What is Document Automation: A Complete Guide

5 min read

Any sector relies on documents, whether they are invoices, contracts, marketing collateral, or legal filings. However, manually creating customized documents is a time-consuming process that also carries the risk of errors. This is where document automation comes in by leveraging templates and robotic process automation (RPA) tools like Octoparse RPA to expedite document creation.

What is Document Automation?

Document automation is the use of software to automatically produce customized documents by populating pre-defined templates with appropriate data and content. The process typically involves pulling information from various sources like databases, CRM systems, etc., and mapping it onto designated fields or sections within templates. This helps produce branded, compliant documents in a fraction of the time taken manually.

Document automation works through a combination of templates, rules, and integration with other systems. Templates define elements like headers, logos, styles, etc. while rules govern conditional text, calculations, and formatting. When coupled with RPA, bots can retrieve external data, trigger document creation, and perform validation. This facilitates processes across departments with consistent and accurate outputs.

How RPA Can Improve Document Automation

To automate repetitive processes involving documents, document automation makes use of the fundamental skills of robotic process automation. While RPA involves programming software robots or ‘bots’ to emulate human interactions, document automation focuses on generating documents through these programmed interactions. Bots retrieve data, populate templates based on predefined rules, and integrate generated documents with downstream systems. This allows full-scale automation of end-to-end document workflows.

RPA may enhance document automation in a variety of ways, including data extraction, document movement, task automation, etc.

Extract data from documents

RPA may be used to extract data from a range of documents, including contracts, invoices, and purchase orders. This information can then be used to automatically create new documents or fill out template fields.

Move documents between systems

RPA can help transfer documents between several systems, including an ERP system and a CRM system. Workflows can be streamlined as a result, increasing productivity.

RPA may be used to automate a number of document processing operations, such as printing, scanning, and emailing documents. This allows staff to concentrate on other activities.

How Document Automation Can Help

From expediting routine workflows to enhancing strategic initiatives, document automation delivers wide-ranging benefits that transform how organizations function.

Increased Efficiency

Automation simplifies the process by removing repetitive data entry activities and content production bottlenecks, allowing staff to spend less time on administrative duties. Thus, document automation can free up resources for higher-impact duties, resulting in increased production. For example, automating contracts lowered document processing time for a law firm by 75%, liberating 15 lawyers to take 50% more cases each month.

Precision & Accuracy

Bots produce error-free documents by pulling validated data from trusted sources and inserting them flawlessly via templates. It ensures outputs conforming to business rules and quality standards at all times. A refinery leverages automation to generate FCC inspection certificates from IoT sensors. Eliminating manual transcription mistakes, the plant now boasts a five-nines compliance rate.

Cost Reduction

Automation curbs document lifecycle expenses dramatically by replacing physical storage with secure version-controlled digital archives. It also cuts printing, courier, and labor charges associated with manual distribution. One staffing firm slashed annual fulfillment costs by 30% by automating onboarding documents populated from an applicant tracking system.

Strategic Redeployment

Freed from basic production roles through automation, employees can focus on priority initiatives. Revamped workflows empower data-driven project leadership and customer-centric services. For instance, an insurance agency redeployed underwriters as account managers by harnessing automation to generate hundreds of renewal policies monthly.

Process Governance

Templates and edit tracking enforce brand consistency while configurable rules implement policy changes globally. Automation thus strengthens process governance capabilities. An automaker enhanced parts procurement efficiency by 50% by establishing robot-controlled SOPs across 150 supplier document templates.

Business Agility

Rules support adaptive outputs for niche needs while template standardization streamlines changes. This makes processes responsive to dynamic market conditions without compromising quality or control.

As all these examples highlight, document automation upgrades workflows, oversight, and resource allocation, equipping organizations to operate with unparalleled speed, precision, and productivity.

Document Automation Use Cases

Organizations across industries use document automation in many ways, from easing regular processes to supporting strategic objectives. Here are some examples of scenarios:

Large law firms use archives to automatically generate contracts, NDAs, and case papers. This allows attorneys to concentrate on complex issues rather than tedious paperwork.

Furthermore, compliance teams streamline regulatory filings by integrating external data sources into standard templates regulated by standards that may be customized. In finance, for example, automated SEC filing creation simplifies governance operations.


Insurers generate HIPAA-compliant policies including riders by combining customer profiles with standardized injury codes. This powers highly customized underwriting at scale. Claims departments then automate loss-run reports populated dynamically from notifications. Evaluation is expedited while policyholders receive prompt service through mobile-ready documents.


Clinics automate patient intake documents by pre-filling forms with insurance and diagnosis data extracted from centralized EHR systems. Hospitals streamline referrals between departments by automating discharge summaries that sync pertinent case details. This supports care coordination.


Lenders automate customized loan contracts by deriving borrower details and terms from lending systems. Credit analysis is simplified through auto-populating application documents. Treasury departments produce account statements incorporating transactions from General Ledgers into templates. Customers access tailored financial insights.


Product teams automate catalogs updating with the latest SKUs sourced from Product Information Management tools. Standardized collateral fuels omni-channel campaigns. Campaign managers then generate tailored mailers by inputting subscriber interests into templates linked to CRM databases. Hyper-personalized outreach lifts engagement.

Supply Chain

Procurement bots auto-fill purchase orders from MRP outputs. Vendors access requirements consistently while planners maintain visibility. Logistics coordinators streamline shipping by auto-populating documents from WMS with order-wise tracking details. Asset tracking is demystified enterprise-wide.


In today’s fast-paced world, eliminating manual document duties through intelligent automation allows enterprises and their staff to focus more on high-value activities. By integrating RPA capabilities, document automation powers end-to-end process transformation. Its extensive use across sectors emphasizes the competitive advantage and operational benefits it provides to early adopters.

Explore topics

Ready to see Octoparse RPA in action?