Archive: October, 2009
“In many organizations, up to 25% of sales time is spent on contract-related issues,” states Tim Cummins on his blog Commitment Matters. Tim is president of the IACCM, a non-profit organization that’s become the global forum for innovation in trading relationships and practices.
This is astounding. As we emerge from a very deep recession (knock on wood as GDP came out positive this week), organizations around the world are struggling to do more with less and to close sales more quickly. How do you do this when 25% less time is spent selling or prospecting?
Noted document assembly expert, Seth Rowland, has written a beginner’s guide to Document Assembly that does a good job of explaining how document assembly software works.
Document Assembly goes by many different names, depending on the related job function and industry. It can be called document automation, document generation, contract automation, policy configuration, loan documentation, document creation and many more. For simplicity, we’ll stick with document assembly here.
Recently, Seth reviewed Exari Document Assembly Software in the TechnoFeature Newsletter. Below are some excerpts:
- In evaluating a document assembly system, one must look at what the user sees when he or she launches the document assembly interview. If the user’s experience is “pleasant”; if the user can easily navigate the questions; if the user is guided to make the correct choices; and if the user can easily review and change his or her answers, then you can say that the system succeeds. The Exari interview shines in each of these areas.
- At the end of the interview, Exari presents you with several optional outputs including Word and PDF. The most interesting option is a document preview. You can see the document with variables and optional text indicated…Exari adds a further output option that is unique in the document assembly industry. Called the Exari RoundTrip, it produces a Word document that can be negotiated and edited.
- Exari has just about every feature you could imagine for a document assembly system. Variables and various other components, just like documents, are stored as XML objects. Exari has variables, conditions, repeats, calculations, conditional expressions, multiple choice questions, and user text questions. To the standard list, Exari adds smart phrases, blocks of text that are reusable in the template and may or may not contain conditions, variables, and logic.
- Exari includes several other components that round it out as a robust and powerful programming language.
- Clearly, you’ll need to conduct a return on investment analysis. Look at the number of users who will use the system, the number of documents they will assemble, the location of the users, and the level of expertise among the users regarding the documents. In the proper setting, Exari will pay for itself in under three months after full production.
You can read the complete review here. And please, let us know what you call Document Assembly below in the comments.
Well known legal department consultant, Rees Morrison, reminds us of the four key challenges contract management poses for in-house lawyers:
- Standardizing and simplifying contract drafting.
- Setting policies regarding legal department review of contracts.
- Streamlining contract negotiation.
- Facilitating the company’s adherence to its contractual obligations.
It’s one thing for us to say that we can help you improve your business. It’s entirely different for you to hear it from someone who has already succeeded in making their own business more profitable.
Les Doel, a manager at London-based Lloyd’s broker, Croton Stokes Wilson Ltd., recently spoke with KM World Magazine about his experience with document automation.
Here’s Justin’s latest post from CIO.com. You can read it here or check it out along with those from other thought leaders over at CIO.
Many business processes have been streamlined through automation but the production of documents and documentation often seems to be neglected.
We’re all aware of the benefits of automation. Our network monitoring, backups, integrity and heath checks, spam filtering, intrusion detection, software builds and unit tests are all largely automated. One area that often seems to be left out in the cold is the automation of documents and documentation.
Do you work in a large company or law firm? If so, be sure to download the webinar recording on how Dow Jones and DLA Piper have benefited (in quite different ways) by automating the sales contracting process.