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.
The million-dollar question…in fact…before I answer it…what exactly is a Document Automation consultant?
I promise this blog post will not be a sales pitch for DocGovern by the way, as, we are (surprise surprise), Document Automation consultants!
Let me start off by clarifying exactly what I mean by this…We provide consultancy services to a wide range of clients across a variety of industry sectors. The services we deliver are focused around Document Automation and of the clients we work with, some are already using Document Automation technology, whilst others are considering it.
For those clients using a Document Automation solution, the type of consultancy service we provide ranges from our on-demand service for general needs, a migration service, as some of our clients are moving from their current Document Automation vendor to another, or our template development service, which provides exactly what it says on the tin. Those clients who don’t use Document Automation technology tend to start with our solution selection service before moving on to any number of the aforementioned.
Okay, slight sales pitch in above, fair enough, although I didn’t go into the benefits of all these services…😉
So now you know the type of services a Document Automation consultant can provide, getting back to the title of the blog post, why do you need one?
Company ‘A’ already has a Document Automation solution. They feel they’re not getting the most out of it and it’s no longer meeting their needs, but they don’t really know what to do. They know there are many Document Automation vendors in the marketplace, but if they move, they’re worried that all the data and templates they have in their system will be lost, or it will be too difficult to ‘re-learn’ another platform.
Company ‘B’ is also using a platform which doesn’t meet their needs. They want to maintain their existing licenses for the solution, including their template database and data files, but they don’t know what their options are.
Company ‘C’ has heard of Document Automation and they’ve looked at a few solutions already, but are baffled by the huge array of vendors out there and really need advice about what solution(s) they should consider for their specific business needs, in order to justify the ROI from the technology.
Company ‘D’ needs templates created quickly but doesn’t have the time to do it in-house and equally, can’t and doesn’t, want to spend a lot of money outsourcing the work.
All these scenarios are ones we have encountered, because a Document Automation consultancy company can help with all of this and more.
When it comes to looking at the Document Automation solution marketplace and assessing it extensively, a consultancy company has the benefit, (luxury?) of being objective in its approach. With over 250 Document Automation solutions in the marketplace, companies don’t have the time to review the features and benefits of each one, let alone negotiate a good deal on pricing, so why not let a Document Automation consultancy company do the hard work – here’s our process.
A good Document Automation consultancy company works with the client to understand their business and specific use case. If the client decides they want to implement Document Automation technology, the consultancy company can build and agree on bespoke pricing and licensing structures, which are unavailable via other channels.
Document Automation consultants are experts in their field, (FYI, our Founders have over 100 years’ experience in the Document Automation sector), so dependent on your requirements, you can be sure you are in good hands when it comes to solution selection, migration projects or a support service.
Developing templates cost effectively, quickly, and efficiently is also something a Document Automation consultancy company can help you with. Having an experienced template development team to do this is crucial, be it on an ad-hoc or more cost-effective subscription basis.
If you’ve read this far, I’m hoping I’ve helped you consider the value of a Document Automation consultancy company, but you might still be thinking…
But isn’t Document Automation just for law firms….
Absolutely not, and I realise I may be going slightly ‘off piste’ here, but thought it was an important point to include.
Many non-legal businesses think Document Automation isn’t applicable to them.
A company of any size, (be it an SMB to global organisations) in any industry that utilise data and documentation and who have to meet regulatory and compliance responsibilities, can benefit from an effective Document Automation solution.
The benefits of implementing Document Automation across a company is something which I won’t go into here, however, feel free to browse our Resources for more info on this.
Hopefully this blog post has answered the question, ‘Why do I need a Document Automation consultant?’ and apologies for not adding in a disclaimer earlier to let you know a ‘few’ hyperlinks to certain webpages would be included within the content. After all, there’s no way I could write a blog post on this subject without a ‘tiny’ sales pitch about us 😉
Get in touch with DocGovern today. We can make Document Automation work for you.
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.
You may have found this article because either a) you were searching for an old Woody Allen movie and made an unfortunate error, or b) you’re looking to ensure your organisation is as effective as possible and you want to know more about this thing called ‘Document Automation’.
I’ll focus my efforts in addressing the audience for “b” – I’ll be extra helpful and suggest those looking for “a” should go here. All the B’s still here? Great!
Before we look at what Document Automation is and how it can be useful, we should clarify what it isn’t, as it’s often confused. Document Automation is about the creation of documents. It’s not about what you do with them – that’s Document Management. It’s also not about who will use the documents – that’s Document Workflow. Finally, it’s not about negotiating, that’s known as Lifecycle Management. The good news is, an effective Document Automation tool can and should work in partnership with all the aforementioned. As your organisational needs grow, so should your Document Automation support these additional requirements.
So, Document Automation – How do you know if you could benefit from it?
Quick quiz, answer the following questions:
- Do you work in an industry or vertical that has a high level of compliance? E.g. GDPR, SOX, HIPAA, FOIA, BSI etc.
- Could the contents of your documents cause impact to your organisation if they contained errors? E.g. Contracts, calculations, clauses, personally identifiable information etc.
- Do you have a high volume of repeatable documents?
- Do you have a dispersed workforce that need to access the same content?
- Does your team/organisation require to collaborate regularly on documents?
- Do you spend a significant amount of time drafting and creating any form of document? Don’t just think of Word documents – what about spreadsheets, presentations, emails?
- Do any of the documents you create have a significant potential value? E.g. Sales quotes, proposals, contracts.
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then there is a good chance that a Document Automation solution could be of benefit to you.
But what I’m doing just now is what we’ve always done…
While the team here at DocGovern can wax lyrical about why almost any organisation can benefit from a good Document Automation solution, the reality is that many are persevering with what are effectively workarounds. Do any of the following sound familiar to you?
- Using ‘Find and Replace’ in your trusty old document.
- Using colour schemes to highlight what variables should be changed each time a new version of the document is created.
- Renaming an old document and then manually picking through all the changes that are needed to make it the “new” document.
While these can work short term, they will invariably lead to disaster, leaving you open to the following threats:
- Typos. One mistyped letter can completely change the intent of a document.
- Omissions. What did you leave out that you really shouldn’t have?
- Inclusions. What did you leave in that you really, really shouldn’t have?
- Poor Presentation. Do you really want your quotation going out in Comic Sans because Pete in Sales thinks it’s “friendly”?
- Compliance. GDPR is just the start. You have a legal obligation to ensure your data is secure and used correctly.
- Time Waste. Multiple people working on a document, emailing it back and forth, checking it, correcting it. The pennies are quickly becoming pounds and adding up.
So now you know…
A good Document Automation solution can address all these threats. A great Document Automation solution can address the threats and much more, pushing and pulling data held within your other business systems to minimise risk and maximise the value of the information that you already own.
There are a significant number of Document Automation solutions in the market (over 250 at the last count), and you can be sure at least one of them will provide you with the specific functionality you need. The key to selecting the right one is ensuring you fully understand what your organisation needs today and tomorrow, and that the chosen solution is built in a way to not only support this, but offer additional ways in which you can increase your operational effectiveness.
Like to know more? Get in touch, we’d be happy to help.