Thinking Like a DocFather: Where Do I start?

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We all need to start somewhere... Figuring out where that is can sometimes be a challenge, luckily I'm here to help. My name is Ryan O'Leary, I'm a Technical Evangelist, and DocFather at Nintex. All of my upcoming blogs will be on the topic of "Thinking Like a DocFather" how do I and the other DocFathers, I'm looking at you @DocFather_Ray and @DavidStephen think about and solve problems using Nintex products. Having worked at Drawloop for over 7 years, working with hundreds if not thousands of customers and partners. I think we're uniquely positioned to help set you down a path of success.


So where do we start?


From the beginning.


Get the Document


It seems so obvious but the very first step to starting any document generation project should be getting the document that your business or your customers business wants to make dynamic. I’m talking about mission critical documents that you want to connect to your Salesforce data model for example: quotes, contracts, proposal, invoices, service orders. Anything that helps the Sale to Cash or Service to Cash scenario.


Now, when I say to get the document, I mean get the actual Word, Excel, or Powerpoint file although Drawloop and our Document Generation actions work with PDFs most of the time your job is going to be a lot easier if you start with Word, Excel, or Powerpoint. If someone hands you a PDF and you’re not working in or on behalf of someone in the public sector, chances are you can acquire another version of that doc.


If you can’t I would strongly suggest considering rebuilding that document in one of those three formats. The reason being a PDF is a very static document so if you’re just looking for 1 to 1 tagging, PDF may be fine but if you need a living breathing document that can expand, or collapse based on the data coming into it Word is probably your best bet.


Secure your Data Model


Now that you have your office file the next step is to make sure your organizations Salesforce data model is locked down. Although it is very easy to modify the document package anytime during testing or after it has been pushed out to production. It’s always a good idea to make sure the Salesforce data model isn’t going to change halfway through your project. Otherwise you risk doubling your work load of having to tag the document twice and updating your relationships.

Trust me, it’s worth waiting a few extra days for the data model to be secure before you start creating your document package.


Review the Document with an Expert


Now that you have your documents and you know your Salesforce org isn’t going to radically change overnight it’s time to do the “hard” part. Set aside some time with someone who manually updates that document today, if it’s a quote maybe grab 15-30 minutes with a Sales rep and ask them to show you where that data is coming from within Salesforce.




Highlight the document, write down where that information should be coming from weather it’s the Account, Contact, Opportunity, Products, Work Order, or some custom object. Save yourself some time and just write it straight onto that document, save a copy. Take note of anything special they want to happen, maybe there is a table within the document that they want to replicate for each product coming in? Maybe they have additional documentation that needs to come in based off that product being sold?


These are all things that Drawloop can handle and you as the Nintex Administrator can automate for them. If it is a complicated document figure out what the must haves are and what the nice to haves are.




Take time to understand how the entire process works from their perspective. You can dramatically save your company or your customers time later by doing this. Understand what happens before, during, and after that document is generated. There may be other things you can do with Drawloop or maybe even Nintex Workflow Cloud to automate the scenario further.

You’d be surprised how much time you can save someone just by taking a few extra moments to listen to what happens to the document after they generate it. For example: After a thank you letter gets generated instead of that person having to manually print them all out. What if you could help them out by just sending it straight to the printer?


Build, Test, Migrate


You’re ready! You’ve done everything you can do to prepare yourself for the task at hand. All that’s left is to build your Document Package, test it, and migrate it to production or additional sandboxes for testing.


This was your first lesson in thinking like a DocFather. Stay tuned for more lessons from myself and the other DocFathers. Take care of yourselves and take care of each other.



Welcome to the Family.




If you'd like to learn more directly from the DocFathers please check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any of your other preferred podcasting platforms. Just search "DocFathers" or check us out on Twitter @DocFathers