Electronic document composition and publishing to improve your customer relations

Document creation, for both external use and within a company, is a complex and time-consuming operation. This makes it essential to use high-performance technological solutions such as the dynamic, interactive composition of documents, individually or in batches.

Mass document composition

Companies produce huge quantities of documents every day – invoices, payslips, purchase orders, labels… Most of these documents can be produced automatically and customized based on their recipients. Document composition responds to this need with a production chain involving:

Document design, enabling users to define the format and layout of the document (zones, page background etc.).

Integrating flows of data from your business applications.

Mass document composition.

Document distribution through multiple channels
(printing, email, …).

The benefits of a document composition solution:

Increased productivity thanks to the automated production of large volumes of personalized documents.

Secure processing thanks to the automatic import of data flows.

The choice of the distribution channel: paper, email, file transfer, publication on a portal or archiving in an electronic safe.

A document composition solution adds quality to the composition of the document by incorporating a dynamic element.

The function of composition software is to transform a flow of data into one or more documents. The dynamic aspect comes from the fact that the data can influence not only the content of the document, but also its presentation. Let’s illustrate this with a concrete example based on a document everyone knows: the invoice.

With no dynamic processing, the invoice would have a monolithic presentation consisting simply of a header, a body and a footer. This is an acceptable system if all invoices fit on one page, but it becomes very limited if the number of pages in an invoice varies. In a ten-page invoice, the header would be repeated on every page, as would the space reserved for the footer. To make things worse, the business software producing the data has to calculate and plan the pagination based on the number of detail lines in the invoice.

Incorporating a dynamic aspect into composition
enables the following operations:

  • The number of pages in the invoice will depend on the data, but also on the presentation choices made. Differentiating the pages being produced, including presenting the first page, the intermediate pages and the last page differently, becomes the rule. The header, with its address block, will only appear on the first page. The footer, containing the amount to be paid and the bank details, will only appear on the last. The intermediate pages can thus contain more information, which will often significantly reduce the number of pages in a complex invoice.
  • As the business application no longer needs to manage the final pagination, it may be useful to recalculate intermediate totals and add them to the detail pages.
  • If one of the data fields indicates the country code, the invoice can be switched automatically to the language of the recipient’s country..
  • Certain details, such as negative amounts, can be presented differently, improving the document’s legibility.
  • The use of free space makes it possible to insert, or not to insert, promotional information into the document. The operator can thus take advantage of the invoice being sent to use the document as marketing material..

From a more general viewpoint, all the information contained in the data can be exploited to influence the presentation. Content and form are separated, and can be handled by different teams. All complex documents need this dynamic treatment: dispatch notes, bank statements, contracts, payslips, welfare statements… In short, this dynamism adds flexibility, clarity and legibility to documents, with no input from the business application producing the data.

Interactive composition of individual documents

Certain documents are produced individually when communicating with a customer, partner or colleague.

It is useful for users to have a simple way of drawing on a library of templates and clauses in order to generate the final document automatically via a multiple-choice form.

The typical example is a sales proposal, which can be composed automatically based on information entered by the sales representative, images from a photo library and terms and conditions of sale.

Another example is an employment contract, which is composed using fixed clauses chosen depending on the contract type and the position.

All these individually-produced documents can stay within the electronic realm, passing through a validation workflow, an electronic signature system and then being archived in an enterprise content management system or digital safe.

Manage your processes
and documents naturally