When we envisioned HotDocs Cloud Services, a Document Generation Platform as a Service (DGPaaS), in the fall of 2010, the idea was to enable 3rd-party web developers targeting specific niche markets to deliver complex, cloud-based HotDocs interviews indigenously within their own applications. It was a strategy in anticipation of the fragmentation of large, platform-dominated markets into app-based markets—Chris Anderson’s long-tail economics in action.
In a recent article published in IAACM (International Association for Contract and Commercial Management), Ron MacInnis, a long-time document generation luminary and entrepreneur, describes one embodiment of that early HotDocs vision, an application called Document Agility, designed specifically for organizations that generate complex contracts on a repetitive basis.
Document Agility, built on the HotDocs Cloud Services platform, imposes order on the messiest part of contract generation in today’s complex work environments—gathering data from multiple parties and disparate groups within an organization and shepherding the data into the contract without it getting corrupted along the way. MacInnis points specifically at email and spreadsheets as main culprits in data corruption and inaccuracy, given the number of times that data needs to be keyed in and transferred from one medium to another.
Document Agility is based on a unique concept that MacInnis calls collaborative document generation, a technological approach to delivering sections of the HotDocs interview necessary to generating the contract directly to the people or groups who own the data in question. Data can be written into these individual sections of an interview from existing data stores (when they exist) or it can be keyed in a single time and be validated along the way by business rules built into the HotDocs interview. Document Agility provides rights management and an approval system for data before it gets incorporated into a contract. It’s an ingenious approach and ups the ante for garden variety contract management systems that, if they deal with contract generation at all, tend to employ some sort of clause library approach.
Document Agility’s workflow approach to collaborative contract generation is unique and applicable to almost any organization that generates complex contracts on a repetitive basis. Banks, insurance providers, law firms, and government agencies, to name just few, should take note of this new cloud-based contract generation solution, which is sure to make the contracting process both quicker and safer.