As more and more businesses, regardless of size, leverage digital technology and embrace the benefits of Digital Transformation, what many do not realise is, implementing Document Automation can support your business on its Digital Transformation journey.
Let’s start with a couple of questions to explain how…
Do you work with documents every day?
Is accuracy and data important to your work?
Do you utilise data from your other business systems when you’re creating and working with these documents?
In 2018 there was an estimated 500 billion MS Word documents created, and each day 73 million PDF’s are saved to Google Drive and Gmail, that’s a hell of a lot of documents and data!
Automating this manual document creation is called ‘Document Automation’ and its one of the most powerful ways you can undertake a successful Digital Transformation.
1. Do More with Less
Document Automation can, if used wisely, genuinely help businesses and organisations of all sizes make significant improvements with productivity – easily more than an 80% time saving.
By automating everyday inefficient tasks and processes like manual document creation, chasing internal approvals and document signatures, you will optimise any workflows and your business processes will all be streamlined, saving you money.
2. Minimises Risk
Using Document Automation, the risk of human error is reduced, as efficient, user-friendly document creation processes are in place. Your regulatory requirements such as, GDPR, SOX, HIPAA, are met easily, through the use and enforcement of quality standards across all documentation.
The quality of any of your complex documents remains consistent and high, as automated workflows are in place to maintain this.
3. Maximises Value of Data
Most companies already have data elsewhere – in an Excel spreadsheet, a SQL database, a Client Relationship Management (CRM) system, and so on.
Document Automation helps you utilise the data you already have and processes that data into documents, data drives Document Automation.
Optimising your data processing workflow can help you drive efficiency and reduce your time spent on manual document creation.
4. Enhances Business Growth
Delivering substantial time and cost savings, the faster you can create and process documents such as quotes, NDAs, contracts, and other key documentation within your business, the quicker you can realise revenue – effective Document Automation can play a key part in this process.
Internally, you will foster collaboration across your business, as more efficient and productive processes and workflows are enabled. Externally, your customers’ experience will be improved, helping to further enhance your business growth.
To find out more about how Document Automation can support your business in a successful Digital Transformation, contact us today.
We recently published a blog entitled “Am I Stuck With Document Automation Vendor X?” – in it we looked at the key attributes and functional considerations when moving to another Document Automation vendor. In this post, I’d like to place focus on the area of Data Portability and Compliance. Knowing your rights and your Clients’ rights is important, whether it’s for your cell phone contract, car repayments, or a store card. Your rights are what protects us all and makes civilisation…. well, civil.
Knowledge is king, however data trumps knowledge. Without data we have no knowledge; the ability to determine right from wrong, good versus evil. Data is growing exponentially and we are all reliant on it. As we collect more and more data there is an ever increasing need to protect it. Protecting data is not easy when you consider that you need to account for all known and unknown threats (including accidental misuse), to the data you hold. There is nothing that will topple a business faster than data ‘going rogue’ after it’s not been protected.
With rules and regulations around the world trying to keep up with all the different ways that data is captured, stored and used, it’s all too easy to overlook something. Fortunately, Regulations tend to be binary, and are not that interested in whether a company forgot to test, didn’t think to test, or ignored testing.
Data Portability protects Clients and helps organisations. Clients should be able to move to another service provider without hindrance and without losing their personal data. This helps ensure companies don’t use ‘underhand’ techniques to make moving difficult. If you offer a better service, Clients should easily be able to move their business to you.
However, the Data Portability section of regulations are also about the ‘Right to have Data Corrected’ and the ‘Right to be Forgotten’.
In another post we looked at the three fundamental uses for Document Automation. At least two of these involve Client data which means an organisation using Document Automation for these purposes should be confident they have data management tools that support Data Portability, the ‘Right to Rectification’, and the ‘Right to Erasure’ – a good Document Automation solution should contain these tools.
If they haven’t already, your Clients will soon ask you to evidence your obligations towards protecting their data. Procurement documents make it too easy for a simple, “of course we comply with local data regulations”, copy and paste answer. Being able to evidence your adherence might help you stand out from the competition. It may also save your business.
It’s worth revisiting my earlier comment – it’s not enough to claim ignorance. You should always be confident your chosen Document Automation platform has these tools and they work. The easiest path to validate the functionality is to ask the solution vendor to demonstrate it to you.
If they can’t or won’t evidence basic data management and adherence to globally recognised standards, you must ask; what other corners are being ’rounded off’, and what other standards are being ignored?
In our testing of Document Automation platforms, we always look to validate these abilities. While it would be reasonable to assume that all Document Automation solutions would have such a fundamental capability, the reality is we’ve discovered some don’t, and as a result we can’t recommend them.
If you already have Document Automation, when did you last check the platform supported your compliance? If you’re looking at adopting Document Automation, make sure that critical question is at the top of your list.
Compliance Regulations have been with us for what seems like an eternity, changing a little and impacting a lot.
Who would have thought one of the most impactful changes would be COVID-19, and the way we have to work not within the regulations, but around archaic processes.
Regulations such as ISO, GDPR and SOC 2 have not changed in the COVID-19 era – what they have done is make us all more acutely aware of our processes, processing arrangements, what is necessary and what is not.
One area in particular the current climate has seen an increase in, is the use of Electronic Signatures, or ‘eSignatures’.
Now that everyone is trying to conduct business in the cloud and with physical signatures being (almost near) impossible to enforce, the use of the eSignature has come into its own – although banks still use faxes like it’s the 1980’s!
With travel restrictions unlikely to be lifted any time soon, businesses and individuals need to adapt and find alternative means of signing documents and contracts – those companies also need to ensure their employees are able to access signature documents remotely.
The legal sector is one industry that has seen a significant increase in the use of e-signatures, with remote contract signings becoming a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have”. Many law firms have updated their policies around eSignatures, however, using an electronic signature does depend on any relevant legislation, regulatory requirements within the specific practice area, and the type of document being signed or executed.
Organisations such as The Law Society have laid out their position around eSignatures, and the Law Society of Scotland has recently published a guide on the use of electronic signatures.
Pre COVD-19, most businesses had a credible plan, but like Mike Tyson said, ‘everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’. I wouldn’t like to argue with Tyson (this is true in so many ways!), plans are only as good as their test, and COVID-19 has tested us all in many different ways-
- How we were conditioned to work at a set location,
- handling paperwork
- requiring clients to be in person evidencing who they are
- witnessing their signature
- filling the paperwork and
- sending receipts by carrier pigeon?!
Additional practical considerations such as, not all documents can be signed electronically, and witnessing the signing of a document – given that a witness may not be able to be in the room physically, is it enough to witness it over a video link? are things that still need to be taken into consideration.
We are all creatures of habit and have been forced to make some radical life and business altering decisions during this current climate.
Like many businesses, we have seen an increase in the use of Document Automation Solutions – the solution of choice before COVID-19 may not be the one that you are thinking about now.
If you would like a no obligation assessment of your post COVID-19 operational needs for Document Automation, please get in touch with us today.
When document automation first came on the scene back in the early 1990s, the attraction was having the merge-field capabilities of your word processor, but on steroids. You could complete an interview, populate the document with your answers, and even save those answers to use with another document template. This process provided you with a template that remained consistent, compliant, and error-free. Because the template, provided with new or saved answers, could be assembled multiple times, you saved time in many ways and produced perfect, or nearly perfect, documents. But what was the missing connection of this focus on the template proper and its assembly through user-driven interviews?