Why digitalising paperwork is not the solution
Paperwork is critical for business operations as handshake agreements are not recommended and do not scale beyond trusted circles. However, completing, signing and maintaining paper forms and physical documents is time and space consuming which presents its challenges especially for smaller organisations. Moreover, the data collected in paper documents is prone to manual data entry errors and difficult to extract which means that businesses are missing out on key information. Whilst organisations might attempt to eliminate paper processes and paperwork through a digital transformation, eliminating paper will not necessarily increase efficiencies.
Why is the digitalisation of documents not enough?
Whilst it is trendy for businesses to go paperless, it often involves digitalising the problems created by paper processes in the first place. For example, data collection can be streamlined for simple documents like work orders but the ability to manage these digital documents will largely depend on the quality of the data entry. More complicated documents like contracts can be just as hard to create and manage online as in their paper form. This is because contract data is rarely standardised which means it's hard to collect and track using spreadsheets or traditional databases.
Digital paperwork is a step change improvement from physical as it eliminates the space and location constraints associated with hard copies but it is not a silver bullet. Digital has amplified paperwork's issues by removing the physical constraints which were the limiting factor.
Filling in digital document templates can be faster but is still error-prone. This is because the tools to manipulate them offer too much flexibility or too little. Moreover, locating an electronic document in real-time can be just as painful as locating paper based data in a filing cabinet. Locating information in a pdf is equally demanding.
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Why is document automation complicated?
The challenges faced in document automation are mainly due to the unstructured nature of the data they contain which makes it difficult for computer programs and algorithms to systematically process and manipulate them. As a result, the amount of time gained with digital paperwork has mainly been achieved at the edges with humans in the loop to interpret and process the unstructured content. For example, documents might still be reviewed by lawyers but signatures will be streamlined electronically.
Significant value and efficiency gains can be unlocked if documents are less dependent on people to understand what they contain. However, this requires a different approach to creating and storing digital documents.
What is the solution for smart document automation and data collection?
In order to streamline document workflows and implement data collection, businesses should use document management software which is capable of creating, managing and sharing documents in one central repository. A defined central data source of contract data allows businesses to have a complete view of their rights and obligations. Moreover, document management systems must be able to create machine readable documents so that the information stored in the documents can be easily accessed and shared within an organisation. For example, a CRM of HR platform should be able to connect to contracts so that the data is never duplicated or out of sync between platforms. By protecting information in the cloud, document management apps also reduce security risks which are present when storing paper documents in an office.
Documents which know what they contain is at the heart of Legislate's approach. Documents are modelled in patented knowledge graph technology which means that they know what key terms they contain and the people they are connected with. Leveraging this new document structure means that information can now be quickly identified and insights easily aggregated across a virtual cabinet. Moreover, Legislate's knowledge graph validates the inputs and structure of documents at creation which prevents configuration errors.
Legislate's new approach to documents makes digital paperwork meaningful and accurate data collection effortless. To find out how to go paperless intelligently and create, manage and sign contracts with electronic signatures, read one of our tutorials, book a demo of Legislate or sign up to Legislate today.
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.