Re: doc management for contracts?

Subject: Re: doc management for contracts?
From: "Bill Hall" <bill -dot- hall -at- hotkey -dot- net -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 22:42:18 +1000


On Wednesday Jamie Ker asked:

"Would somebody pls recommend doc management software suitable for indexing
contracts and then searching through them? I guess Word woud do, but I
wonder if there's a snazzy product that might do it better."

The question I have for Jamie is how much further he wants to go with moving
contracts into a CMS environment? There are a wide range of CMS systems that
can help.

I have only now had time to answer, but since Australians have (and are)
dealing with this question very effectively, I think it is worth answering
the question. Also, since we are doing things in the CMS / knowledge
management area that go well beyond serving content to the Web. What follows
is a rather Australian chauvinistic blurb about how I have personally been
using some of our world-leading CMS products (by the way, I am an ex
American who ended up working for Australia's largest defence contractor as
a documentation systems analyst).

First, we have a very snazzy product that works far better than anything M$
offers.

For the last 10 years, Tenix has been using an Australian developed product
called ISYS (http://www.isys.com.au/) to index RFTs, contracts and other
specified document sets (e.g., 10,000 maintenance routines for the ANZAC
Class frigates we are building for the Australian and New Zealand Navies).
The product is readily available in the US, Canada and much of the world
(check out their location page).

10 years ago when I first implemented it, ISYS was able to index every file
on our corporate network into a very compact and intelligent index structure
(which the then management thought was too dangerous), so we only ever used
it for RFT documents, contracts, and a few places in the logistics
documentation world. For the contractual documents we regularly used it as
an analysis tool to track requirements, definitions, etc., and to be sure
that we had answered all of them.)

Currently, I am piloting an XML-based contract precedent development and
precedent-based authoring system developed by the Melbourne company,
SpeedLegal (http://www.speedlegal.com), which will use initially for small
but very frequently produced contracts like non-disclosure and service
agreements. We are hoping to convince the Australian Defence procurement
agency to adopt an XML document exchange standard so we can do our major
contracts in the environment. SpeedLegal has North American office based in
Silicon Valley.

We are also working towards moving all our corporate documentation (legal
and otherwise) into the state of the art TeraText (http://www.teratext.com)
indexing and content management system developed by RMIT university. This is
being marketed in North America and Europe by SAIC. TeraText readily scales
from relatively small implementations like we are using for the ANZAC Ships
(where it replaces Isys and does everything else besides - see
http://www.tenix.com/PDFLibrary/91.pdf for my May 2001 Technical
Communication paper on the project) to terabyte text processing applications
in the North American and Australian defence intelligence systems (a little
searching of the Intelligence pages on http://www.fas.org site suggests
where the capabilities described on the TeraText pages may be used).

A consortium involving Tenix (as an end user), RMIT, SpeedLegal (as
developers), the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation -
CSIRO (as process designers), and the local trade organisation - Australian
Industry Defence Network are currently working to demonstrate the use of XML
exchange standards for contractual documentation. We are working closely
with the LegalXML eContracts Technical Committee of the international
standards body OASIS (see http://www.legalxml.org/ for the home page and
http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/legalxml-econtracts-discuss/ for the
discussion list) to support the development of a document exchange standard
for contracts that can be used in defence contracting to allow the documents
and content to be readily managed by CMS systems.

It has been a long time since I worked with ISYS, but I am working with
SpeedLegal's product and TeraText almost every day, so if you want more
information about them, please contact me off line.

Hope this helps

Bill Hall
Documentation Systems Analyst
Strategy and Development
Tenix Defence
Nelson House, Nelson Place
Williamstown, Vic. 3016
Australia
http://www.tenix.com
mailto:bill -dot- hall -at- tenix -dot- com
------------------------------------------
Information is not knowledge
Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is THE BEST
-----------------------------
(Zappa - Packard Goose)



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