Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about ActiveDocs, and our document automation and compliance solutions.

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Integration

Templates

Choosing the right platform

Document Creation

Usage, Support, and Performance

Alternative Solutions

 
 

Can we integrate ActiveDocs with SharePoint, Office, CRM, and Salesforce?

Yes. The following links show you how:

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Can we integrate ActiveDocs with other applications?

Yes, in many ways; here are some common examples:

  • ActiveDocs Templates can use data from other systems.
  • The ActiveDocs Document Wizard can be invoked from other applications for document creation in User-Driven Mode.
  • The Document Wizard can be invoked with preset Answers from another application.
  • Other applications can use ActiveDocs in Automated Mode to create documents programmatically using ActiveDocs Templates.
  • Documents created with ActiveDocs can be easily forwarded to storage and handling destinations like WebDAV, SharePoint, networks, and web services.
  • Documents created with ActiveDocs can be easily forwarded to other applications for onward processing. Highly customizable document metadata is readily available.

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What applications have other customers integrated with ActiveDocs?

Here is a small sample of the applications that ActiveDocs customers and partners have integrated:

  • HP Worksite/iManage
  • Appian
  • FileNet
  • SharePoint Portal Server
  • Jalios JCMS (Content Management)
  • SAP
  • BizTalk Server
  • Carizma (Contract Management)
  • RBS WorldPay
  • Open Text eDOC
  • Temenos T24
  • Brassring
  • Selectica
  • Oracle Taleo
  • Kofax Capture
  • IBM AS/400

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Why would we want to use templates?

Templates allow you to standardize your documentation by providing a convenient starting point for document creation, using and enforcing corporate standards. However, stand-alone templates can still have drawbacks:

  • Users still have to go looking for templates with attendant risks and time costs.
  • Template repositories need to be kept up-to-date with changes like branding, regulations, and market drivers.
  • Large numbers of templates can produce significant maintenance issues.
  • Unless templates are easily found and easy to use, users will fall back on practices like copy-and-paste.
  • Standard templates don't easily support repeated instances of the same data, filtered access to external data sources, and other features to help reduce errors.

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What advantages does an ActiveDocs solution have over ordinary templates?

  • ActiveDocs provides an integrated environment for Template Designers using a component-based approach: ActiveDocs Designer.
  • ActiveDocs allows Template Designers to build intelligence, rules, and user help, into Templates.
  • Users can find, and use, all of their ActiveDocs Templates via the ActiveDocs Express Wizard's web browser interface, allowing your end users to use the right template, right now.
  • The web-based ActiveDocs Document Wizard takes users through a well-controlled, rule-driven, help-assisted, logical process to complete their documents.
  • ActiveDocs provides Designers with the tools to access external data sources via reusable components.
  • ActiveDocs supports rapid change and deployment through reusable components, a robust and comprehensive Design environment, and server-based web-enabled access to Templates.
  • ActiveDocs Templates are Word-based with added ActiveDocs intelligence, supporting multiple instances of data, external data sources, image capture, free text editing, and other key features.
  • Interactive and programmatic usage of the same ActiveDocs Template to create documents is fully supported.

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What is a “component-based approach” for Templates? Is software development required?

  • ActiveDocs uses a component-based approach for Template Design – and there's no programming involved.
  • Designers develop catalogs of reusable ActiveDocs Design Components which include:
    • Templates
    • Snippets for common content
    • Data Views for accessing data in other systems
    • Templates use Snippets and Data Views, and can be used to build Template Sets
  • Snippets can be purely passive content or can also contain their own ActiveDocs automation as Active Snippets.
  • Snippets – passive or Active – can be reused in other Office applications.

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Does ActiveDocs require significant IT involvement?

No.

  • Installations do require IT support. They take less than a day, and can be done remotely.
  • ActiveDocs Designer was created especially with business users in mind. It makes template design and management simple and intuitive.
  • User-driven document creation is a simple web-based process using a browser without any application rollout.
  • ActiveDocs is designed to integrate with your other applications. Your IT people will want to get involved with configuring that – it's their job and what they do best!

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Does ActiveDocs support multiple delivery channels?

Yes.

  • ActiveDocs supports delivery in multiple formats via print, file system, FTP, email, and onward handling.
  • Delivery integrates with your existing IT infrastructure.
  • Print, fax, and email delivery use configurable queues and support grouping and OCR for cost control.
  • Onward handling includes options for delivery or storage into other applications via web services.

Find out more here.

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What level of post-creation document processing does ActiveDocs support?

ActiveDocs supports a comprehensive range of post-creation document processing.

  • Pre-release approval which may be standalone or part of a workflow process.
  • Edit with the ActiveDocs Client.
  • Delivery which integrates with your infrastructure (i.e. email, print, cloud services).
  • Onward handling including options for storage into other applications and via web services.

Find out more here.

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What about support for open standards?

  • ActiveDocs provides document output in multiple industry standard formats including Word, PDF, TIFF, and HTM.
  • The Open Document (Text) Format (ODF-ODT) is fully supported as an open standard output document format.
  • For output documents, ActiveDocs will support the ISO/IEC OOXML open standard when it is supported by Microsoft® Office.
  • ActiveDocs Template Design is performed in Microsoft® Word and will support the ISO/IEC OOXML open standard when it is supported by Microsoft® Office.

Find out more here.

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How much re-use of content and other components does ActiveDocs support?

Part of the core philosophy behind ActiveDocs is content re-use.

  • ActiveDocs Designer provides for modular design of Templates using reusable components for common content, data access, fields, and rules.
  • Designer provides complete control, enforcement, and reporting of relationships between components.
  • ActiveDocs Version Control integrates with Designer to provide complete version control and publish-now, publish-later control over components.
  • ActiveDocs Snippets are designed for common, reusable, content such as standard paragraphs, terms and conditions, legal clauses, and other recurring content.
    • Snippets can be purely passive content, or can also contain their own ActiveDocs automation as Active Snippets.
    • Snippets can enable re-use of existing external content – ActiveDocs can access content mapped as Snippets in other systems.
    • Templates are built using their own content and with links to Snippets when common content is needed.
    • Snippets may be re-used in selected Microsoft® Office applications.
    • In summary, Snippets can use common content you already have, and new common content, for use in ActiveDocs Templates and in other Office applications.
  • ActiveDocs Templates may be combined into Template Sets to create document sets.
  • ActiveDocs Templates and Template Sets may be used for interactive and programmatic (Automated Mode) document generation.

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How do I manage the content that I'm using in ActiveDocs?

ActiveDocs Designer's Content Manager provides full content management for ActiveDocs.

  • Modular, component-based Template design.
  • Component relationship control.
  • Check-Out and Check-In of components.
  • Integration with ActiveDocs Version Control for
    • Check-In as Draft or Publish Now or Publish Later (Deferred Publishing)
    • Discard Check-Out
    • Promote and copy-out previous versions
  • Design Component Approval for pre-publication verification of new or changed material.
  • Optional mapping to existing external repositories of Snippet and Template material
  • Export and Import functions for moving components between development, QA, and production systems.

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Performance and resilience are especially important considerations – can we find out more?

ActiveDocs is a high-performance enterprise-grade application:

  • Multi-threading for scale-up performance using multi-core platforms.
  • Multi-server for high-resilience and scale-out performance.
  • Lossless auto-failover with Multi-Server load-balancing in-place.
  • High volume output benchmarked at over 150,000 documents per hour.
  • One of our customers produces over 7 MILLION documents per annum with our fully automated solution.
  • Proven design-and-use capability with thousand-page templates.
  • Our customers have between 100 and 7000 automated templates and document sets.

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Do ActiveDocs Template Designers need to manually build the end user interview?

No.

  • Designers create Templates using ActiveDocs intelligence with grouping and ordering for consistency and flow.
  • Designers also use rules to control the flow of groups and the content of the output document.
  • The ActiveDocs Document Wizard works automatically with any ActiveDocs Template.
  • The Document Wizard follows the Designer's ordering, grouping, and rules.

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What software do my end users need with ActiveDocs?

  • To use ActiveDocs Templates from the ActiveDocs Express Wizard, all you need is a web browser.
  • Documents can be created in most Word formats, ODF, PDF, XPS, EML and HTML.
  • Other software needed will depend on the selected document format, and what your end users want to do with the document after creating it.
  • The ActiveDocs Client's functions allow users to save documents back to ActiveDocs, and use ActiveDocs Snippets in selected Office applications.

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Do we need to install Microsoft® Word on our server?

No.

  • ActiveDocs natively creates documents in Microsoft® Word (OOXML) format without using Microsoft® Word.
  • ActiveDocs can automatically create documents in a wide range of other formats on demand.
  • The latest versions of ActiveDocs do not need Word for format conversion on the server, although this is available as an option.
  • For older ActiveDocs versions, or when configured in newer versions, a single-user copy of Microsoft® Word is required on the server.
  • We provide strict implementation guidelines and built-in monitoring services to ensure Microsoft® Word instances are well-managed and run under very high security.
  • Please refer to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article for further information.

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Do ActiveDocs products work with Open Office XML (OOXML)?

  • ActiveDocs Designer is an add-in for Microsoft® Word which uses OOXML for easy template design.
  • ActiveDocs creates documents in Microsoft® Word (OOXML) format by default.
  • ActiveDocs can create documents in a wide range of alternative formats which are described here. ActiveDocs will support the OOXML IEC/ISO specification when the specification is supported by Microsoft® Office.

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Can ActiveDocs create documents in the Open Document Format?

  • Yes. ActiveDocs can create documents in a wide range of alternative formats, including ODF/ODT, which are described here.

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How are ActiveDocs products used?

  • Banking and Finance:
    • Loans and Statements
    • Emails and Letters to Customers
  • Insurance:
    • Policy and Endorsement Documents
  • Procurement and Fulfillment:
    • Sales Ready Marketing and Order Fulfilment
  • Sales and HR:
    • Proposals, RFI responses, and HR Contracts
    • Specialized Machinery Sales Quotations
  • Regulatory and Government:
    • Legal Titles, Rates, Public Notices, Regulation Changes

For more specific use cases including technical details, please have a look at our Case Studies.

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How can ActiveDocs support us?

  • We have global offices providing pre- and post- sales support in:
    • North America (Kansas, USA)
    • EMEA (London, UK)
    • Asia-Pacific (Brisbane AUS and Auckland NZ)
  • 80% of our business is in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Most installs take less than a day and can be done remotely.
  • We provide in-depth feature-specific e-Learning modules for trained Designers.
  • We can offer service level agreements.
  • ActiveDocs Professional Services Team offers a wealth of value-added services including analysis, planning, implementation, training, and certification.

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What makes ActiveDocs the right company to deal with?

  • You can automate your high-value document with the greatest speed, success, and minimum risk.
  • You can get it right, the first time.
  • You'll be able to move your projects forward efficiently and with confidence.
  • Our development team have been involved in the product since its inception.
  • We are dedicated to one product line, and we listen to our customers and their needs.
  • Our intention is to have mutually beneficial long-term relationships with our customers.
  • We encourage customers to try our software through customized presentations and hands-on Proof-of-Concept projects.
  • We're a highly profitable, privately owned company.
  • We have many Fortune 500 customers.
  • We are a trusted part of the core infrastructure of our clients.

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Can ActiveDocs supply references and Case Studies?

Yes. We have complete confidence in our product, and so do our customers.

  • All of our Customer Case Studies are available here.
  • Please contact us directly for customer references.

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What about the cost and ROI?

  • ActiveDocs provides value through enterprise-wide efficiency.
  • Price versus features, we believe we offer the best solution available.
  • Our customers can tell you about their ROI:
    • A large multinational has saved US$1.3m in the first year.
    • A major bank has reduced overtime to nil in one department, and isn't replacing staff who leave.
    • One major corporate client cut the time required to create a complex legal contract from 4 days to under 1 hour.
  • Creating documents takes time. Fixing problems in documents takes time. If you could save just one hour in creation or rework per document using ActiveDocs, across 100,000 documents in a year, that 100,000 hours saved could mean over $5m in annual savings.

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Couldn't we build something like ActiveDocs ourselves?

  • We have spent over 20 years developing the ActiveDocs product line.
  • You need to consider:
    • Time
    • Money
    • Resources
    • Long term user support
    • Evolution
    • Support for new and changing technologies – such as operating systems, databases, word processing, and document formats
    • We issue on average 6 feature upgrades per annum

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Isn't this what Microsoft's Open XML SDK is used for?

  • Microsoft's Open XML SDK is an excellent toolkit – for developers!
  • For business users, a higher level solution is required.
  • Software development is required to make that happen...
  • ... and you might ask yourself why you couldn't build a solution.
  • And we might refer you to the question (and answers) above.

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Couldn't we harness the capabilities of other Microsoft technologies?

  • See "Couldn't we build something like ActiveDocs ourselves?" (above)
  • See "Isn't this what Microsoft's Open XML SDK is used for?" (above)
  • There is an ActiveDocs White Paper on this subject here.

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