For years we've been suffering through the creation of documents for our Salesforce.com clients. The tool sets available just weren't that great. Initially, the only tool available was the built in Salesforce Mail Merge. This made it possible to create a word doc and merge data from a salesforce record into the document. This technique had serious limitations, a few of which are:
- there is no inherent functionality to store the created document back into salesforce in association with the originating record.
- there is no inherent functionality to send the created document via an email or to simply have the rendered document loaded as an attachment against an email
- Salesforce Mail Merge didn't work on a MAC!
- You can't draw data from records not in direct association with the originating record.
- You couldn't easily choose to have the document rendered as a PDF.
Once Visualforce was released, we generally solved these problems by writing Visualforce pages, invoked from a record like an opportunity, that would create the needed document, store it against the originating record, load it as an attachment against an email, and render the document into a new window. This worked really well, but for one document at a time. Meaning, if a client needed a stack of documents, or many different documents (insurance companies for example), then producing these various documents was normally too expensive to do via Visualforce.
A while back we started hearing more and more about Drawloop. When we finally started digging into it we learned that Drawloop made it easy to produce many documents, and without ANY of the limitations inherent to Salesforce Mail Merge. It can produce any document type, works from any platform, can store rendered documents as attachments against the originating record, plus it can email the documents or email them preconfigured for e-signature.
We learned later that they even have tools that will produce "Dynamic Document Packages" which are essentially packets of documents that are dynamically created based on the needs of the user. What really blew us away was that the system could incorporate information from salesforce to determine various conditions that would determine document requirements. For example, an insurance agent may need to include a particular form when a home owner has a pool. Drawloop logic could be written to see if that condition exists and then automatically include the form when needed.
Our biggest problem was trying to learn how to use all of the features! We started talking to the Drawloop folks and decided to get certified as Drawloop Support Partners.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need document generation out of Salesforce.com, Drawloop is probably for you. Produce as many documents as needed of any format populated with merge fields from your salesforce.com database while storing the documents back into salesforce.com and sending the documents via email or for e-signature. It's a winner.
If you need help getting Drawloop configured to do all of these things for your company, we'd be glad to help. We are a Salesforce.com Consulting Partner and can help you with just about any Salesforce.com dilemma you might have, including document creation, storage, and delivery. You can reach out to us at www.snapptraffic.com for more information about consulting help with Drawloop or anything else Salesforce related.