When contract lifecycle management (CLM) software first hit the street, its core value proposition was realizing the value of contracts, which it delivered by allowing an enterprise to parse out existing contracts, extract rules, terms, and dates, and present them in such a way that a staff member could effectively manage each contract by collecting payments on time, etc.

Now CLM has advanced far beyond its roots and is rapidly embracing the concept of document automation (document assembly), albeit, generally in a rudimentary way. This result was inevitable, of course, since the generation of contracts is the natural predecessor to the management of contracts. CLMs are, likewise, embracing the concept of workflow, which is the natural next phase beyond the creation of contracts—a rules-based approval process.

HotDocs, the global leader in document automation technology, is a hot topic these days (no pun intended) in both CLM and BPM circles because of the power and flexibility it provides, not only in generating even the most complex contracts imaginable, but in its ability to structure the most sophisticated information-gathering question/answer interviews possible, with interview complexity, by the way, being the natural byproduct of contract complexity.

One unique use case of HotDocs in contract-generation workflows involves the routing of the data payload for approval, and then later, the routing of the actual contract. By routing the data payload, rather than the entire contract, an enterprise can dramatically simplify and improve the approval process, ensuring that all the facts that will be used to generate the contract have been entered into the system accurately. Of course, the facts that go into the generation of the contract are generally the same facts that the CLM will want to catalog for the extent of the contract’s lifecycle.