Like many organisations, this leading Financial Services operator found it challenging to manage all its information in one place. Knowledge often resided within key individuals, and it was easy for content and legal references to get out of date, styles and branding to be inconsistently applied and out of step with the organisation’s current style guide.

It took a new employee commencing at the organisation to draw attention to the amount of time needed to pull together the same basic content and the reformatting effort required to prepare standard compliance documents, which should have been more manageable and efficient.

The organisation took up the challenge to make significant process efficiencies by standardising content and making it available to users in a more structured manner. The first step was to cleanse and collate a massive content library which highlighted the fact that a small number of core documents were used regularly. With the assistance of MacroView ClauseBank and the document automation specialists at MacroView, these were converted into a “shopping cart” of drafting options.

Tailoring the solution

For several years, the organisation had worked with MacroView DMF as its email and document management system using Microsoft SharePoint. This was an opportunity to tap into their world-class document automation capability.

MacroView worked with the client to develop a suite of brand-compliant templates in Microsoft Word using Microsoft Content Controls. Intuitive instructions mean that users can work through their documents in situ and be prompted for inputs in context.

The fact that controls are linked also means that the user only needs to enter the same piece of information once to be splashed across the entire document and package of documents created, reducing the number of user inputs and clicks.

And as many critical documents are extremely time sensitive, the right templates are immediately on hand, ensuring that the team can save time searching through a file share looking for the correct document to draw from.

Getting it right

MacroView worked closely with the organisation to configure the environment to deliver the optimum user experience. Many challenges needed to be addressed and fine-tuned along the way. For example, when the organisation first started testing the system in UAT, there were 25-second delays to open clauses discovered to be caused by a security layer in their infrastructure that needed to be resolved.

They also needed to manage change by giving users time to adjust and trial the templates and respond to their concerns. The project leader noted that they received more than 100 email comments on changes made to the footer for one key document alone. “There is no way around it – these issues need to be properly vented. To stay agile, we needed to think in squiggly lines rather than take a linear approach. We often had many pots on the boil at once, and whichever one sung first would often dictate my work for the day”.

The core design principles adopted to drive the project included:

  • Principle 1: User experience
    It had to be intuitive, make users work faster and be tailored to the way they work.
  • Principle 2: Make the creation process iterative
    It is impossible to get things right the first time. The organisation needed to allow itself to make mistakes and to seek collaborative feedback from stakeholders.
  • Principle 3: Give it a life of its own
    The system needed to be decentralised and work by itself. The system should focus on subject matter experts who have ownership over the content, but everyone should be involved in continually updating the knowledge.

Delivering results

Getting everyone on board with the new and improved way of doing things took time. The project leader delivered many internal presentations and invested significant time listening to the business needs and concerns of the various stakeholders. This paid off when the feedback from users was that they found the new system intuitive and easy to work with.

After the initial success with the first templates, the focus shifted to additional documents, including checklists, letters, management papers, and various other templates and content. Making sure that the content library was comprehensive enough for users to trust as their single source of truth whilst being flexible enough to adapt different content to the needs of the drafting situation was always a key focus.

The other constant was managing the fine line between providing users with the right balance of document automation without over-engineering the technical solution.