Automation is becoming more and more talked about, but what is it and what does it mean for legal technology. We talk to Karl, one of our development team leaders and a senior developer, today about what automation means and what future he sees for it.
What does automation mean to you?
In essence, getting rid of all of the boring things someone has to do. For example, sending updates to third parties is much more efficient, quicker and reliable if it can be done by the system rather than waiting for a person to do it.
Do you see a difference between automation and current AI technology?
I think there's a difference between backend and frontend AI. Backend AI is just rebranded automation (it sounds fancier). The difference is with front end API - the human to machine interface with AI. Frontend AI has a good understanding of people and how they talk, rather than just specific instructions, which makes it very flexible when you compare it to automation which will follow a limited path.
It's quite exciting, if not a little scary, to see how quickly this area of AI has come and it'll be really interesting to see what's next for it and how we can use it.
How do you see automation fitting into Expedites current products?
I can see automation fitting into all of our products. As a minimum, every product we have will at some point include a chase action if it's had no response. At the moment this is a manual step for someone to take, but we could very easily automate this so the chase happens without prompt; in fact this is something we're working on with our product suite now.
If we look at PortalPlex specifically, which already has some limited automation, we can use automation to look at client responses to questionnaires and based on the responses advance the transaction (creating specific documents, calling third parties, chasing for responses). We could get to a point where the client ends up being the driver for the transaction, rather than it being internal staff at a the wheel.
Provided we have a solid data flow, ideally from hitting third party APIs to gather it, there's nothing stopping us implementing automation in all processes.
Where do you see automation fitting in with law firms?
Any law firm that wants to compete in the 21st century is going to need to get behind automation.
Any process where someone is being paid to compare data or even just click a button to trigger an event can be automated. This doesn't mean cutting staff numbers, but instead making sure they're focusing on the tasks that are worthwhile and better fit their skill set.
It will also make things more efficient - if one person has to click a button to trigger an action they'll be limited to how quickly they can click that button. An automated system could trigger an exponential amount more actions purely because it doesn't have to wait; it can just go. This also means that, during busy periods, you don't need to look at an increased workforce as the automated tool will just pick up the extra work (and vice versa for a down turn).
Another crucial thing automation will avoid is human error (because it's not human). As long as the data in the system is good and accurate (and we have ways to make sure it is) then there's no risk of wrong data being sent out or clogging up the system.
Thanks Karl! If you want to know more about how Expedite can implement automation within your firm to maximise your efficiency then let us know and we'll start a conversation.