In business we often find ourselves performing very repetitive tasks, especially when it comes to things like invoicing or year-end. Individual documents need to be generated for each client, personalised, stored for record keeping, and finally emailed out to clients. This can be done manually when dealing with just a few, however as that number grows, the system becomes extremely prone to human error - update the wrong information, save it under the wrong name, or email it to the wrong person.
To solve this problem, we looked into the Google Docs API which now provides the ability to create, merge and update documents via their programming API (Application Programming Interface), together with the Google Drive API.
We already had the document templates we needed to use, so using the API we:
- Copy the correct template to an identifiable location & filename
- Edit the new document, replacing the data from the CMS into the document
- Generate a PDF of that merged document and store it alongside the personalised document
- Optionally email that PDF to the client
So after a few hours of clever programming, we are able to turn a regular exported CSV file (containing the client data) into hundreds of error-free, personalised PDF files, ready for emailing. This specific task would have otherwise taken many hours to do manually (several times per year), but with this API integration it now takes only a couple of minutes.
This paticular integration utilised both the Google Drive and Google Docs API’s, however it is also possible to leverage both the Google Sheets and Google Calendar APIs to achieve even more (depending on your requirements). If the Google APIs aren’t what you need, then there will likely be other services that we can integrate into to automate your manual processes.
In summary, automation of monotonous tasks largely speeds up processing and reduces errors. If your business is faced with similar challenges then why not get in touch with us to investigate some of the alternatives?
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