My first introduction to the Smart Car was when a co-worker of mine drove one to work. I asked him, “What makes your car ‘smart’?”  He went on to explain that the fuel efficiency . . . blah, blah, blah. Then another co-worker proceeded to explain how they should carpool by putting the Smart Car in the bed of his truck, resulting in even less money spent on fuel.  I like fuel efficiency as much as the next guy, but does that alone make a car “smart.”  It sounded more to me like it made the owner of the car smart for choosing that vehicle.

I have also heard a lot lately about Smart TVs. I live in the stone age of television and only have an LCD TV with no smart or 3D features. What makes a television smart? Does it have human-like intelligence? No. It merely indicates some added internet connection capabilities and streaming features.  Some of those features are extremely cool, but neither the Smart Car nor the Smart TV has actual intelligence.

The smart document, on the other hand, has a surprising amount of business intelligence. Of course, I don’t mean that the document actually becomes a sentient being. That is almost absurd—not completely, but almost. It is almost absurd because the amount of intelligence that I can transfer from myself to a document by using HotDocs document automation can literally save a company millions of dollars.

Let me use an example to illustrate. Imagine that I am the content expert of a certain legal contract that my company uses to issue a commercial real estate loan. I can use HotDocs to turn that document into a process application. The application will ask me a series of questions in an interview format. As I input data answering the required interview questions, HotDocs has the intelligence to determine which clauses and paragraphs are applicable and which are not. In real cases, some of our customers have even built intelligence into the document to indicate whether or not the contract will be approved or denied.

When I call a document “smart,” I am not actually referring to the document itself. Rather, I am referring to a process application (best modeled by HotDocs) that produces the document.  And contrary to the Smart Car or the Smart TV, the smart document does indeed have built-in intelligence.