Whether you’re just starting on your automation journey or are well on your way into the world of digitalization, no doubt you’ve come across the topic of integrations. The power of integration is real and even if you haven’t implemented one as part of solution you’ve been involved in, you’ve likely used one before – perhaps your Zoom or Teams account is integrated with your email provider so that you can add virtual meeting links when sending a calendar invite, or your Slack is connected to your Outlook calendar so that your status is automatically set to ‘in a meeting’.
The Integration Advantage
The reasons, broadly, to integrate are usually much the same as why you might be on a digital transformation journey in the first place. But integrations are usually one step deeper into the fold. More efficiency, more optimisation. They often form a key part of digital transformation, as they help achieve a lot of the goals of that transformation. Unifying silos for example. Reducing costs, because you’re not requiring two vendors to perform the same functions, and you’re able to maximize the value of existing subscriptions. Optimising processes so that you’re using the right software for the right things – where one software option has a gap, you can leverage another software in it’s place. This also means unlocking possibilities that wouldn’t be possible with just the one software platform.
Using the same systems for the same functionalities across the business also reduces the learning curve on new software, for example you could keep using the same customer relationship management (CRM) software but where it lacks a functionality, you could outsource that to another platform to perform logic or calculations in the background, without the user being taken out of the CRM interface they are familiar with.
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. During a sales discussion, we’re often asked who we integrate with. Technically, the answer is ‘anything with a REST API’. Which basically means, if a software platform is set up to support modern integrations, then we can integrate with them. Which in today’s day and age is fast becoming every software vendor. Sometimes though, that answer is so broad it’s hard to get practical and start envisaging what that actually means. So let’s get specific, what sorts of integrations are our customers building in their Neota solutions?
1. Large Language Models (e.g. (Chat)GPT)
It would be hard not to start here given the current hype and discussion around large language models (LLMs). ChatGPT is certainly one of the more popular ‘AI assistant’s’, which is sitting on an LLM. There’s a lot of discussion around how to practically leverage AI, and integrations is certainly one option. A common use case for integrating an AI assistant would be into customer service and support, acting as a frontline for your services within your website. When we integrated with ChatGPT we looked at it in the context of what might help our customers optimise and improve efficiency in creating solutions with Neota. So we threw a few ideas at ChatGPT (we even asked ChatGPT for some ideas), and found it opened up possibilities around the blank slate problem – i.e. how to get started with building your idea.
What we ended up building was a solution in Neota, where a user can enter their use case idea, anything from determining compliance with the Corporate Transparency Act, to onboarding a new hire. Then ChatGPT comes up with questions for the user, a requirements document, test cases, and a marketing blog post about it. Has it now automated the whole solution building process? No. You want to ensure it’s asking the right questions, and there’s a certain style it tends to write in. You also need the logic. But you get a first draft, and you can give it feedback and get a pretty decent second draft. So, assistant seems an appropriate phrase for now.
Interested in knowing more about this integration? Watch our webinar recording here.
2. Natural Language Processing, Contract Analytics
Before the hype of LLMs, was the hype of natural language processing (NLP) software, and they’re still very much around. The most common way we’ve seen customers integrating NLPs with Neota, is to first have their NLP software analyze their contracts, and then send that analysis to Neota to provide reasoning and reporting. For example, you take a set of company policies and have an NLP like Kira review them against existing policies and perform a gap analysis to identify if they are compliant. Then, you can pass on this analysis to Neota, and have a user review the analysis, or you could use reasoning to determine common threads amongst the non-compliant documents, and then generate a report at the conclusion summarising the results and progress to the next steps in the process.
Another style of NLP goes deeper into analysis of the text itself – such as Dandelion and Textrazor, which we’ve integrated with to provide sentiment analysis on content. They can take content and summarise it, so in the report above in Neota, you could provide a concise summary of all of the contracts that have been ingested into the system. They can also tell you if the content is positive, negative or neutral – perhaps more applicable if your Neota solution is performing some market research or gathering customer feedback. In that way, you can get a quick read and overview of thousands of pieces of feedback, doing qualitative analysis without having to read through the responses.
3. Data Insights and Analysis
Almost all solutions created in Neota generate data. Data that can help uncover historical trends and insights into your users, how they’re using your solution and also help predict and adapt to shifting markets. Integrating with data analysis tools like Tableau and Power BI can take the data from your solutions and enable you to visually understand, manipulate and present that data. Our customers have often used integrations like these to create real-time analytics, so that you can make data-driven decisions swiftly, and to create easily digestible, insightful, and usually great-looking reports to management that help show the value of the solution you’ve built. You can also use those insights to continuously improve your solution – by understanding how your users are interacting with your solution, or where they are dropping out, you can target your improvements and amendments in the most useful areas.
4. Document Management
Another popular integration with customers is connecting into their document management system (DMS), such as HighQ, NetDocuments, iManage, and Box. Often customers will generate hundreds or thousands of documents through a Neota solution, and whilst some customers choose to store their documents with us, many customers already have DMS’s in place, and want to ensure consistency in terms of locating and organizing their documents. The simplest of these types of integrations is where a document is generated within Neota, and then is stored at the conclusion of the solution, in the DMS. However, customers can also choose to integrate more tightly with Neota, where every stage of the document is stored and version controlled in their DMS. So, as the user journeys through editing, negotiating or signing a document in Neota, behind the scenes a version of that document is stored at each update for full oversight.
5. Digital Signatures
Flowing on from integrating with DMS’s is another stage of the document lifecycle – the execution of agreements. These agreements can be documents automated in Neota, or simply documents uploaded directly into their Neota solution. This style of integration is a good example of where we’re outsourcing to leverage a functionality that isn’t in the Neota platform natively. Rather than develop another e-signature platform, we can connect to the major players in the e-signature world such as DocuSign, Adobe Sign, and OneSpan Sign. These are, perhaps surprisingly, some of the more intricate integrations – with a lot of technical work happening behind the scenes to ensure that signatures are applied correctly, by the correct parties, and tracked at every step. By building these into your solution, it saves the labour intensive process of manual signing – adding on digital signatures accelerates the pace of business, and enhances security and compliance.
6. Identity Verification
Another mechanism of enhancing security of a solution is via incorporating identity verification through third party platforms. This can come in the form of Single Sign On, which operates a little differently to our integrations, but is also heavily used by customers to enhance security and ease of access. It can also come in the form of an integration with identity verification platforms such as greenID, where users may be asked to upload identification documents in their Neota solution, and are passed through a verification process in the background. We’ve seen these sorts of integrations particularly in sectors like Government where identity verification is a pre-requisite for services, or for example, when creating legally binding documents for consumers.
7. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Connecting your systems with CRM giants like Salesforce and HubSpot ensures that customer interactions are not isolated events. We’ve seen integrations at both ends of a solution – you might need to pull information in from your CRM into your Neota solution to save data re-entry and reduce mistakes, or you might create entries based on intake forms from a Neota solution. The rationale behind these integrations however almost always focuses on enhancing data flow, reducing clutter and improving consistency between systems. This results in better quality data, and so more informed decision-making, personalized customer experiences, and ultimately, improved customer satisfaction.
8. Matter Management
For legal professionals, integrating with matter management systems can enhance case and matter tracking. There are a lot of similarities here with integrations with CRM – the focus on optimizing the flow of data, and ensuring consistency between systems, and reducing double handling. The use cases we’ve seen customers employ these types of integrations also echo CRM integrations, where, for example, a solution gathers intake information through a Neota solution, and then sends that to Xakia, which is their matter management system. From a user’s perspective, this integration happens in the background, so there’s no need to jump between systems. However, the customer can still retain Xakia as their source of truth – so you can have one team using a Neota solution to onboard customers, or undertake tasks for existing customers, but all other teams still see the same data created at the end, in the same system.
The integration with Xakia is also a good example where sometimes, two platforms can perform the same task within a broader workflow. As a specific example, both Xakia and Neota can notify individuals on specific events. So when a new matter is created in Xakia, either Xakia or Neota can notify the individuals – and it’s always worth examining what the optimum result is for the end user. If the organisation is already accustomed to notifications from their current matter management platform, then it likely makes sense to retain that approach. Giving consideration to these sorts of decision, and really focusing on creating the optimal workflow for users helps teams avoid the tech pitfall of replacing old manual processes with new manual processes, and instead benefit from fully integrated systems.
Depending on your target users and business plan for your solution, you may want to include a paywall within your solution. By integrating a payment system, such as Stripe, you can keep your user within the Neota solution, and at any point (usually as late as possible) require them to provide payment details in order to progress, and receive the end result (advice, a document, etc). You can control the cost, and even use logic to set the cost – for example we’ve seen customers set the cost based on the complexity of their circumstances, and also apply discounts based on membership of particular groups.
10. Google Suite and the Microsoft Ecosystem
Whilst Microsoft and Google have products that fall under some of the categories already discussed, their products are often thought of as a separate suite. And many of the integrations that we’ve done with them don’t neatly fit under other categories – for example leveraging Google translate to automatically translate your question text, explanatory text, hints, documents and so on, into other languages. Or using Microsoft 365 as a launch point for solutions – we had a customer create a solution that takes their users from an email to launching a solution via an embedded button, so that when the solution launches it has the context of that email read in to reduce duplicate data entry and ensure the right logic is applied.
Other integrations in the suites do fall more so under the previously discussed categories, such as SharePoint following closely with our DMS solutions, where we’ve had customers store their automated documents in SharePoint, as well as read documents from SharePoint as a template, or reference point.
What will be your next integration?
There are undoubtedly a lot of integrations to get your head around, and test out. The good news is – you can take these a step at a time. Many of our customers start with their Neota solution alone, and then over time weave in the integrations to their existing software. This creates a constant pipeline of improvements, so that you’re immediately getting the value of the solution itself, and then increasing efficiency, the user experience, and general sophistication of business operations with each additional integration.
The above integrations are only a toe dip into the sea of integration options that you could integrate into your Neota solution with today. The excitement around ChatGPT and similar innovations serves as a bit of a beacon. It is bringing the spotlight to all sorts of integration possibilities. And it highlights that integrations are more than just about fitting into the existing system; it’s about unlocking new possibilities, and charting a course toward a more connected and efficient future.
If it’s all a bit daunting, remember that we have out of the box building blocks, which enable you to add integrations into your solution without needing to understand any of the technical complexity behind it. And of course, always feel free to reach out to discuss your integration idea.
And if you’re itching for more on this front – stay tuned to learn a bit more about how you can use Neota as an ‘integration hub’, connecting all of the pieces of the puzzle together.