BT: Automated triage and SharePoint document assembly

chris-fowler-btBT Legal is currently trialling a numerical decision framework to triage work coming into the department, as it separately begins rolling out an extensive Microsoft SharePoint-based document assembly tool to the business. The move comes as BT emerges as one of the early corporate adopters of RAVN Systems, in a move said to be saving the telecoms giant “tens of millions of pounds.”
Currently BT Legal uses a Belfast-based employee from its legal process outsourcer Axiom to review around 50 requests a day for legal contracts, which come in to Axiom’s proprietary end-to-end contract management platform IRIS. The employee diverts more complex work to BT Legal, while more routine and less complex work will be handled by the LPO. However, BT Legal is currently trialling an automated concierge, which, based on answers given by those requesting the contract to a series of drop down options, will grade contracts between 1-5 and divert them automatically.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, BT general counsel TSO & UK commercial, Chris Fowler (pictured), said: “You might have a NDA on counterparty paper and score that as a one and the system will send the request to the appropriate place. But if it’s very complex that would be a five and the system will send it automatically to BT Legal.”
The pilot comes as BT Legal on 1 November launched Document Wizard, its own SharePoint-based document assembly tool, which is currently being used by the procurement team with the feedback “overwhelmingly positive,” according to Fowler.
Users generate multi-clause contracts by selecting different dropdown options, including the project name, document type, supplier and liability cap. Each dropdown option provides guidance if required and each section of the contract has a red light until it has been addressed, when it changes to green. Once all provisions of the contract have been addressed, the contract is built and can be executed with DocuSign.
The system has generated around 120 contracts for 60 users since its launch. Fowler said: “We are giving the business training and the tools so they don’t need to come to legal and can generate customized contracts themselves.”
The plan is to roll out the new platform to the BT sales team next.
BT, a former OpenText customer, uses SharePoint for its intranet, document management system, workflow tools and purpose built apps. Fowler said: “When we spoke to our internal tech team they said ‘if you spend the time we can help you build the system’. We fed our guy internally with all the legal information, involved trial users and worked with the technology team to get the configuration right. We thought it could be done in three months but in reality it has taken nine, it inevitably takes longer than you originally anticipate.”
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, BT central operations head of suppliers & systems, Keith Thomson, who spearheaded the project from an IT perspective, said: “What we’re not trying to do is have something complicated. The business wants something simple to build the contract into a nicely formatted document that contains all the approved text and that they can be comfortable is all up to date. We can build on its functionality in the future and plan to integrate it into our Salesforce CRM.
“Where SharePoint takes the functionality to a certain level, the legal team is still looking at other solutions to automate our very complex agreements over potentially multiple products. I’m not sure the solution exists yet, we’re waiting for the market to become a bit more advanced.”
This story first appeared in the Legal IT Insider December newsletter – sign up for your free copy to be delivered into your inbox by clicking the following link
See also: BT launches damages app