Increased contractual complexity is getting up into the vicinity of “Death and Taxes”… Just have a look at the iPhone Ts and Cs from the latest software update – it would take you a week to read, by which time the next software release would be available…

To put things in perspective, consider the contract for one of the top ten construction projects of the 20th Century – the Hoover Dam. Constructed in 1931, that contract comprised 172 pages with just eight defined terms. EIGHT!!! You could have memorised them… Now consider an average sized Public-Private Partnership or PFI project in 2018. For example, a school, a major road, a hospital etc. You’re looking at 13,500 pages of contracts. 5,000 defined terms which are referenced 100,000 times throughout the suite of documents.

Forget worrying about which organs you may have just agreed to donate to Apple in exchange for the latest camera bug-fix (at least until after work – its all of them, btw) – think about what you might be missing in the contract your team just executed. Are you going to have the time to familiarise yourself with all 13,500 pages or the 4,500 obligations contained therein? Don’t forget the amendments, and of course the contract guidance that the legal team drew up. How are you going to find anything in all of that?

How do you find a needle in a haystack?

With a REALLY big magnet. The type you’d find when using intelligent document formatted (IDF) contracts. You could spend a week sifting through each result in order, with the trusty old word processor or pdf search, if you have a fully-conformed version of the contract… and a week to spare. But consider the benefits of IDF documents. Fully conformed, up to date contracts that sit in the cloud, ready for you to search within and across in an instant.

IDF documents are interactive, allowing you to run searches across individual documents or an entire library of documents. A swathe of filters allows you to narrow your search to a group of documents, or even a group of clauses within a specific contract. Search functions then allow you to tailor your search even further, retrieving multiple search terms at once, or finding results that appear relative to other terms (think searching for “Liability” near “Limitation”, or for all tenses of “Indemnity”). You can even save live searches to refer back to at any time.

An IDF search is to [CTR]+[F] what a Tesla is to a remote control car. Contract complexity is growing exponentially. Unlike Death and Taxes, you can mitigate against complexity…

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