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Advanced automation features

Advanced automation features

About Charles Drayson

Charles is a UK lawyer who has used document automation for 20 years. He has worked for large law firms, corporate legal teams, and has automated legal and non-legal documents. He writes for Legito to share his passion for using automation to get work done. “I get a kick out of creating good content and seeing it used repeatedly and reliably by colleagues without fuss and bother”.

Advanced automation features

Charles Drayson

Aug 30  · 5 min read
Charles Drayson
Aug 30 · 5 min read
Comparing automation solutions is tricky if you don’t know what the more advanced features will do or whether you need them. Is it likely that you would use only the basic features, and anything else means paying for complexity and bloat that you don’t need? The assessment is harder if this is the organisation’s first deployment of an automation solution. A demo is good, but each vendor will run a demo that looks slick.

Comparing automation solutions is tricky if you don’t know what the more advanced features will do or whether you need them. Is it likely that you would use only the basic features, and anything else means paying for complexity and bloat that you don’t need? The assessment is harder if this is the organisation’s first deployment of an automation solution. A demo is good, but each vendor will run a demo that looks slick.

ADVANCED FEATURES – AM I JUST ADDING UNNECESSARY COMPLEXITY AND COST?

ADVANCED FEATURES – AM I JUST ADDING UNNECESSARY COMPLEXITY AND COST?

Successful projects create a demand for more. Most vendors (including Legito) advise starting with a simple project and then building incrementally. Projects which begin with large, ambitious rollouts carry risk. The first project is usually a success, unless an organisation has bought something completely unsuitable. Unfortunately, some organisations find it hard to increase adoption after the first project. What will you find when it’s time to take off the water-wings and swim in the deep end?

If you decided to invest in automation, it’s probable that some of your needs were not simple. Organisations are messy. Departments want different things. For every process, there are exceptions. You might have a standard document broadly suitable for most occasions but ideally suited to almost none. You map out a process, and then someone changes it, or you find that people are not following policies. If you over-simplify the solution, your colleagues will not use it, find ways round it, or complain loudly that it doesn’t work.

Successful projects create a demand for more. Most vendors (including Legito) advise starting with a simple project and then building incrementally. Projects which begin with large, ambitious rollouts carry risk. The first project is usually a success, unless an organisation has bought something completely unsuitable. Unfortunately, some organisations find it hard to increase adoption after the first project. What will you find when it’s time to take off the water-wings and swim in the deep end?

If you decided to invest in automation, it’s probable that some of your needs were not simple. Organisations are messy. Departments want different things. For every process, there are exceptions. You might have a standard document broadly suitable for most occasions but ideally suited to almost none. You map out a process, and then someone changes it, or you find that people are not following policies. If you over-simplify the solution, your colleagues will not use it, find ways round it, or complain loudly that it doesn’t work.

YOU THINK YOU ASKED ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS ABOUT THEIR REQUIREMENTS, AND, AFTER YOU BUY THE SOLUTION, YOU FIND THEY ASK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

YOU THINK YOU ASKED ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS ABOUT THEIR REQUIREMENTS, AND, AFTER YOU BUY THE SOLUTION, YOU FIND THEY ASK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

This is why, sooner or later, you will want advanced features. The Pareto Principle still works – you will get 80% of the benefit from 20% of the features, but there are three more factors to consider:

  • It’s hard to predict which features will form the 20% delivering most of the benefit. 
  • As you expand across the enterprise, each department might depend on different features. 
  • People who get good at developing solutions using Legito don’t want to stop at 80% – believe me, it’s addictive, and you will want more.

It’s like buying a car. I still remember cars without electric windows – we thought it was mad that some people would pay extra money to save the effort of winding down a window by hand. Remember manual chokes to get engines started? They were not exactly complex, but none of us looked back after electronic ignition. When cars first had air conditioning, it seemed extravagant. As for heated steering wheels, why would anyone need one? But, the driving experience with all those features is fundamentally different from the experience of the sort of cars I first drove as a teenager. There’s another similarity with buying software solutions: if you buy something basic, it might be impossible to retrofit the features you need – you have to buy again (and write off the investment in the first solution). For the manufacturers, it was hard to upgrade legacy models to compete with new modern designs.

Next-generation automation solutions compared to legacy solutions are, like modern cars, easier to use and more amenable to wide adoption by colleagues who are increasingly intolerant of mediocre technology.

What are the advanced features that make the difference?

This is why, sooner or later, you will want advanced features. The Pareto Principle still works – you will get 80% of the benefit from 20% of the features, but there are three more factors to consider:

  • It’s hard to predict which features will form the 20% delivering most of the benefit. 
  • As you expand across the enterprise, each department might depend on different features. 
  • People who get good at developing solutions using Legito don’t want to stop at 80% – believe me, it’s addictive, and you will want more.

It’s like buying a car. I still remember cars without electric windows – we thought it was mad that some people would pay extra money to save the effort of winding down a window by hand. Remember manual chokes to get engines started? They were not exactly complex, but none of us looked back after electronic ignition. When cars first had air conditioning, it seemed extravagant. As for heated steering wheels, why would anyone need one? But, the driving experience with all those features is fundamentally different from the experience of the sort of cars I first drove as a teenager.

There’s another similarity with buying software solutions: if you buy something basic, it might be impossible to retrofit the features you need – you have to buy again (and write off the investment in the first solution). For the manufacturers, it was hard to upgrade legacy models to compete with new modern designs.

Next-generation automation solutions compared to legacy solutions are, like modern cars, easier to use and more amenable to wide adoption by colleagues who are increasingly intolerant of mediocre technology.

What are the advanced features that make the difference?

#1 No code development

I liked writing code using the first generation of document automation solutions. It was satisfying to get it right. But, I was one of those who also liked programming as a kid, and I relished the challenge. If you want your subject experts to build a solution for their teams, you could look around for people who also like messing around with code.

Here’s the problem: not many people fall into that category, and even if they do, not many organisations want to pay their key staff to mess around dabbling in code just because it has some esoteric appeal. They want their lawyers to use their legal drafting skills. They want their HR professionals thinking about people-friendly processes. They want their procurement teams focused on delivering value.

#2 Workflow

Many organisations who bought the first-generation solutions were surprised to find that the solutions generated a document and then did nothing else. The data used to create a document was mostly discarded or useless. The documents were no less and no more useful than a simple Word file. Everything else happened by email. Have your colleagues reviewed the document? No idea – email them. How many replies are you waiting for? No idea – trawl your sent items folder and see if you’ve had replies. Maybe create a list in a notepad and tick them off as they arrive. Is your document waiting for approval from someone who is on annual leave? You will need workflow. Do you have the budget and bandwidth to buy a workflow solution and integrate it with the document automation tool? Much better to have them in the same tool.

#3 Dashboards

If you deploy an automated solution, you probably have more than a few work items to get processed. After the solution has been running for a while, you will want to manage the workload. You will want visibility of current work. You will want to retrieve information from work processed months ago.

#4 Customisation

It’s better to have one solution that can be used across the whole enterprise, rather than each department buying its own solution. Each department might not care, but each department might not have the autonomy to fly solo on such things. However, each department will have a different requirement and a different view on your organisation’s world. That’s why you need to be able to customise. Customising a solution is more than just adding a logo and being able to select a colour scheme for the screens. True customisation means recognising that each team uses different data, different reports, and different processes. Moreover, they might want to separate one from another. The HR team does not want employee records accessible across the organisation. On the other hand, HR might want to roll out some processes (annual leave requests, new joiner processes) across all teams. This level of customisation requires software designed to be enterprise-wide.

#5 Digital signatures

Many documents need to be signed: contracts, purchase orders, job offers, approvals, audits. If they need to be signed by more than one person, you might need to specify the order in which they get signed. In many situations, you might need to verify that a signature is genuinely applied by the person named. It might not be good enough to copy and paste a GIF image taken from your scanned hand-written signature. Signing documents the old-fashioned way is a nuisance, time consuming and increasingly it makes you look old-fashioned. Since Covid, digital signatures have dramatically increased. In my work as a lawyer, I rarely see documents signed using hand-written ‘counterparts’ scanned and emailed. If a document is to be digitally signed, generate the document in a way that is natively ready for digital signature, and integrate the workflow with a digital signature solution. It’s easier if you can do all this in one tool.

#6 Data mining

Your organisation’s total document store contains valuable data that could provide insight into your business that is available from no other source. Litigators have been looking for ways to scrutinise documents using e-discovery tools. Mercifully, there are more beneficial reasons to look back at your documents to see what you can find. That task is easier if you keep digital records about each document. Inevitably, you might want information in the future that you did not anticipate when the document was first created. The tools to extract useful information from documents and processes are starting to deliver additional value beyond the obvious automation benefits.

#7 Who knows what’s coming?

It’s a trite observation to say solutions are, in general, becoming more sophisticated. You could wait for the next new thing, but there will always be something new coming, and you might never get started. The better strategy is to buy a solution with a history of developing new features, regularly – it’s the most reliable assurance that the solution will not drift out of date.

#1 No code development

I liked writing code using the first generation of document automation solutions. It was satisfying to get it right. But, I was one of those who also liked programming as a kid, and I relished the challenge. If you want your subject experts to build a solution for their teams, you could look around for people who also like messing around with code.

Here’s the problem: not many people fall into that category, and even if they do, not many organisations want to pay their key staff to mess around dabbling in code just because it has some esoteric appeal. They want their lawyers to use their legal drafting skills. They want their HR professionals thinking about people-friendly processes. They want their procurement teams focused on delivering value.

#2 Workflow

Many organisations who bought the first-generation solutions were surprised to find that the solutions generated a document and then did nothing else. The data used to create a document was mostly discarded or useless. The documents were no less and no more useful than a simple Word file. Everything else happened by email. Have your colleagues reviewed the document? No idea – email them. How many replies are you waiting for? No idea – trawl your sent items folder and see if you’ve had replies. Maybe create a list in a notepad and tick them off as they arrive. Is your document waiting for approval from someone who is on annual leave? You will need workflow. Do you have the budget and bandwidth to buy a workflow solution and integrate it with the document automation tool? Much better to have them in the same tool.

#3 Dashboards

If you deploy an automated solution, you probably have more than a few work items to get processed. After the solution has been running for a while, you will want to manage the workload. You will want visibility of current work. You will want to retrieve information from work processed months ago.

#4 Customisation

It’s better to have one solution that can be used across the whole enterprise, rather than each department buying its own solution. Each department might not care, but each department might not have the autonomy to fly solo on such things. However, each department will have a different requirement and a different view on your organisation’s world. That’s why you need to be able to customise. Customising a solution is more than just adding a logo and being able to select a colour scheme for the screens. True customisation means recognising that each team uses different data, different reports, and different processes. Moreover, they might want to separate one from another. The HR team does not want employee records accessible across the organisation. On the other hand, HR might want to roll out some processes (annual leave requests, new joiner processes) across all teams. This level of customisation requires software designed to be enterprise-wide.

#5 Digital signatures

Many documents need to be signed: contracts, purchase orders, job offers, approvals, audits. If they need to be signed by more than one person, you might need to specify the order in which they get signed. In many situations, you might need to verify that a signature is genuinely applied by the person named. It might not be good enough to copy and paste a GIF image taken from your scanned hand-written signature. Signing documents the old-fashioned way is a nuisance, time consuming and increasingly it makes you look old-fashioned. Since Covid, digital signatures have dramatically increased. In my work as a lawyer, I rarely see documents signed using hand-written ‘counterparts’ scanned and emailed. If a document is to be digitally signed, generate the document in a way that is natively ready for digital signature, and integrate the workflow with a digital signature solution. It’s easier if you can do all this in one tool.

#6 Data mining

Your organisation’s total document store contains valuable data that could provide insight into your business that is available from no other source. Litigators have been looking for ways to scrutinise documents using e-discovery tools. Mercifully, there are more beneficial reasons to look back at your documents to see what you can find. That task is easier if you keep digital records about each document. Inevitably, you might want information in the future that you did not anticipate when the document was first created. The tools to extract useful information from documents and processes are starting to deliver additional value beyond the obvious automation benefits.

#7 Who knows what’s coming?

It’s a trite observation to say solutions are, in general, becoming more sophisticated. You could wait for the next new thing, but there will always be something new coming, and you might never get started. The better strategy is to buy a solution with a history of developing new features, regularly – it’s the most reliable assurance that the solution will not drift out of date.

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Customer wish-lists

Customer wish-lists

Aug 25 · 2 min read

Yesterday, I wrote a summary of the excellent customer present from Telia at the PowerUp 2022 conference. Over the years, I have heard many organisations discuss their wish-list for solutions. It’s remarkable how diverse organisations have similar requests. That’s a good thing. It makes it viable to build solutions that work across multiple sectors and teams. 

#1 Automate the production of documents

Document automation (‘document assembly’, as it’s sometimes called) is the starting point for most projects. Some solutions do nothing other than document automation, and still deliver benefits. Building software to automate document generation is more difficult than it looks. It’s easy to do basic things, like replacing placeholders with names or similar data. You can do that with mail-merge in Word.

That’s OK for standard documents, but creating tailored documents is much better. Tailored documents have more customisation – the reader wouldn’t guess they come from an automated solution. The degree of customisation requires more advanced software, which is rarely available in enterprise software that doesn’t have Legito’s focus on document-orientated processes.

#2 Save time spent on repetitive work

Saving time on repeat work used to mean using fewer people to get work done, to save costs. These days, during a significant labour shortage, it means getting work done despite a lack of people, especially people with skills in demand. It also means looking after your people – they don’t want to spend time on dreary tasks.

#3 Reduce human error

Humans make mistakes. We all do. Risk management, compliance procedures, and brand reputation are enhanced if we give people tools that help them do the right thing. Humans are bad at reading long policy documents, checking for mistakes, and remembering process details. Just because you get by without automation, doesn’t mean you have a sustainable process. In some markets, regulators expect to see technology to mitigate risk.

#4 Systems must be intuitive for users

Solutions like Legito have two types of user. They begin with the users who will author the content, design the processes, and write the rules that influence documents and processes. Let’s call them ‘authors’. The rest are users who will rely on the solution to get work done – they most of the users. Ideally, your authors will be the people who have subject matter expertise in the relevant department. An intuitive solution places no barriers between the author and their content – no need for coding, an interface that gives easy access to tools, and making it easy for authors to see how their work is taking shape.

Intuitive solutions for other users are customised so users recognise how to get work done. HR users expect to see screens customised for HR processes. Procurement teams expect to see screens about sourcing. Real estate users expect to see screens about property.

#5 Reduce cycle times for getting work done

The items listed above reduce the time to get work done (and done correctly first time). Self-service features make it easier for people to get what they need without waiting for help from specialist colleagues. Your subject matter experts should use their expertise to make self-service options that work for most people most of the time. Use Legito to lead users through the correct content and correct steps, so they aren’t tempted to use unauthorised short-cuts or skip important items.

Customer wish-lists

Aug 25 · 2 min read

Yesterday, I wrote a summary of the excellent customer present from Telia at the PowerUp 2022 conference. Over the years, I have heard many organisations discuss their wish-list for solutions. It’s remarkable how diverse organisations have similar requests. That’s a good thing. It makes it viable to build solutions that work across multiple sectors and teams. 

#1 Automate the production of documents

Document automation (‘document assembly’, as it’s sometimes called) is the starting point for most projects. Some solutions do nothing other than document automation, and still deliver benefits. Building software to automate document generation is more difficult than it looks. It’s easy to do basic things, like replacing placeholders with names or similar data. You can do that with mail-merge in Word.

That’s OK for standard documents, but creating tailored documents is much better. Tailored documents have more customisation – the reader wouldn’t guess they come from an automated solution. The degree of customisation requires more advanced software, which is rarely available in enterprise software that doesn’t have Legito’s focus on document-orientated processes.

#2 Save time spent on repetitive work

Saving time on repeat work used to mean using fewer people to get work done, to save costs. These days, during a significant labour shortage, it means getting work done despite a lack of people, especially people with skills in demand. It also means looking after your people – they don’t want to spend time on dreary tasks.

#3 Reduce human error

Humans make mistakes. We all do. Risk management, compliance procedures, and brand reputation are enhanced if we give people tools that help them do the right thing. Humans are bad at reading long policy documents, checking for mistakes, and remembering process details. Just because you get by without automation, doesn’t mean you have a sustainable process. In some markets, regulators expect to see technology to mitigate risk.

#4 Systems must be intuitive for users

Solutions like Legito have two types of user. They begin with the users who will author the content, design the processes, and write the rules that influence documents and processes. Let’s call them ‘authors’. The rest are users who will rely on the solution to get work done – they most of the users. Ideally, your authors will be the people who have subject matter expertise in the relevant department. An intuitive solution places no barriers between the author and their content – no need for coding, an interface that gives easy access to tools, and making it easy for authors to see how their work is taking shape.

Intuitive solutions for other users are customised so users recognise how to get work done. HR users expect to see screens customised for HR processes. Procurement teams expect to see screens about sourcing. Real estate users expect to see screens about property.

#5 Reduce cycle times for getting work done

The items listed above reduce the time to get work done (and done correctly first time). Self-service features make it easier for people to get what they need without waiting for help from specialist colleagues. Your subject matter experts should use their expertise to make self-service options that work for most people most of the time. Use Legito to lead users through the correct content and correct steps, so they aren’t tempted to use unauthorised short-cuts or skip important items.

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Legito PowerUp 2022: Success Story – CLM & Document Automation in a Large Law Firm

Legito PowerUp 2022: Success Story – CLM & Document Automation in a Large Law Firm

If we are tempted to assume there is one solution to a problem, get fresh ideas by looking at the problem through the eyes of another culture, another country, or another continent.

Mauricio Jaramillo presented a case study from the largest law firm in Colombia, Gomez-Pinzon. Here’s a deliberate summary of a few sections from Mauricio’s presentation that are not what we usually hear from law firm case studies.

Mauricio described the core challenge like this: how do you persuade the partners of a successful law firm to embark on a digital transformation project to change legal services that had been working successfully for 30+ years? Gomez-Pinzon acknowledged that they did not merely intend to change the way they created documents – they were going to redesign legal practice.

Before deciding the projects to deliver digital transformation, Gomez-Pinzon started by changing how people would respond and adapt. It helped that their organisation attracted young legal professionals keen to build their careers using new technologies. Gomez-Pinzon spent time thinking about how to get people to change the way they thought about their work. Mauricio believed the success of digital transformation would depend on how people embraced it. After they got their colleagues behind the project, they could leave them to continue to build on each new technical innovation so that it did not stall after one project.

Gomez-Pinzon kicked off their document automation strategy with a remarkable project: Mauricio observed that auditors regularly ask law firms to report on legal matters for use in clients’ audits. When he explained the cumbersome procedures for responding to audit requests, the problem was visible, and it raises the question, why has nobody found a better way to handle it? It’s an ideal starting project: it solves a problem that is a recurring administrative nuisance that must be done correctly, and it’s a problem that vexed every team in the organisation. Get that right (and they did), and you open the door to enterprise-wide adoption of the technology for multiple teams.

Having successfully built a solution for audit reports, Mauricio described how Gomez-Pinzon moved to another solution that lawyers will recognise: they automated the production of due-diligence reports. If you’re a lawyer, you will know that DD reports are a joyless but important task in every corporate deal. If you’re not a lawyer, the interesting thing about automating DD reports is that they are not ‘standard’ – an automation solution has to span many variables because the reports cannot be over-simplified.

We thank Mauricio for travelling to Prague to share his experience. They started thinking about people. They built a solution that automated a task that was tedious for people, but a task that must be done correctly. That’s how they began a successful digital transformation.

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Charles Drayson

Charles Drayson

Legito's Chief Community Officer

After a few years of working for a prominent London law firm, I started to get comfortable in my practice area, and I stopped feeling like every project demanded knowledge I didn’t have. And then something happened: I travelled overseas to work on a legal project in the middle east.

I started to work in the same way I worked in London – and it didn’t go too well.
I remember a senior lawyer in a local firm making arguments I had not heard before, and using negotiations in a style I had not experienced. I annoyed my counterparts by trying to do things the way they were done in London, and made no progress until I let go my narrow outlook.

In the years that followed, I was fortunate to work in multiple countries and to spend long periods in some of them. I started to enjoy the experience of different business cultures and legal traditions while observing that we share many of the same challenges.

Legito PowerUp 2022: Success Story – CLM & Document Automation in a Large Law Firm

If we are tempted to assume there is one solution to a problem, get fresh ideas by looking at the problem through the eyes of another culture, another country, or another continent.

Mauricio Jaramillo presented a case study from the largest law firm in Colombia, Gomez-Pinzon. Here’s a deliberate summary of a few sections from Mauricio’s presentation that are not what we usually hear from law firm case studies.

Mauricio described the core challenge like this: how do you persuade the partners of a successful law firm to embark on a digital transformation project to change legal services that had been working successfully for 30+ years? Gomez-Pinzon acknowledged that they did not merely intend to change the way they created documents – they were going to redesign legal practice.

Before deciding the projects to deliver digital transformation, Gomez-Pinzon started by changing how people would respond and adapt. It helped that their organisation attracted young legal professionals keen to build their careers using new technologies. Gomez-Pinzon spent time thinking about how to get people to change the way they thought about their work. Mauricio believed the success of digital transformation would depend on how people embraced it. After they got their colleagues behind the project, they could leave them to continue to build on each new technical innovation so that it did not stall after one project.

Gomez-Pinzon kicked off their document automation strategy with a remarkable project: Mauricio observed that auditors regularly ask law firms to report on legal matters for use in clients’ audits. When he explained the cumbersome procedures for responding to audit requests, the problem was visible, and it raises the question, why has nobody found a better way to handle it? It’s an ideal starting project: it solves a problem that is a recurring administrative nuisance that must be done correctly, and it’s a problem that vexed every team in the organisation. Get that right (and they did), and you open the door to enterprise-wide adoption of the technology for multiple teams.

Having successfully built a solution for audit reports, Mauricio described how Gomez-Pinzon moved to another solution that lawyers will recognise: they automated the production of due-diligence reports. If you’re a lawyer, you will know that DD reports are a joyless but important task in every corporate deal. If you’re not a lawyer, the interesting thing about automating DD reports is that they are not ‘standard’ – an automation solution has to span many variables because the reports cannot be over-simplified.

We thank Mauricio for travelling to Prague to share his experience. They started thinking about people. They built a solution that automated a task that was tedious for people, but a task that must be done correctly. That’s how they began a successful digital transformation.

FULL RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE

Charles Drayson

Charles Drayson

Legito's Chief Community Officer

After a few years of working for a prominent London law firm, I started to get comfortable in my practice area, and I stopped feeling like every project demanded knowledge I didn’t have. And then something happened: I travelled overseas to work on a legal project in the middle east.

I started to work in the same way I worked in London – and it didn’t go too well.
I remember a senior lawyer in a local firm making arguments I had not heard before, and using negotiations in a style I had not experienced. I annoyed my counterparts by trying to do things the way they were done in London, and made no progress until I let go my narrow outlook.

In the years that followed, I was fortunate to work in multiple countries and to spend long periods in some of them. I started to enjoy the experience of different business cultures and legal traditions while observing that we share many of the same challenges.

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5 Word Tips

5 Word Tips

July 13 · 5 min read

#1 Preserving cross-references after inserting a paragraph

I need to explain the wrong way so that you see the benefit of the correct way. Suppose you have ten numbered paragraphs and insert a new paragraph after paragraph #3. If you move to the beginning of paragraph #3 and hit return to create a new paragraph, your new paragraph becomes number 3 (correct) and the old paragraph #3 is renumbered to paragraph #4 (correct). But, here’s the problem: any cross-references to the old paragraph #3 will still point to paragraph #3 even if you cause Word to update the fields. The references now point to your new paragraph instead of the text now in paragraph #4. The references will be incorrect, but no error will be reported. Instead, go to the end of the paragraph before the insertion point (rather than the beginning of the paragraph at the insertion point), and then hit return. When you update the fields, cross-references to old paragraph #3 will now point to new paragraph #4.


#2 Updating cross-references when Word the ‘Update Fields’ menu is greyed out in Word. 

Hit Ctrl A and F9. It usually works (but not always!)

#3 Reading contracts with definitions

Contracts tend to have defined terms, and the definitions are often grouped in one place. When reading a contract, it’s helpful to read the defined term. It’s a nuisance having to scroll back to the defined term and then forward to the text you are reading. Use View/Split to create two panes for your document. You can scroll separately in each. Have the definitions in one pane, and the main text in the other. Better still, if you have two monitors, have definitions on one monitor and the main text on the other.

#4 Reinstating deleted text in a document with tracked changes

Microsoft ought to find a way to do this. Tracked changes show other readers what you have changed. Suppose a reviewer deletes text and you object to the deletion, so you want to show the text reinstated. The easiest way is to ‘Reject deletion’ but that won’t be apparent when you return the document, and it looks like you are being underhand. You need to (i) click ‘reject deletion’; (ii) Ctrl C to copy the text reinstated; (iii) undo the ‘reject deletion’; (iv) Ctrl V to paste back the text – which now appears as a tracked change.

#5 Avoid empty pages

If you insert a page break in an automated document, don’t be surprised if you occasionally get an output document with an empty page. Instead of inserting page breaks, go to the paragraph properties of the first paragraph of the text you want on a new page, and select ‘Page break before’.

 

Sharing document automation know-how with industry peers

July 13 · 5 min read

July 13 · 5 min read

#1 Preserving cross-references after inserting a paragraph

I need to explain the wrong way so that you see the benefit of the correct way. Suppose you have ten numbered paragraphs and insert a new paragraph after paragraph #3. If you move to the beginning of paragraph #3 and hit return to create a new paragraph, your new paragraph becomes number 3 (correct) and the old paragraph #3 is renumbered to paragraph #4 (correct). But, here’s the problem: any cross-references to the old paragraph #3 will still point to paragraph #3 even if you cause Word to update the fields. The references now point to your new paragraph instead of the text now in paragraph #4. The references will be incorrect, but no error will be reported. Instead, go to the end of the paragraph before the insertion point (rather than the beginning of the paragraph at the insertion point), and then hit return. When you update the fields, cross-references to old paragraph #3 will now point to new paragraph #4.


#2 Updating cross-references when Word the ‘Update Fields’ menu is greyed out in Word. 

Hit Ctrl A and F9. It usually works (but not always!)

#3 Reading contracts with definitions

Contracts tend to have defined terms, and the definitions are often grouped in one place. When reading a contract, it’s helpful to read the defined term. It’s a nuisance having to scroll back to the defined term and then forward to the text you are reading. Use View/Split to create two panes for your document. You can scroll separately in each. Have the definitions in one pane, and the main text in the other. Better still, if you have two monitors, have definitions on one monitor and the main text on the other.

#4 Reinstating deleted text in a document with tracked changes

Microsoft ought to find a way to do this. Tracked changes show other readers what you have changed. Suppose a reviewer deletes text and you object to the deletion, so you want to show the text reinstated. The easiest way is to ‘Reject deletion’ but that won’t be apparent when you return the document, and it looks like you are being underhand. You need to (i) click ‘reject deletion’; (ii) Ctrl C to copy the text reinstated; (iii) undo the ‘reject deletion’; (iv) Ctrl V to paste back the text – which now appears as a tracked change.

#5 Avoid empty pages

If you insert a page break in an automated document, don’t be surprised if you occasionally get an output document with an empty page. Instead of inserting page breaks, go to the paragraph properties of the first paragraph of the text you want on a new page, and select ‘Page break before’.

 

 

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Suggestions for evaluating Legito implementers

Suggestions for evaluating Legito implementers

Jun 22 · 2 min read

Last time, we ventured our opinion on the traits needed to be a good Legito implementer. How do you evaluate those traits? We asked our consulting team how they find new colleagues to be part of our implementation team. The suggestions look like tests – but don’t present them as such. Run a workshop. Make feel like an experiment rather than a pass/fail opportunity.

 

#1 Ask us to help you

 If you are embark on a Legito implementation, we want you to succeed and enjoy the experience. If you would like our help or want to see what we use to evaluate candidates, just ask. No charge.

 

#2 Time limited automation task

Stipulate a task that involves simple document automation (building a template) combined with a simple workflow. Ask the candidate to attempt the task within a time-limited period. Ideally, tell the candidate to ask questions if they get stuck (we can make someone available if you don’t have someone with Legito skills).

Expect to learn:

  • How comfortable is the person attempting to learn a new solution?
  • How easy/difficult is it to grasp the basics?
  • How readily will the candidate ask for help when it’s available?

#3 Diagnose a deficient solution

Create a template with some flaws and a workflow that isn’t working correctly (ask us for help if you don’t have anything – but it’s better to use something from your business if you can). For example, create a template with formatting glitches and a workflow that does not perform as expected. Ask the candidate to look at the solution, identify defects, and suggest how to fix the problem.

 

#4 Create project success criteria

Ask the candidates to suggest a short set of success criteria for the proposed project. This is a business analysis task, not a technical task. You want to see criteria aligned to business objectives, that show an understanding of flaws in the prevailing process, and an intuitive understanding of what success looks like.

 

#5 Design your MVP

MVP = minimum viable project. An MVP is the simplest implementation that does something useful for the business. You want to see an initial project which is as small as possible. An MVP delivers a quick win, creates confidence, and is just enough to win support for a more expanded project. The candidate should identify a business process (just one) with a simple document without being simplistic.

#6 Create a project plan outline

This task requires thinking about the steps required and how they will be scheduled alongside business-as-usual activities. Expect to see steps involving representatives from stakeholders, not just technical Legito steps. You want a pace that is sufficient to build momentum without imposing unrealistic burdens on teams.

Suggestions for evaluating Legito implementers

Jun 22 · 2 min read

Last time, we ventured our opinion on the traits needed to be a good Legito implementer. How do you evaluate those traits? We asked our consulting team how they find new colleagues to be part of our implementation team. The suggestions look like tests – but don’t present them as such. Run a workshop. Make feel like an experiment rather than a pass/fail opportunity.

 

#1 Ask us to help you

 If you are embark on a Legito implementation, we want you to succeed and enjoy the experience. If you would like our help or want to see what we use to evaluate candidates, just ask. No charge.

 

#2 Time limited automation task

Stipulate a task that involves simple document automation (building a template) combined with a simple workflow. Ask the candidate to attempt the task within a time-limited period. Ideally, tell the candidate to ask questions if they get stuck (we can make someone available if you don’t have someone with Legito skills).

Expect to learn:

  • How comfortable is the person attempting to learn a new solution?
  • How easy/difficult is it to grasp the basics?
  • How readily will the candidate ask for help when it’s available?

#3 Diagnose a deficient solution

Create a template with some flaws and a workflow that isn’t working correctly (ask us for help if you don’t have anything – but it’s better to use something from your business if you can). For example, create a template with formatting glitches and a workflow that does not perform as expected. Ask the candidate to look at the solution, identify defects, and suggest how to fix the problem.

 

#4 Create project success criteria

Ask the candidates to suggest a short set of success criteria for the proposed project. This is a business analysis task, not a technical task. You want to see criteria aligned to business objectives, that show an understanding of flaws in the prevailing process, and an intuitive understanding of what success looks like.

 

#5 Design your MVP

MVP = minimum viable project. An MVP is the simplest implementation that does something useful for the business. You want to see an initial project which is as small as possible. An MVP delivers a quick win, creates confidence, and is just enough to win support for a more expanded project. The candidate should identify a business process (just one) with a simple document without being simplistic.

#6 Create a project plan outline

This task requires thinking about the steps required and how they will be scheduled alongside business-as-usual activities. Expect to see steps involving representatives from stakeholders, not just technical Legito steps. You want a pace that is sufficient to build momentum without imposing unrealistic burdens on teams.

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