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Using SaaS to Draft and Manage Financial Documents
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By Troy Horton

For years, all companies regardless of their size have suffered the pains and raising costs that accompany deploying and maintaining traditional software applications that, ironically, were intended to make them more productive. Today, the trend is finally changing as new kinds of Web-based services are gaining popularity and pushing legacy applications aside; thus, giving users the business benefits they've been wanting.

This new form of technology, called software-as-a-service (SaaS), is changing the way businesses are communicating and managing documents. The developments in the SaaS arena can benefit small to medium sized businesses because of the increased functionality, not to mention the lower cost and less risk associated with implementing the application.

AMI Partners, a research firm that specializes in the small and medium business market, recently said this about the growth of software-as-services vendors, and where they are focused:

“The number of vendors offering software-as-service (SaaS) solutions has grown exponentially over the past few years, we estimates that there are currently over 500 such vendors in North America. While most providers have concentrated on horizontal business application markets — e.g., customer relationship management and human resources — AMI-Partners’ research points to a growing number that offers SaaS solutions tailored to the needs of vertical industries. Offerings are proliferating at an especially rapid pace in the construction, healthcare and financial services sectors.”

As AMI points out, SaaS is growing rapidly in the financial services industry mainly changing the way the market is managing and collaborating on documents. For example, documents dealing with financial transactions like mergers and acquisitions have quite an extensive lifecycle, not to mention multiple lawyers, bankers and accountants all collaborating on one document. Traditionally, the process for financial related documents starts out with a business wanting to create some type of legal document, whether it be an initial public offerings, or big dollar contract agreements. With this, third-party outside validation is required; generally a lawyer or accountant will oversee various components of this process.

In the past, the lawyer and client each host their documents on their own servers and manually send the document changes back and forth until they repurpose another proof. At this point, the transaction becomes a lot more complicated. Bankers get involved which means not only are they involved but also their lawyers and accountants. The working group begins to get unwieldy as more and more working group members are wrapped into managing the document collaboration lifecycle.

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Troy Horton is the CEO of LIBAC.
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