Eight steps to success when designing document-centric workflows in financial institutions

Johannesburg – August 17, 2016 – For financial institutions looking to automate common business processes, there are two major technology choices to be made: A Business Process Management system (BPMs) and a document assembly platform. The BPM handles data routing, rights management, stage approvals, credit checks, etc., while the document assembly platform handles data-gathering and document production. Because workflow requirements across banks—even across lines of business within a bank—vary so dramatically, it’s difficult to offer advice on overall workflow design. However, the document assembly requirements of workflows within banks tend to be more standardised. Continue reading

How a global bank revolutionised its lending business with process automation

Johannesburg – August 17, 2016 – A global bank headquartered in Western Europe began automating its lending business in the mid-1990s. In the beginning, it focused on one aspect of the overall process—generating loan contracts and collateral documentation. The bank first deployed a DOS-based system, but by the year 2000, had upgraded to the industry-leading HotDocs. In stages over the next several years, the bank made HotDocs available to 9,000 global customer representatives as a web application. Continue reading

Six Steps for Law Firms to Flourish in a Price-Driven Market

Johannesburg – June 22, 2016 – For years, small law firms have faced the commoditisation of legal services.  Quasi-legal companies have bombarded primetime television with advertisements aimed at convincing consumers that just any old document will do, so long as it’s cheap. Operating in an inelastic market for legal documents (just because wills are going for $99 doesn’t mean consumers will buy more wills), small law firms have taken it on the chin, leaving many to scramble for additional sources of income.

Doing More with Less

The best answer for organisations looking to trim costs while maintaining quality, in many cases, is business process automation—transforming common, repetitive processes into automated workflows.  For law firms large and small, as well as in-house counsel, the best type of process automation is often document automation, which predictably yields tremendous ROI, both in terms of time and money savings but, paradoxically, also in terms of better work product.  Put another way, you’ll be able to generate transactional legal documents faster, cheaper, and with fewer mistakes stemming from human error.

As you embark on a document automation project, here are six steps to success that you should keep in mind.

  1. Leverage the Expertise of Senior Partners

When people hear the term document assembly, they may immediately think template, a light weight approach for generating simple documents, such as firm correspondence—a few variables, some simple business logic, a little quicker and a little better than doing it by hand.  Contrast this with templates designed to generate complex, transactional legal documents.  In this context, a template could be a word processing document or PDF form having potentially thousands of variables and uber-sophisticated business logic.  Templates are the domain of elite document automation systems, and here’s the important part: because such elite systems are capable of handling any level of complexity, you can actually build the expertise of your most experienced practitioners right into the template business logic.  You then design a custom interview—a wizard-like sequence of data-gathering forms—that walks junior staff carefully through the process of generating the same document that a senior lawyer would generate.  This approach is faster, less expensive and, ultimately, less prone to human error.  In a price-driven market, where you simply have to do more with less, leveraging the experience of senior practitioners may be more than a technological luxury; it could be a tenet of solvency.

  1. Let Your Clients Enter Their Own Case Information

In a price-driven market, it just makes sense to eliminate unnecessary steps, such as interviewing a client in person or over the phone in situations where it may not be necessary.  Elite document automation systems attack the problem by enabling you to design interviews so that your clients can enter much of the information themselves, right into a web browser.  Not only will this approach minimise your expense, but it will generally result in better documents. (A client is less likely to misspell his/her own name than your own staff might be.)  For example, with HotDocs, a Gartner best-of-breed document generation system, you can enable clients to fill out their own interviews one of two ways: (1) by emailing a link to the interview to the client, complete with login credentials; or (2) by embedding the interview into your firm’s own website, protected, of course, by a login procedure.  Again, this approach is likely faster and less expensive than however you’re interviewing clients now and it generally yields higher quality documents.

  1. Codify Best Practices

There are right ways and wrong ways to complete hundreds of different processes within your firm.  Doing things the right way saves time and money, while doing things the wrong way . . . well, costs time and money.  The key is to codify best practices by building them into your automated workflows, especially best practices for generating legally binding documents.  With enterprise-grade document automation systems, you can build best practice for generating a document right into an interview, providing guidelines and safeguards to users on a field-by-field basis. Using this approach, you can ensure that staff members follow internal policies and guidelines to the letter of the law.

  1. Mitigate risk

Generating and executing complex legal documents is risky enough under the best of circumstances—even with your best, brightest and most skilled staff calling the shots.  But if you’re faced with scaling back, you could, by necessity, end up relying on less experienced, less skilled staff members. As was explained in the previous steps, you can minimise the risk of human error compromising the integrity of an important legal document by building the experience of your best practitioners into the business logic of the underlying template and then ensuring staff members follow best practice as they enter transactional data into the interview.  Using your old approach, metadata from a past case or transaction can make its way into a circulated, executed document.  With HotDocs, only designated personnel can edit templates.  This approach keeps documents from degrading over time and insures that each new transaction results in fresh, clean documents, without any hidden metadata traps that can come back to haunt you.

  1. Shoot for Transaction Ready

Obviously, not all legal documents are highly structured and rule-based. Some documents are custom negotiated, top to bottom, with a little boiler plate scattered throughout.  With such documents, a template may be used to generate a good first draft, which will save some time, etc.  But other types of documents—estate planning or corporate formations, for example—may lend themselves to complete automation.  Again, you’ll need an elite system and the oversight of your best practitioners, but in the end, you’ll get the highest quality documents at a tiny fraction of the overall expense of doing it the old way and you’ll get them right off the printer, ready to negotiate.  Sound naïve? Well, it’s a practice that the largest enterprises in the world— banks, insurance companies, government agencies, corporate counsel, etc.—have been engaging in millions of times a day for decades.

  1. Speed up Document Production

Document automation, when done the right way (see the above five steps) isn’t just a little faster and a little less expensive than an old-school, search-and-replace, cut-and paste approach.  It’s radically faster and dramatically less expensive. One of the world’s largest banks trimmed its loan origination process, including the generation of all collateral documentation, from three days to under an hour.  A sprawling government agency that regularly produces an ultra-complex contract involving multiple government agencies, contractors, sub-contractors, and materials providers slashed the contract-generation process from three months to half of a day.

How to Eliminate Risk from Human Error in Legal Documents

Johannesburg – June 22, 2016 – In many industries, efficiency is the key value proposition of business process automation.  But for law firms and in-house legal departments, risk mitigation may be a bigger selling point—codifying mission-critical processes so every knowledge worker across the firm follows a structured procedure designed to minimise human error and ensure compliance with internal policies and external regulations.

Automated Document Assembly Is Key

For many organisations, especially law firms and corporate legal departments, the most important business process of all is document creation, a subset of the greater process automation movement.  Document automation systems, such as HotDocs, enable practitioners to transform existing legal documents into templates that generate transactional versions of the underlying documents.  Using HotDocs, a domain expert can transform virtually any kind of structured, rule-based legal document—a contract, will, trust, NDA, etc.—into a template.

Risk Mitigation via HotDocs

Regardless of the tremendous efficiency improvement document automation offers (HotDocs customers report up to a 90+% reduction in time and labour required to produce transaction-ready legal documents), perhaps the most compelling reason to automate the generation of your legal documents is risk mitigation.  Simply put, document automation systems yield higher quality documents than the old cut-and-paste, search-and replace methodology. And better documents mean less risk.

How a HotDocs Template Works

In use, a HotDocs template gathers all the information necessary to generate a document or set of documents using a sequence of interactive data gathering forms, called an interview.  It’s the interview that mitigates risk in the document automation process by minimising human error, enforcing compliance and codifying best practice for staff members.  Answers for an interview can come from multiple data sources or can be keyed in manually.  Individual fields can be validated for range, thus ensuring that answers fall within prescribed limits.  To further assist system users, help resources can be designed to provide field-specific guidance, all in an effort to produce perfect, transactional legal documents.  Once an interview is complete, generating the documents is push-button easy.  Once generated, the documents can be profiled into a document management system or routed through a workflow for stage approval.  This key feature—your organisation’s ability to integrate HotDocs interviews into existing workflows – further reduces the incidences of human error making its way into executed, legally binding documents.

Who Uses HotDocs?

To date, 80% of the Am Law 200 and 16 of the top 30 UK law firms, not to mention thousands of small-to-medium-sized law firms and corporate legal departments across the world, use HotDocs document automation software across a wide range of practice areas.  HotDocs templates might be used to generate simple documents, having just a few variables, or highly complex documents, having hundreds of variables, intricate business logic controlling the inclusion/exclusion of language blocks and sophisticated signature blocks, requiring nested, repeating business logic.

Use Case: Legal Department in Corporate Services Firm

A corporate services provider had a difficult problem stemming from its lack of control over its contract generation procedures.  When putting together a deal with a new customer, the company’s independent sales reps would often choose an out-of-date document or, in some cases, choose the wrong document altogether.  Furthermore, the company found that its sales reps, which were distributed nationally, were making unauthorised edits to contracts in order to win business.  As one company representative pointed out, the practice was “great” for top line revenue but “devastating for contract control.”  To solve the problem, the company deployed a sophisticated HotDocs template. The application’s interview forces sales reps to comply with the company’s own contracting policies.  As a company representative put it, the interview was designed in such a way that it left “no margin for error.”  In addition to solving the company’s internal compliance problem, HotDocs provided several additional advantages.  Training sales staff on the automated contracting process is quick and easy, and generating new contracts as transactions occur is much more efficient and virtually risk free.

Use Case: Legal Department in Global Bank

One of the world’s largest banks has integrated HotDocs into a sophisticated loan origination workflow that leads relationship managers through the complex data-gathering interview for its commercial lending business.  The system, which is largely built on HotDocs, reduces the time it takes to generate a commercial loan from three days to under an hour, enables the loan committee to quickly review data sets (rather than wade through lengthy, written explanations by relationship managers) and enforces compliance to internal and external regulations in thousands of branch offices around the globe.  Beyond reducing human error and enforcing compliance, the system is also designed to reduce fraud, especially in regard to collusion between relationship managers and customers.  The system, which utilises a proprietary BPM (Business Process Management) system, imposes strict data entry/editing rights management to prevent modification of terms after initial data submission and subsequent approval by the loan committee.  For an enterprise with thousands of loan officers generating millions of loans worth billions of pounds, gaining control of the lending process with HotDocs has yielded dramatic results.  Collusion cases have all but disappeared, the percentage of bad loans has gone down, and legal circumstances resulting from human error have decreased. The net is less risk and greater profit.

Summary

In today’s litigious environment, risk abounds in a variety of places.  For many types of risk, the best prevention is process automation.  The good news for organisations experiencing risk stemming from legal documentation, there’s a tried and proven solution.  HotDocs is the long time global leader in document automation technology and whatever your document generation risk may be, there’s a very good chance HotDocs can help.

HotDocs announces partnership with Intuate Group

HotDocs, the global leader in document automation software, today announced its partnership with Intuate Group, a privately owned ICT company that focuses on providing integrated technology and people resource solutions for the South African and African markets.

This new partnership and distribution agreement will provide Intuate Group’s clients with HotDocs’ industry leading document automation software, enabling enhanced compliance, minimised risk and operational efficiency in the production of business-critical documentation.

Steve Spratt, SVP & General Manager of HotDocs International, said:  “Adding Intuate Group as a partner is an important step in our international growth strategy.  Intuate Group has an excellent track record of bringing world leading solutions into the South African market and the combination of working with a well-respected distributor such as Intuate Group, coupled with some exciting HotDocs product launches scheduled in the coming months, will allow us to deliver our on premise and cloud solutions effectively across Africa.  The addition of HotDocs to the Intuate Group product portfolio complements and enhances the suite of enterprise solutions that they currently provide.”

Nicolette de Wit, CEO at Intuate Group, concluded:  “By partnering with HotDocs, our customers will have access to the world’s leading document automation solution.  The market in South Africa prefers solutions that are best-of-breed, and adding HotDocs to our product portfolio allows us to fulfil this requirement, while further proving our commitment to equipping our clients with the best value-adding technology and solutions available.”

About HotDocs

HotDocs is the market leading provider of document automation software, with customers in 42 different countries and a user-base, globally, that exceeds one million.  Document automation, or document assembly, allows a vast reduction in time spent in the production of high volume, repeat documentation such as contracts, agreements and other legal paperwork.

Widely used within the legal, banking, insurance, public and corporate sectors, HotDocs software also increases accuracy, reduces cost/risk and improves efficiency in the generation of complex, or simple, repeat documentation.  The software is available on premise, on desktop or via the cloud and can operate in a standalone capacity or as part of a wider business process management system, such as workflow, document management or case management systems.

 

Customer experience leaders can fuel customer loyalty through adopting insight-led and swift innovation in technology

By Nicolette de Wit, CEO of Intuate Group 

JOHANNESBURG – May, 06 2016 – Innovation in customer experience (CX) is – and should be – a top priority for business and technology leaders in 2016.  No matter the nature of your business, improving the brand experience for your customers through innovative technology is crucial to escalate sales, reduce employee and customer agitation, as well as to increase customer loyalty.  Companies can now use advanced information technology, data gathering and analytics to study and further understand their customers, enabling execution of a customer centric approach.

Organisations need to be customer centric to thrive in a very competitive economic environment.  Now, more than ever before it is imperative for organisations to speak to their clients in a language that they understand, and communicate using the channels that they prefer.  A customer expects service via their channel of preference, and if that channel changes during the journey, the service should remain flawless.  The South African market is quickly realising the absolute power that the customer holds and if organisations do not transition and cater for these requirements, it may lead to their demise.  Information holds the power, and it will no longer suffice to send a personalised message to a customer, but rather a message that takes into account the customer’s personal needs and interests.  Therefore, we will see additional emphasis being placed on customer data gathering. Continue reading

Strategic workforce management: the art of managing talent in a contact centre

JOHANNESBURG – April 07, 2016 – Mastering the art of workforce management (WFM) within the contact centre environment takes a combination of having the right number of skilled people and supporting resources in the right place at the right time, with the right tools to meet the desired service levels for an accurately forecasted workload. Although not easy, strategic workforce management at its most basic entails knowing where the talent resides, and how to allocate and flex that talent according to business demands. At its most complex, it involves great data, executive stakeholders and most importantly – bravery.

Both current and prospective employees should form part of a company’s strategic workforce mix, meaning that organisational cooperation and input from key areas such as HR, finance, legal, purchasing and ultimately ownership of workforce management technology is required when implementing strategic workforce management. Keeping the balance in WFM is a challenge, however it is a key exercise. Agents should be busy and optimise in efficiency; keeping the time callers have to wait to an acceptable minimum and achieving maximum Right Party Contact (RPC). Continue reading

Document assembly software needed by financial institutions to drive efficiency and increase profitability

JOHANNESBURG – March 9, 2016 – In 2012, a survey conducted by global provider of market intelligence, International Data Corporation (IDC) found that information workers wasted a significant amount of time each week dealing with a variety of challenges related to working with documents.

The study estimated that this wasted time cost companies an astounding $19,000 (over R300,000) per information worker per year, and also amounted to a loss of 21.3 percent in an organisation’s total productivity.  For a business with more than 1,000 employees, the IDC observed that these costs amounted to the equivalent of hiring 213 new employees. Continue reading

Customer loyalty – no longer a given, but can still be achieved

JOHANNESBURG – February 09, 2016 – We are living in the age of the customer, where poor customer service can cause a business’ reputation to dwindle faster than ever before – especially given the popularity of using social media to post about any dissatisfaction experienced with a brand.

However, it is something that can be managed and even taken advantage of; the companies that are focusing on the customer, as both the centre of their operational strategy and as a critical success factor to bolster the bottom line, will reap great rewards and attain their goals.

“It is the customer who determines the success or failure of a business operating today,” says Nicolette de Wit, CEO at South African owned integrated solutions specialist, Intuate Group.  She adds that businesses must also realise that this “customer-centric world” is moving ahead at a great pace – in parallel with digital innovation.  “Businesses can certainly not procrastinate on the issue any longer.  They need to move with both speed and agility, and embrace new technology and customer tools immediately.”  Continue reading

Intuate Group to offer precision recruitment solutions

JOHANNESBURG – September 30, 2015 – South African owned integrated solutions specialist, Intuate Group announces a new solution for workforce optimisation and precision recruitment, enabling users to “precision recruit” new employees and develop new and current employees optimally for that specific environment.

“Managing a workforce is amongst the top three most challenging areas in business today.  And research has shown that success in this area can be achieved by matching the experience and abilities of an individual with the task or job at hand in a given context or environment,” explains Nicolette de Wit, CEO of Intuate Group.

She continues: “Recruiting people for a specific job in a company has important implications for both the employer and employee.  It is always good to be reminded of the fact that the employment cost is, for the vast majority of companies and even government, the highest single expense to be carried – people are expensive resources.  Replacing people who have left the business with new recruits is even more costly. Recruitment costs, training costs and the initial phase of less productive outcomes from new recruits inflate the cost to company.  The recruitment function in a business is the most critical capability for ensuring a successful and sustainable future for that business.

“Through our new offering users can now create a benchmark profile of top performers’ behavioural habits, which are then matched to the habits of potential or current employees.”

According to de Wit, Intuate Group wanted to provide a recruitment solution that offered both quantifiable and qualitative benefits to clients, including:

  • Making accurate placements;
  • Reducing staff turnover;
  • Decreasing training time;
  • Developing staff towards top performance;
  • Empowering managers;
  • Creating optimal teams;
  • Scientific succession planning;
  • Better employee development;
  • Fully understanding relationships; and
  • Understanding poor performers.

“This fully automated, internet based service has been deployed successfully in small to very large enterprises, and is easily managed by just a few responsible resources within the organisation.  It will help any company to rapidly optimise their workforce by moving and placing the right people in the right positions, as well as to grow their current pool of top performers on a continuous basis,” explains De Wit.

But, it is not all about the benefit to organisations.  In fact, one of the most important decisions an individual can take is what he/she will do with his/her life in terms of a career.  People that are happy in what they do are much more successful than those who are unhappy.  By knowing themselves better, individuals will be more successful, improve their relationships and identify their development areas – all benefits which cannot be overestimated.

“Investing in a system which will keep a database of the behavioural habits of all employees within the organisation will enable you to optimally place, manage, develop and retain your workforce, which results in a more successful business.  This system makes it possible to place the right person in the right position by matching the key habits and behaviours of any candidate to that of the top performers in a specific job, at a specific location.  We are delighted to be offering this service to our clients,” concludes De Wit.

About Intuate Group

Intuate Group is a privately owned, broad based IT company that focuses on providing professional, integrated technology and people resources solutions.  Its services encompass the provision of state-of-the-art contact centre solutions, customer experience management solutions that enable a 360 degree view of the customer, supply and implementation of best-of-breed IT solutions, as well as IT strategy and consulting. The company is also a partner of choice for business intelligence, project management, the management and support of IT infrastructure – specifically storage and server consolidation – and the provision of resources.

For more information, please visit www.intuategroup.com.

CONTACTS:

Intuate Group: Tanica van Ad, 011 302-1200, tanicav@intuategroup.com

icomm: Debbie Sielemann, +27 (0)82 414 4633, Debbie@pr.co.za, www.icomm-pr.co.za