On any project, there are a number of requirements:
- Fast processing of data by document controllers, and between people working for different firms or organisations on the same project.
- Making life easy for the people with whom you are communicating means that they are more likely to respond in a timely manner.
- It is necessary to respect their requirements for record keeping as well as maintaining your own.
It must be fast and easy for people to:
- send out documents and information,
- respond to documents which have been received,
- record the receipt of documents.
An email as such is basically unstructured: it is "hand typed" thus spelling errors can easily be made in such things as the subject, or the project title. This makes it very difficult for the person recording the receipt of the email automatically.
So what is needed is a methodology which has the following properties:
- Documents are generated from a database so that all the necessary references are defined
- These references are somehow passed to the other party in a manner which enables them to record them and or re-use them without any copying or re-keying.
Thus the specification for the necessary software includes the ability to generate emails and then send these emails either directly or via the users "mail system". The email must then include the following:
- the formal document or documents which are being transmitted
- some means of making an acknowledgement or response
- some means of enabling the recipient to import the information into their own record keeping system should they have one
There is really only one solution: and that is as follows:
- use a software solution to generate all formal documents in PDF format from a database
- have an attached EDI file to enable the recipient to import the information if so required
- have an attached form in HTML format to allow the response to be made in the event that the recipient does not have their own formal system.
The response form is processed by a php script residing on a web server to generate the EDI required by the originator to enable the import of the response. The information flow is as follows:
- Document controller initiates an email and sends it to the recipient
- The recipient responds, and either:
- responds using their own software system generating an email with an attached EDI and other documents, or
- completes the HTML form which sends the recipients response to a web server
- the web server generates an EDI and emails this back to the originator with any attached documents.
The solution might be termed "EDI and HTML forms with server side processing".
Click to see a diagram showing the Solution used by TDOC which works in this manner.
Please note that a "blank" HTML form can be issued to someone to allow them to initiate a communication using this technology.