lead to major issues.
Cutting, pasting, manual formatting, and recalling what should be included in each form of communication are all eliminated when standard templates and automatic document production are used.
As a result, you'll make fewer mistakes and have better consistency.
Is document automation right for you?
See our guide on what makes document automation possible for more info on this.
3. Integration is simple
Document generation software is advisable as it easily integrates with your existing tools.
They integrate with Powerpoint, Excel, Microsoft Word, and other popular office apps.
Data sources also help with the design components, formatting, and text you need to create bespoke templates and high-quality documents.
4. Improved branding
Document creation software makes it simple to add uniform branding components to all of your documents.
You and your staff can easily produce professional-looking papers that reflect your own identity.
5. Effortless compliance
Forgetting to provide or update information essential for legal compliance might get you in a lot of trouble.
Compliance controls are included in most document-generating solutions.
They assist you to avoid compliance concerns by guaranteeing that legal disclosures and other critical information are instantly included when needed.
6. Increased client satisfaction
Your ability to quickly develop and deliver authentic documents with uniform format and branding will satisfy your customers.
To sum up this section, some of the most common document templates you can automatically generate include:
- Invoices and bills.
- Cash receipts.
- Financial statements.
- Medical tests and reports.
- Patient information records.
- Confirmation letters.
- And more.
Document Generation: Build From Scratch Or Buy?
Organizations that need automated document and record management in their portals can develop functionality from scratch or use a paid (or free) PDF generation API.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the build vs buy framework.
Whatever option you choose, it must bring real business value.
Typically, this falls into the categories of:
- Differentiation - You're looking for custom or unique features that are not found in other software or market.
- Market maturity - Competitors are investing in new features and thus, they've become table stakes. You need to build or buy these features to keep up.
- Market share - You may already be a category leader and growth requires you to expand into new verticals.
However, building or buying document generation software that doesn't align with your business goals or meaningfully helps you stand out can be wasteful.
With that, you should also be looking at:
- The problems your new software or tech will solve. If you’re considering building document generation software from scratch, chances are, you have unique needs that current software doesn’t solve.
- The scope of the project - costs, resources, budget, development cycle, and so on.
- Integrations - Whether or not your new product will integrate into your existing product.
- When you can expect to see ROI - time-to-value has a direct impact on ROI. The faster you can deliver a product and drive value, the stronger your upper hand in building the software will be.
- Other associated risks - Security risks, who will be responsible for issues or bugs, and so on.
Of course, this is very contextual and takes a longer time to fully decide.
Our short answer is that buying an API is more convenient and resourceful in most cases. Especially if you’re running a big business working with repetitive documents that can be automated.
Take a look at our guide on document generation in healthcare: build or buy for a detailed breakdown of this.
Now, let’s take a look at some problems and obstacles you’ll come across if you decide to build from scratch as well as other points you should consider.
Below, we’ll also cover some specific cases of when you SHOULD consider building a document generation solution for your company.