The Document Automation Eco-System

The Document Automation eco-system is massive, bigger than I can fit on this graphic.

In fact, if you were to try to capture all the vendors, use cases, and interfaces with other eco-systems, the graphic would look more like the Shanghai Metro Map than the image above – and you would need a really big screen to view its details!

The most accessible and impactful Digital Transformation solution on the market is Document Automation, yet it’s almost unknown to many outside the legal profession. So, it’s akin to having a metro system under your feet, but not knowing it’s there. Right, so that’s the end of the metro analogies, and I promise not to add any puns!

So, what is Document Automation?

Simply put, it’s the ability to create documents in a standard approach; this approach will ensure your documents are free from errors of inclusion and exclusion, and all the calculations are performed in a standard way. Creating documents in this way will protect your corporate document standards, adhere to your best practices, and ensure you meet any regulatory guidance and legislation each time.

This is achieved using templates, interviews, and data. Each Document Automation solution out there uses its technology slightly different from another, but there is a common approach-

  1. Build a template and include all necessary business logic to accommodate the required use cases,
  2. Make this template available through an interview, such that your user can interact with conditional questions,
  3. Use known and existing data within your business or from third parties,
  4. Assemble the document and make available to the user; this might be via an e-signature solution, so that a third party can authorise your Statement of Work, agree to your Sales Proposal, or accept your job offer.

Document Automation can fulfil a multitude of use cases for almost any business in any sector.

Take a look at this Hub article which goes into more detail about how Document Automation works and how you could benefit from it.

The Document Automation Eco-System & The Sales Process

The diagram we created overlays Sales processes with Document Automation features and functions.

I won’t bamboozle you with Business Value Statements, instead I am going to give you a clear and honest appraisal of what a Document Automation solution can do for your Sales processes.

You may have a complex Sales model and even more complex set of SKUs that you can and cannot sell to a prospect – conditionality in the Document Automation solution, is your play book. It will ensure only agreed combinations of products can be sold in a manner consistent with your Sales model and minimum standards. More importantly, the play book will be adjusted over time to reflect your changing needs.

Each time you create a proposal, Document Automation will ensure the correct template, contracts, product descriptions and reference data, are made available to your team.

As a result, your management of each proposal is quicker and holds less risk. How many times have you heard from your Sales Team that creating proposals is the bane of their working lives? As a Sales Manager it’s not exactly fun reviewing each proposal for grammatical error, let alone a member of the Sales Team selling something they shouldn’t.

Sending a Sales Proposal to a client should not be a wasteful experience which starts and ends with the sending of an email with a PDF attachment. You have the opportunity to manage the experience through technology that allows comments and changes to be made online and in real-time.

There is nothing more frustrating than being on a group call with the prospect and legal representation pouring over a document with track changes and markups, when everyone is looking at a different version of the truth. Live negotiations are not a future deliverable, they are here today.

E-Signatures & Document Automation

E-signatures increase acceptance and the opportunity of a sale – it could be game changing for your business.

I can’t state this more simply – if you are using an e-signature solution, you have more control and a significantly higher probability of making the sale. Take a look at our other Hub e-signature resources.

Contrary to popular belief amongst many Sales people, the process does not stop with the contract, there are handovers, kick off meetings, invoices, order fulfilment, revenue recognition and commissions that all need to be delivered.

The days of sending a ‘hand grenade’ over to the fulfilment team are long gone. Clients do not like the experience, and they don’t see value from the efforts you have all put in. Document Automation allows the reuse of data, so why not start the fulfilment processes with the same content you have agreed with the Client.

In the modern world we live in today, so many things are bought on a subscription basis – a mobile phone contract, car, or property rental agreement. So why are so many companies missing renewals, forgetting to invoice, or invoicing for the wrong thing. Reusing data isn’t just about fulfilment but should include Accounts and Finance and loop back into Account Management.

Don’t Stop Evolving…

At this point I must apologise if you think that I am being negative…

There are a lot of firms that don’t make any of these mistakes. If you are one of them, I salute you.

My experience is that whilst I have been lucky enough to learn from the mistakes of others, I must be honest and confirm I have made a lot of mistakes.

Knowing where you can improve and learning from these mistakes is vital for survival. A colleague may be challenging your position due to the mistake(s) you made; you may even be even losing business to the competition as your business model cannot survive because you didn’t evolve.

Remember, continually evolving your business is more sustainable than trying to revolutionise!

Next Steps

Try our Hero Maker tool and create your own document showing exactly how Document Automation can help your company, in your specific industry sector, and within your chosen department(s) – A tailor-made business case!

If you would like to find out more about how your company could benefit from Document Automation, contact DocGovern today. Let Document Automation help you be the best, most productive and efficient business you can be.