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How to choose the right document automation software?

17-08-2021

Document automation software allow users to create documents from automated templates quickly and easily. Lawyers, notaries, consultants and others who produce a large number of documents can standardize their templates and make them available to colleagues whose job is to turn them into final documents. Thanks to the software, this process is easy and reduces room for errors. The user creates a final document by answering questions and selecting relevant options in line with the automated instructions. The answers and selected options are immediately implemented into a document that is being drafted. The document adapts to the chosen option, so that clauses irrelevant to the chosen option no longer appear in the document. Lawyers, notaries, banks, insurance companies and other business entities that do mass production of documents as part of their business, can also share their automated templates with clients who can use them to produce final documents themselves.

Document automation technology is rapidly growing. When choosing the right software, the potential user should respond to the following questions:

Does the software operate as a web app or is it possible to use it in Word as well? Majority of software that operate in the web environment only, do not support automation of complex templates containing sophisticated drafting solutions such as elective and alternative clauses, multiple choice, repeat functions etc. Furthermore, Word environment is familiar to the majority of potential document automation users who get an entire spectrum of Word functionalities which cannot be easily replicated in web. Software that is not only web-based but also available as a Word app is therefore more advantageous.

Does the software protect user's privacy? Creating legal documents implies input of sensitive personal and business data. It is thus necessary to check if the software complies with strict security standards and if it allows a user to keep data on a local sever or personal computer only. Ideally, software should offer both options: cloud and local storage.

Important question for lawyers, notaries, consultants, financial institutions, and similar entities is whether the software allows them to share templates with their clients. Initially, document automation software mainly served the purpose of speeding up document production within an organization. New document automation solutions, however, empower users to offer automated templates to clients. Nevertheless, a minority of such software solutions provide infrastructure necessary for creation of an online client service. This infrastructure includes advanced licensing system, highly protected environment for storage of clients' documents and fine tuning of software functionalities in accordance with clients' expectations.  

The bottom line is that a potential user needs to thoroughly analyse its organizational procedures and capacities, the quality of its existing templates, its business plan and commercial needs, as well as technical equipedness, before getting on a quest for the most suitable document automation software. 

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