Strategies and tools for successful document automation projects

Though many UK organisations have adopted some level of automation, few have done so on a company-wide scale. But this is set to change. Automation – whether it’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Business Process Automation (BPA) or on a specific scale, document automation – is now gaining traction and spreading its reach into more and more areas within organisations.

Those businesses using automation technology are already reaping the benefits, so what is it that’s holding others back? Why aren’t more embracing the opportunities and improving processes?

Datagraphic’s Group Managing Director, Glyn King, has guided some of the UK’s best known public and private sector organisations through this digital transformation process. Helping them connect with their audiences digitally and in print and whilst driving productivity by introducing innovative solutions such as document automation that transform the way communications are produced and distributed.

Here, Glyn shares his experience and insights for a successful implementation so that your document automation project gets off to the best start.


  • Understand the journey of your documents

Take a moment to think of the customer, supplier and employee facing documents produced and distributed by your organisation: policy documents, invoices, statements, appointment reminders, absence letters. Each and every one will play a part in the day-to-day running of your operations and services. Now take just one of those documents. Just one single document is likely to have touch points across your whole organisation. Individual employees within departments compose, senior management review, IT functions may output and transfer the data required. There’s the potential design elements, which some businesses spend time and money outsourcing, and finally there’s output and distribution via print and, increasingly, digital channels.

By understanding this journey you’re not only getting a perspective on the number of colleagues and different teams involved in the production of the documents you send but also the potential issues with consistency, accuracy and efficiency within your current process.

  • Set the scope

Document automation streamlines this process, automating the print process as well as delivering information-rich documents online. However the pressure to automate across your organisation may feel slightly daunting. Which is why, in my experience, successful implementation should ‘think big – but start small’.

Examine what you want to achieve now and in the long term. You’re more likely to have automation success by piloting smaller projects first, learning from them and then building to wider scale implementation.

Get a full perspective; while the ownership of a digital transformation project may be held at senior management level, we highly recommend speaking and involving the people who are generating the document on a day to day basis. They know where the challenges and pinch points are.

  • Get the C-suite buy-in

I often find a recurring obstacle in effective automation implementation is the misconception within an organisation that implementation requires high capital investment, lengthy implementation and large-scale disruption. The reality is that document automation can be a non-invasive technology which seamlessly integrates with your existing business systems.

We see the most successful implementation projects embracing that and it’s the organisations which take the time to not only tell but demonstrate the specific and direct benefits to these wider business functions that succeed.

It may be addressing to the C-suite the specific details of how your automation partner specialises in the security of data, so you can show how the integrity of sensitive and personal data is maintained or how streamlining and controlling the output of your communications can particularly help multi-site and flexible workforces. Similarly it may be by reassuring your customer service team that document automation is ‘digital first’ and not ‘digitally exclusive’ and that streamlined, time efficient and data rich content can co-exist in print and digital formats to respond to their particular audiences.

In short, if you can show the C-suite how their particular business needs of speed, consistency, efficiency, security and scale are addressed in a way that’s relevant to them, then you can use your collaborative efforts to drive through change effectively.

We’ve shared more detailed insights and information about developing this collaborative c-suite approach in our blog “Changing perspectives”.

  • Countdown to go-live

Test, test and test again is my mantra here! An effective way of ensuring a smooth implementation of document automation is to test your data and then test the production and delivery. You can do this by running a full end-to-end test from sending the data to your chosen document automation partner, then they generate physical samples that are put into envelopes or present the documents digitally. You’re able to approve the quality of the print and/or digital display and it gives you a realistic understanding of the full process when the first live data files are sent.

  • Launch and beyond

Partnering with document automation and production specialists from the outset will bring knowledge and experience across development, implementation, security and growth of your projects. If you engage with the right partner who can scale with you as your organisation and technology advances, you also remove the need to work or manage multiple suppliers.


To understand in more detail what is involved in implementing a document automation project, one of our experts, Holly, talks through an implementation project she worked on for one of our clients. You can watch the short video here >>

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