I have just arrived back from a couple of months of travelling that has taken me across the globe, visiting the likes of Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. It is one of the great things about my role; visiting multiple organisations of various sizes, in diverse industries and with real business problems to solve. As such, I get to see trends with my own eyes, not through the prism of industry analysts, but through tangible interactions with customers, partners and prospects. It is invaluable knowledge and I’m going to share some of the key trends and ideas that are capturing attention across the industries that HotDocs works in.
As we look around the world we live in, consumers are becoming more savvy with the use of technology and how they consume products and services. Moreover, technologies are the reason behind the majority of changes to the way things are done and we are engaging with service providers in ever more novel and forward thinking ways.
I was on a flight recently with Air New Zealand and experienced exceptional customer service. Not only pre-flight, but through the entire customer journey. But the one thing that stood out was their use of technology in flight. On the back of the seat was a touchscreen entertainment system, not uncommon for long haul flights, however, in this instance Air New Zealand surfaced their food and drinks menu via a shopping cart. At any point during the flight, you could browse, select and order food and within minutes a member of the crew would appear with your order. This may sound like a pithy example, however, as a result of my experience with them as a service provider, I have told everyone about them. Why? Because it was immersive, easy to use and could feed, literally, my immediate needs.
The world wants immediate gratification, the ability to have their needs met, now. Not in a month or a week, but now. This is no different for businesses providing services. If someone can fulfil my needs now I will, more often than not, go with them. I also like self-service; I like the ability to control how and when I acquire, retain and use services, but I also like having the option to talk to a human when required.
This ethos extends into the services provided by many of the world’s organisations. Customers do not want to wait for their services. If they are waiting for a contract to come through, next week will not do. Why should I wait for a mortgage document for over a week?
Organisations that we work with are using HotDocs document automation software to enable their customers to self-serve documentation, either as a free or chargeable value-added service. It has allowed them to push out the high churn standardised work and only work with escalations to those standard cases.
Overall, in this era of customer engagement, many other organisations could look to improve their users’ ability to self-serve, collaborate and be involved in the services they are procuring.
When I talk with banks and law firms, I usually discuss the software solutions that they have, specifically around the documentation space. They usually respond with a long list of technologies that provide point solutions for particular needs. In a law firm, a typical system might be in real estate – one that handles all aspects of the client engagements including light-weight document assembly. However, it will only produce real estate documents – nothing else. Another department has a solution for NDAs. It creates, edits and manages the NDA process, including workflow. Again, it only has one purpose and is non-transferrable to other areas of the business. You cannot use the real estate system to create HR contracts and you cannot use the NDA system in Mergers & Acquisitions.
The running theme across my meetings in large enterprises, is that point solutions that cannot connect to other systems are finished. Organisations are looking for best-of-breed, enterprise technologies that might focus on a particular area, but that can be connected to provide scalable, maintainable and long-term end-to-end solutions that serve all business units.
Organisations want one strategic document automation solution that can provide the power and flexibility to handle a full range of document assembly and creation tasks, from the smallest letter to the most advanced contracts.
In a world of connectivity, APIs (application programme interfaces) are king. Any technology that does not expose an API is not enterprise ready. Enterprise service bus (ESB) technologies are becoming mainstream.
For those not versed in software architecture – an ESB implements a communication system between mutually interacting software applications in a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and this cannot be done without APIs. ESBs are the backbone of many businesses, coordinating all system interaction. System functionality needs to be added and removed from enterprises in an agile fashion. Multi-year migration projects are not acceptable and tools such as workflow/BPM, document automation, e-signature, document management and AI need to collaborate seamlessly.
These technologies and architectures allow organisations to grow organically and in line with their environment.
HotDocs provides a mature, standardised API that allows any solution to utilise our industry leading document automation technology both on premise and, most importantly, in the cloud.
Customer engagement, consolidation and connectivity are the three key themes I have been talking through with the industry leaders I have met, from CIOs of some of the largest legal firms in the world to the enterprise architects in large, global organisations who are responsible for ensuring that these systems operate effortlessly.
HotDocs enables the realisation of these themes and we are very excited to see how our customers, and the industries that they operate in, utilise our technology to further their organisational goals.
To find out more about how HotDocs document automation software can connect with other line of business systems to provide automatic document creation as part of a wider process, schedule a 30 minute demo.