The Secret to Electronic Document Delivery
What is in it for me?
A recent company announcement we found describes the future direction of communication:
We are pleased to offer to our stockholders the benefits and convenience of electronic delivery, including:
What is electronic document delivery?
Electronic Document Delivery (or distribution) is the ability to create, distribute, and view documents without any paper trail. At the forefront of e-business, any solution should be capable of bringing significant efficiency enhancements to your organization, dramatically reducing the time and expense of your manual day-to-day business processes.
From the company’s perspective, electronic document distribution solutions will save thousands on the costs of producing and delivering their business documents. From the stockholder’s perspective, e-delivery provides speed and convenience. It also means that communication to and from the company is now available from the individual’s desktop at home, thereby eliminating the need to print, envelope and then mail any correspondence to the Company.
What are key features to look for in electronic document delivery software?
A good software solution can electronically produce and distribute a range of business documents, such as invoices, purchase orders, payslips, remittances and you can stretch this list as far as the imagination can go.Some key features that you should look for in the software are:
- Ability to easily integrate with your existing software application:
How do you link the software to your current business application?
- Ease of setup and operation:
A quick read of an overview help topic, should be capable of delivering the concept of how to use the product and thereafter the user interface must be intuitive to be able to lead you in its use.
- Document must be converted to a universal electronic file format:
PDF files can be read on Apple MACs, MS Windows, or Unix based systems. Files must be compact in size allowing easy transportability by email. Some email servers do not allow sending of large file attachments. PDF files are generally more size efficient than its original document and are viewable on different operating systems using the Adobe Reader.
- In-built functionality to split (aka – ‘burst’, ‘explode’) an individual document or multiple documents in a ‘Print Run’1
If the printed document consisted of say 20 pages, can you send pages 1, 5, and 7 to destination 1 and pages 2, 4, 8, 10 to destination 2 and so on?
- Email capability:
Can you send the ‘burst or exploded’ electronic document as attachments with customized emails?
- The ability to password protect the electronic file:
If confidentiality is required, as in the case of payslips, is the software capable of inserting an encrypted password (either pre-configured or created ‘on the fly’) into the file?
- An ability to personalize the email message and ‘Read Receipt’ options for each Client:
The software configuration should allow you to configure a subject/message/ read receipt requirement & confidentiality flag option on the email plus optionally add a password to the electronic file attachment
This is a key part of the evaluation. You can measure the ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) by assessing the number of Invoices and Supplier Payment advices for instance, you would send out currently in the mail. Then using the following formula you can measure the time in months required to recoup the cost of the software by way of savings:
§ No of months for ROI = Software Price divided by Cost of producing monthly invoices
§ Cost of producing monthly invoices = No of monthly Invoices produced multiply by $1*
* $1 is the cost to cover postage/stationery/manual labor to sort, envelope and deliver to the post box
For example: If the purchase price is $395 and 100 invoices are printed currently per month then:
No of months ROI = 395 / 100 = approx 4 months to recoup the cost of the software
There are currently a number of accounting applications that provide document delivery via PDFs attached to emails. However, some of them are only capable of producing one document at a time so that there is still a heavy reliance on manual input. A ‘complete’ solution would be capable of converting a ‘print batch’ of documents into multiple e-documents and sent to multiple destinations without the need of User intervention.
How do I find such applications?
Use of keywords like ‘PDF exploding’, ‘PDF bursting’ ‘Report bursting’ in some of the larger search engines should identify the software available.
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