I have never been more optimistic about the future of document assembly than today. After years of retrenchment and stagnation, the market is full of new energy and ferment. HotDocs is under new management, but it is not clear what direction it will be taking. On the desktop, XpressDox has been launched by key developers formerly of Korbitec, developers of GhostFill. At $150/user, a free full-functioning trial downloads, a full powered syntax markup that requires NO component file and automatically determines relevance, there is some real new energy on the desktop level.
On the server level, it is even more exciting. Most document assembly server systems started at $25,000 and then went up into the statosphere. At those prices, document assembly servers were the exclusive domain of large corporations and large firms, or used as publishing platforms. The software, from Exari, Business-Integrity, and LexisNexis was very powerful, but often required, in addition to cost extensive domain knowledge in configuring and hardening a web-server, beefy hardware requirement, and large bandwidth. Changes in management at HotDocs and Exari, as well as changes in direction at Business-Integrity could soon change that equation.
The first out of the gate with a solution for the “uncommon attorney” and little guy is Business Integrity. It has taken its powerful DealBuilder document assembly and relevance engine and rebranded, repackaged, and re-engineered it to function in the CLOUD on a hosted SAAS basis. With the release of ContractExpress this week, Business Integrity, has thrown down the gauntlet. For $195/month per user, you can now have world-class document assembly on the web. And, if you have never seen ContractExpress in action, it redefines document assembly in power and ease of use.
Disclosure: I am an independent document assembly specialist. That said. I am in the business of building document assembly systems. In the process, I resell software and do collect (depending on vendor arrangements) commissions on those sales. I currently am a partner with Business Integrity, and thus, if I am engaged to do consulting using ContractExpress, and my client signs up for ContractExpress, I will get a commission.
Back to ContractExpress. Several years ago I reviewed DealBuilder for Technolawyer. A copy of that review is on my website and LinkedIn profile. Two years ago, I previewed a version of DealBuilder in London during a trip there, the version that has become ContractExpress. ContractExpress is a fully powered system that supports all you would expect from a document assembly engine. What is exciting about ConractExpress is that the power is “hidden” behind a vastly simplified interface. The interface just works. It allows incredibly rapid template development. Between the ContractExpress “ribbon” in Word 2007 and the task panel list of components, you can do all your development without ever leaving your word processor.
Take ContractExpress out for a spin— Click Here and let me know if you have any questions. Over the next few months, I will be taking a much closer look at ContractExpress, as well as posting tips and syntax guidelines in a new section of our blog.