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Product teams should be thinking differently about documents: how the Anvil Document SDK opens new possibilities

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By Mang-Git Ng

Product teams should optimize their time on innovative, differentiated products rather than table stakes features like document workflows. In this post we take a look at a few examples at opposite ends of the "document experience spectrum" and how the Anvil Document SDK enables product teams to launch document software fast.

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Documents surround us in almost every aspect of our lives: A trip to the doctor’s office, buying an insurance policy, getting married, purchasing a home, payroll, taxes...the list goes on. As consumers we’re inundated with forms and PDFs for many of the products we interact with. The technology companies working to improve the experience of paper-bound industries like insurance or human resources have an even bigger task: getting you and I to complete these documents as easily as possible. And let’s face it – if you’re still asking your customers to download, print, fill out, and upload documents – it’s more likely they’ll get this far:


Companies should strive for a delightful, digital-first experience where data is easily collectible, easily routable, and easily reusable. With tax day right around the corner, TurboTax comes to mind as a product with a delightful document experience. You never once need to download and fill out a PDF. Rather, you complete a series of smart webforms, and in the background, TurboTax routes the information to the correct locations across multiple pages of multiple PDFs. And when you return next year to complete your taxes? TurboTax reuses large chunks of the information you already provided to pre-populate forms and PDFs so you don’t have to spend time doing it again.

On the flip-side, if you’ve ever had the privilege of becoming a new parent – which I am – you’re familiar with all the documents you’re required to physically fill out with pen, paper, and a clipboard. These documents continue their journey to the desk of an operations teammate who manually enters them into a digital system or PDF. How nice would it be instead if, by your second child, the information you’ve already provided could be retrieved and reused so you could more quickly complete a webform with only the new information for child #2?

This traditional approach to handling documents — particularly PDFs — has long been a significant logjam for product and operations teams across industries inundated with paperwork or digital documents. Ask any product manager or developer tasked with building software for documents and they’ll tell you it’s:

  • time-intensive *
  • scales poorly
  • expensive

*and highly unenjoyable

When you start crunching the numbers on developer time + opportunity costs (of not working on core, differentiated product features) + annual costs of 3rd party document software, it quickly becomes clear that the status quo isn’t a viable path forward.

How the Anvil Document SDK helps

Document software is a table stakes feature for most companies. A product teams’ focus should be on core, differentiated features. Most SaaS companies aren’t building their own payment platform or performance monitoring tool – that’s what Stripe & Sentry do.

Enter the Anvil Document SDK, which empowers product & developer teams to simplify how they build, manage, and deploy document-based workflows. More specifically, the SDK can help with generating or filling PDFs, collecting data, and requesting e-signatures, all embedded & styled within your product.

Here's how the Anvil Document SDK works for everyone (product teams, developers, operations):

  1. Build the document process you want: The Anvil SDK allows you to fully customize and embed your desired document workflow experience using pre-built components and flexible APIs. This level of customization ensures that you can tailor the document process to fit your specific needs and user expectations.
  2. Launch in days, not months: With flexible APIs and no-code builders, your development team can build quickly and efficiently. This accelerated development cycle means you can launch document workflows in a fraction of the time it would traditionally take, allowing your team to dedicate more time to innovation and less to overcoming technical hurdles.
  3. Your brand, front & center: Anvil’s SDK ensures that you can embed and style webforms and e-signatures to make them seamlessly blend with your application. This puts your brand in the spotlight, providing a cohesive user experience that builds trust and enhances user engagement.

Empowering Teams Beyond Engineering

The Anvil Document SDK is not just for developers. Its design caters to a wide audience, enabling product managers, operations teams, and non-technical staff to actively participate in the development and management of document workflows. Because of this inclusivity, companies experience increased collaboration across departments, ensuring that the final product is well-rounded, user-friendly, and meets the diverse needs of all stakeholders.

By addressing the core challenges that teams face with document workflows and PDFs, Anvil empowers businesses to leapfrog the traditional barriers to efficiency and scalability. With the Anvil Document SDK, teams can build faster, innovate more, and maintain a sharp focus on delivering exceptional value and experiences to their users.

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Request a 30-minute live demo today and we'll get in touch shortly. During the meeting our Sales team will help you find the right solution, including:
  • Simplifying data gathering
  • Streamlining document preparation
  • Requesting e-signatures
  • Building and scaling your business
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