Workflows for Auto-Generating Documents

August 5, 2016

A fun use case that has been coming up more regularly lately is the idea of Decisions monitoring some database, file storage, or other application for a change or trigger that would automatically generate a document and then post it to a certain location or email it to a few parties. 

What a great use case!!

A few foundational points to start with, first is how a workflow can start. 

How to “Kick-off” a Workflow? 

  1. End user submits a form
  2. Scheduled Job
  3. API Call

Next we’d want to consider how we could use rules to monitor the change. 

Using Rules to “Listen”

A common pattern here is to set up a scheduled job that kicks off a workflow that checks the system in question and pushes data through an action rule that would evaluate and subsequently kick off the document generation workflow. 

Flow Steps for Document Generation and Management 

Decisions has out of the box flow steps you can use to manipulate Word, Excel, and PDF documents. Many of our customers use templates and Decisions Forms to collect the information from an end user that would either be directly merged into the document – or to collect information that would trigger business rules to include certain terms or attachments in a document. 

These documents could then be routed for approval or signature using something other Flows or integrating with and app like DocuSign with versions and a history of all the details stored for reporting in Decisions. 

Shifting the Focus from Document Templates to Customer Interactions

Automating the document generation portion of your routine can free your time to focus on managing customer interactions. Some Decisions customers have integrated with tools like SendGrid to ensure delivery and include data about read receipts and clicks in emails that were sent to customers. Decisions has a lot of base-level email capability, but these tools add another layer of intelligence that help you think of new workflows you can build to make sure these documents are taken through a complete business processes instead of getting stalled. 

Closing Thoughts

It’s so easy to start to expand the scope once you get down a path like this. Instead of asking the question “what else could we automate?!” – we suggest asking “what is the minimum process we can implement quickly that will add value”? That way you get into rapid and feedback-laden iterations that can guide future effort instead of trying to build the world all at once. 

Kevin Lindquist
A Crocker Innovation Fellow with a degree from Brigham Young University, Kevin has a rich history in identifying pains and applying technology solutions. He has worked with a number of startups and success stories in the software and hardware space from Silicon Valley, The Silicon Slopes, and abroad including: Square, ASUS, and Fundly along with consultative roles at other Utah technology startups. He has been mentored by a number of highly successful individuals, including an Entrepreneur in Residence at Disney, multiple venture capitalists, and thought leaders in the world of technology and entrepreneurship. Kevin has a deep appreciation for entrepreneurship and a passion for internet technology. He is constantly seeking ways to contribute to the next generation of web enabled tools, a primary reason for his involvement with Decisions.

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