What should the price be for ONLINE document assembly

If you are reading this blog/blawg/weblog, you get “document assembly”.  You understand its power as a productivity multiplier.  You know how it transforms the practice of law and business.  You see the tangible results in improved work product and faster turnaround.  THAT IS GOOD.  But have you factored in the cost of deployment.  You can have “cheap” desktop software which allows you to make the system available to a limited group at very low cost.  But what happens to that cost when you wish to extend the benefits of automation to a wider group, say 20 to 50 users, maybe 100 to 500 users. It is then that the economies of scale weigh in favor of buying a ROBUST web-server based document assembly system.  There is a middle step of deploying the desktop software through Citrix or Terminal Services, but even such approach requires configuration costs, maintaining profiles and updates and the other consequent costs of an individual deployment and support.

The current price ratio of single desktop client to a server client, factoring software cost only is 100 to 1, assuming a $30,000 server vs. a $300 desktop.  However, one should consider a number of other factors.  (1) Cost of installing software and configuring it on EACH desktop times the number of deployments vs. cost of installing on and configuring a single web/application server. (2) Cost of applying updates and patches to EACH desktop times the number of deployments vs. cost of applying patches to a SINGLE web-server.  (3) Cost of maintaining each workstation with sufficient hardware and memory to run “full client” applications vs. cost of maintaining each workstation with sufficient hardware to run a basic “web-browser”.  (4) Cost of maintaining land updating libraries of templates on each workstation and/or central file server vs. cost of uploading “updated” templates to a single Web Server. (5) Inability to “invite” outsiders who do not have the “fat client” software to use the system vs. ability to invite clients and others to enter their data through a secure web connection.

Once you start factoring in all of these costs into your equation, and once you start looking at deployments of more than 20 users, the case for ONLINE document assembly becomes less a matter of “price” and more a matter of preference.  If you are interested in ONLINE document assembly, please give us a call.  We offer development services in Exari, DealBuilder and HotDocs.