Last week, Bram and I hosted two very enjoyable roundtables at The Lawyer’s In-House Counsel as Business Partner conference.

Participants fell into two camps; those who have implemented document automation who to make the most of it and those who are thinking about kicking off a document automation project. This made for a very complementary discussion.

Key insights included:

The hardest part of implementing document automation is often not the technology itself but change management. Potential users need to be on board from the beginning as not only are they integral to providing insight into the current process but they will need to feel comfortable that the new process is going to add value to their individual roles.

The most overlooked benefit of document automation is the data analytics element. Aside from audit and compliance benefits, capturing data allows legal teams to provide commercial insights to their business colleagues. For example, data captured within sales documents.

It’s critically important to future proof any solution you implement. You may not know what your future technology stack or processes will look like, but you can mitigate potential blockers to syncing technology by ensuring your solution has as many integrations as possible and APIs are feasible.

Cloud based technology can be daunting but is very beneficial as it allows you to seamlessly adopt version updates which ensures you always have access to the latest and greatest features.

Two of the key overlooked functions which you should look for in your solution include loops and tables/look-ups. The former allows you to easily include as many parties and variables as you want within your questionnaires and the latter allows you to link data. For example, a user can write ‘20’ which is then automatically translated to ‘twenty’ within documents.

If you are thinking about embarking on a document automation project we would love to discuss so please get in touch. In the meantime, here is some bedtime reading:

Which documents should be automated? - You’ve purchased a document automation tool but don’t know where to start? From our experience, the below are the most popular documents we see being automated: Corporate: by far the most popular practice area, with Share Purchase Agreements and... Read more

5 features your document automation solution needs - Choosing a document automation solution can be a challenge in itself. The number of offerings out there has significantly increased over the last few years. With that in mind, not all solutions are created equal. Here are 5 features your solution... Read more 

How to automate documents - Part 1: Introduction - There are numerous articles on the merits of automating documents and so for this series I wanted to focus on how you make that a reality. As a lawyer turned document automation specialist and a keen problem solver I’ve tried a whole host of... Read more 

How to automate documents - Part 2: Preparation - Welcome back to this series looking at the process of automating documents. Check out my previous post (available here) if you missed it. This post will focus on the first step to automating documents - preparation. It is crucial to do the ground... Read more

How to automate documents - Part 3: Scoping - Welcome back to this series looking at how to automate documents. In case you missed them, check out my previous posts setting the scene and on preparation. This week I’m focusing on scoping - for me the most important step in the process. Good... Read more

How to automate documents - Part 4: Development - Welcome back to this series of articles looking at document automation. If you haven’t seen them, please do take a look at my previous posts below which set the scene and discuss preparation and scoping. This week we are focusing on development... Read more

Follow Clifford Chance Applied Solutions on LinkedIn for the next installment of the ‘How to automate documents’ series.