digital business

What is a digital document canvas?

Documents are a useful information management and sharing tool—they’re easy to compose and to understand. Their strength lies in their autonomy. Unlike a lot of the tech that’s around these days, documents are something everyone can wrap their heads around—and you don’t have to know about databases or have coding skills to use them.

This is why documents have found a new role and purpose in the digital age.


According to the enterprise IT analyst firm Gartner, there are three things every business should be thinking about to transform from a laggard into a leader. They are:

1. Cloud-Native Platform

Harnessing the latest cloud innovations to improve the economy, governance, integration, cybersecurity, and scaling of applications. Very much focused on IT departmental needs, Digital Cloud Spaces offer businesses the optimal balance between IT economy, IT compliance, and IT agility.

2. Data Fabric

This is an umbrella term for technology that spans the enterprise, harvesting data from the various places it resides in, building connections between data silos where they don’t exist today, and making data more consumable for applications by cleansing and enriching it.

The latest Digital Data Fabric platforms incorporate software bots and AI to assist in organizing data, improving processes, and automating operative tasks.

3. Composability Layer

This is more of a capability than a technology platform. It provides your team with the tools to present data in a modular way, enabling smarter ways to process and analyze it.

New Digital Document platforms uniquely offer all these capabilities in a common and easily deployed architecture. And it is the digital document that supplies the composability tooling you need.

Digital documents have become the lifeblood of business administration

New demands on the role of documents

There are many more asks of the humble document. People work with information differently in a digital business. Demands for greater adaptability in processes, self-service on the front-end, and personalization of customer offerings create an environment that’s demanding of good data, consumed in many alternative ways.

It takes information workers with autonomous tooling to bring the level of responsiveness needed to respond to all these expectations. Consider the list of tasks that are being placed on digital documents. Here’s a shortlist:

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Micro-Portals • Forms • Reports • Training Dashboards • Charts • Maps • Tables Checklists • Onboarding • Risk Registers • Presentations • eBooks

1. Like a document

The fact that digital documents have the look, feel, autonomy and general purpose of use as traditional hardcopy documents is extremely helpful for IT and digital leaders working to cascade new technology across the enterprise. Traditional documents is a concept already grounded and familiar to us all, unlike interpretative technology terms like cloud computing, big data, or IoT. (Let’s be honest, how many people can get their heads around all these things?!)

2. Codeless composition and publishing

Due to the shortage of IT skills in the global workforce, coding is a skill that comes at a premium. Democratizing information working and removing the demand for coding is something business leaders want to do, but not at the high price of unregulated applications, data management, security risks, or IT architectures spiralling out of control.

Digital documents represent a new balance in the relationship between business and IT, one that benefits both sides of the equation.

3. Rich and interactive

Unlike other document forms, digital documents support rich media composition and publishing, enabling you to include video, hotlinks, maps, interactive graphs, and more.

4. Composable data

Practically every digital document does ‘something’ with data. That means it’s important to be able to integrate with existing data sources and applications. A Digital Data Fabric becomes an essential partner for digital documents, because it serves up clean data of high quality. But it is for the digital document composition tool to provide the point-and-click interface needed to organize and manage the data assets.

5. User behavioral tracking

Personally, I find this one of the more valuable features of digital documents. In a data-driven age, every marketer or content producer wants to know how effective their content is. Out of the box, digital documents support rich behavioral tracking, enabling you to learn about your audience and what they care about. It’s highly valuable for marketing and essential in areas like learning management, where tracking course completion is generally a compliance requirement.

6. Powered by AI

Digital documents include features that allow IT professionals to easily embed plug-ins, data, graphs, maps, bots, and artificial intelligence into documents. This equips IT teams with an effective and easily managed way of cascading new technology to the edge of the enterprise.

7. Enterprise-grade performance, including platform version control

Digital documents are designed to exist within a highly regulated corporate business environment. That means, for example, that each document has a version identifier that allows user-automated upgrades as and when new platform features are added to the digital document ecosystem.

This means there are never any software upgrade costs, and any decisions to upgrade documents to the latest version are made selectively, as and when needed, at the discretion of the document owner.

8. Always safe for data and regulated by IT

A series of additional cybersecurity safeguards can be added to digital document platforms over and above the industry standard controls already available from prevalent hosting environments, like Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and others.

9. Mobile-ready

Documents can be published in various formats. Templates make it easy to choose the type of deployment treatment. One of those options is a stylesheet for mobile-first sites, so pages scale according to the form factor of the device used to read it.

9. Cloud-native

Everything today happens on a digital cloud. For your digital documents to enrich customer portals, websites, eCommerce platforms, SaaS apps, and the likes, the technology you build on must be cloud-native. That means it was built on the cloud and uses cloud-native technology components, for example, big data architectures and flat file data structures, in addition to relationship databases.

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Micro-Portals • Forms • Reports • Training Dashboards • Charts • Maps • Tables Checklists • Onboarding • Risk Registers • Presentations • eBooks

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