The adoption of new technology requires rigorous and meticulous examination of vendors to find who can unlock the strongest return on investment, as well as training on how to use the newly procured technology. However, COVID-19 has made digital transformation an urgent business priority. According to McKinsey Digital, during the start of lockdown, businesses, on average, took eight weeks to adopt five years worth of digital transformation. Staggering!
So what’s the purpose of this week’s article? It’s to highlight how our forward-thinking clients have made the most of document automation during the pandemic, and by extension, how they’ve achieved superb ROI through using Avvoka. With the world now working from home, document automation software has jumped to the front of the essential technology queue. It’s become pivotal to the daily operations of innovative companies across multiple sectors; from banks needing to approve emergency loans, to pharmaceutical companies filling out information from potential trial participants for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Here’s a few elements of end-to-end document automation that have most empowered business during the pandemic:
- Live Document Collaboration
- Workflow Automation
- Clause Libraries
- Mass Document Generation
Below, we’ll go into more detail about some of these features and how we’ve seen them being used to excellent effect during the pandemic.
As we discussed last week, workflow automation tools have become an integral element of efficient post-pandemic corporate life. Workflow automation is the creation of a series of automated actions which replace manual processes, such as physically approaching your supervisor to sign off your work.
In our new way of working, you can’t just pop into your colleague’s office to get something approved. Instead your obvious alternative is now to email or call them. This can be a nightmare if they’re busy in back-to-back meetings, you’re on a deadline or if they have unconventional working hours. Due to this, unlocking the power of workflow automation has been a powerful solution for helping our clients to overcome this problem.
One of our biggest clients is a global juggernaut in the entertainment and media space. It has a vast global presence with one of its subsidiaries operating in 150 countries alone. We help their employees automate a variety of internal documents, such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and partnership agreements.
Avvoka’s workflow automation tool has helped employees to quickly secure document approvals from senior figures who can’t be accessed in person as they’re working from home, while making granting such approvals easier too. Moreover, workflow automation has made obtaining international approvals and global colleague input a seamless experience too.
For example, take the NDA. Since our client operates in several countries, their NDAs cover multiple jurisdictions. We helped our client add multiple approval workflows to their NDAs to reflect this reality. They have set their workflow up so that, depending upon which region is selected in the NDA questionnaire, the relevant approvers are automatically notified to check and approve the NDA. Our client loved this! It streamlined their international transactions, reduced email traffic for approvers and sped up our client’s ability to get programmes up and running in different countries.
Businesses love using clause libraries. Clause libraries let users store various provisions in a central folder, enabling them to add these to their templates whenever they are required. If the clause needs to be updated, instead of going into each template and manually changing the clause, all you need to do is amend the clause in the clause library.
Our SME clients use clause banks to store similar clauses with slightly varied wording (differentiated depending on the sector of the given deal counterparty, for example). Having these clauses at their fingertips saves them time when customising documents, which is a principal aim of document automation and legal/ops tech generally.
As with workflow automation, clause libraries have come into their own during COVID-19 as getting hold of internal colleagues to share bespoke wording for niche contracts has become more challenging. Instead of delaying the completion of these new contracts until they hear back from colleagues, employees have been using clause libraries to find and add the required custom, pre-approved clauses themselves.
One of our clients, an online travel agency, makes particularly extensive use of the clause library. Their website operates in over 30 languages, so it’s important for their documents to have multilingual capability. This client often negotiates contracts in one language but, due to the jurisdictions involved, some additional wording in another language is required.
Mass Document Generation
Corporate transaction volumes have rebounded substantially since the start of the third quarter of 2020. According to the FT, the number of M&A deals this September was 73% higher than during the same time last year.
With working from home blurring the lines between the professional and personal spheres, it’s become more important than ever for us all to establish and maintain a work-life balance.
A high volume of M&A deals on the cards can mean a long streak of deal closings with each involving a substantial number of largely duplicated documentation. The last thing any lawyer or business person wants to be doing is replicating the late nights of the office, at home.
Avvoka helps clients with this problem by allowing them to populate hundreds of (even highly complex) documents in one go, including bundles of related documents (like a suite of corporate authorisations).
Avvoka helped the Brussels office of an international law firm populate multiple documents in one go during a private equity transaction, which took place over the school holidays! The client had to draft multiple hundred deal documents. Instead of the Client having to perform the manual, time-intensive task filling in the same input fields and consequential drafting amendments with ever-so-slightly differentiated information in each document, Avvoka “saved Christmas” for the client. By using Avvoka’s mass-generation tool, the client saved hours and didn’t have to end up spending the multiple all-nighters over their children’s holiday period undertaking an automatable task. Since that particular transaction, the client now regularly uses Avvoka to generate multiple documents and have been able deliver even quicker and better-value deals for their own clients.
COVID-19 has opened people’s minds to the importance of technology. Specifically within the legal world, document automation has been an incredible tool which has facilitated our clients’ ability to deploy remote working. The examples we’ve covered show how Avvoka has been able to help, and we hope that this trend continues – automation helps make jobs easier!
By: Raam Jeganathan