Spotlight: iConfide by CEFC

Each month, we spotlight one of our favourite Josef bots.

This month, we’re profiling iConfide, a bot which helps the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) automate and streamline the process of drafting confidentiality agreements with its counterparties.

The CEFC is a specialist investor focused on Australia’s successful transition to a low carbon economy.

We sat down with CEFC Legal Director Leigh Cooper and Business Analyst Joey Chan, to discuss their iConfide bot, which is built on and powered by Josef.

Tell us about iConfide and why you decided to build it?

Leigh Cooper: iConfide is a bot that allows external parties to directly enter their information and download a Confidentiality Agreement they can sign and return to us.

We’d been looking at the documents we repeatedly use and were convinced there had to be a simpler and lower friction way to get this done. We wanted it to be easier for the people who need to sign these agreements, and also more streamlined for our teams and our internal processes.

Signing these documents is often one of our earliest interactions with external parties and we want those relationships to start in a positive and professional way.

Leigh Cooper wanted a simpler and lower friction process for the CEFC's confidentiality agreements

Leigh Cooper wanted a simpler and lower friction process for the CEFC's confidentiality agreements

What does it do differently, compared to your previous process?

Leigh: Previously a member of our Investment team would ask the Legal team for a copy of a Request for Information document, which we’d fill out, send back to the Investment team, then to external parties. And then they would send it on to their own legal teams, and it would all go backwards and forwards. Apart from being time consuming, there was always the risk that important documents could get lost in inboxes, or relevant people could be away, creating unnecessary delays and frustration. It didn’t feel very modern or efficient.

With iConfide, for the first time, external parties can input directly into our documentation, which is exciting! Apart from being more efficient, it’s also an important bonus when it comes to accuracy, with the clients able to include the exact details required.

How did you find the building experience?

Leigh: I did the first cut the way a lawyer would, starting on page one and going through all the variables in that order. Joey and Sam [Co-founder at Josef] were then able to suggest grouping the content in a way that made sense for users. It’s a different way of thinking and I’m pleased that we were able to understand the documents and the user needs much better at the end of it.

“Josef has been a really good way for the CEFC to apply a human-centred design philosophy to what had been a time consuming and frustrating process around these important documents.”
– Joey Chan, Business Analyst at Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)

Joey: Josef has been a really good way for the CEFC to apply a human-centred design philosophy to what had been a time consuming and frustrating process around these important documents. There have been real benefits to involving a variety of people in the development process and getting them to contribute to building and testing.

Leigh: Sam and Henry [Legal technology lead at Josef] have been awesome, running sessions with the broader CEFC Legal team and letting us play around with the technology. It’s really helped us through the process.

How did you manage questions around security and flexibility?

Joey: You have to weigh up the efficiencies and what you’re safeguarding. You have to ask yourself, why do we do this as a manual process? We wanted to offer a self-serve process and we knew this would require strong security and permissions.

Leigh: It worked out really well. Data security and privacy of personal information were key considerations for us when choosing to work with Josef.

Joey Chan has seen real benefits in getting users involved in the development process

Joey Chan has seen real benefits in getting users involved in the development process

The Josef team understand the importance of keeping confidential (and personal) data secure. If you have a document in the bot that is password protected or has restrictions on editing, the bot insertions are all in clean text, but any additional amendments show tracking. It’s also allowed us to draw out what we require to complete the document, and where we’re able to be flexible.

For example, while we normally have a confidentiality period of three years, we’ve added four or five years as a variable into the bot. This minimises the time we’d spend negotiating or reviewing the confidentiality period and is better for external parties as it makes the documentation process more efficient.

How is the bot going so far, and what kind of feedback have you received?

Joey: We launched it at the end of September, after a two month beta testing period. I think it’s been going well so far.

“Anyone who has bought anything online has seen a chatbot in some form. With iConfide we’re excited to be able to take that everyday experience and show how a bot can make a valid contribution to the way we prepare legal documentation. ”
– Leigh Cooper, Legal Director at Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)

Leigh: It’s still early days, but clients have been really positive, telling us that it’s innovative and easy to use. Anyone who has bought anything online has seen a chatbot in some form. With iConfide we’re excited to be able to take that everyday experience and show how a bot can make a valid contribution to the way we prepare legal documentation.

What advice would you give to new builders?

Leigh: You have to understand why you’re doing it and always go back to this question of “why”. Before you start playing with the technology, be sure to identify a real use case and understand what the case is and what the right technology solution should be. That approach has really added value for us in developing iConfide.

Joey: As the business analyst, develop a partnership with the team you’re working with, so people don’t see it as a ‘tech thing’, but as something that will really help them and their business. Get the users involved as part of the development and keep checking that the technology solution is really addressing the business problem.

What’s next for CEFC in your transformation journey?

Joey: We’re already looking at other contracts that could also benefit from this approach.

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