Why automation is essential for the future of SMEs

From SME Technology Guide

You don’t have to look far to see an example of a company taking advantage of advanced technology within their business today. 

AUTTO founder, Ian Gosling looks at why automation is essential for the future of SMEs despite research suggesting that adoption rates among large enterprises are up to 10 times higher than in small businesses.  


Ian explainins how even the smallest of businesses can harness automation for better and why this is important as SMEs are operating in an increasingly challenging business environment, competing against larger players with bigger budgets and higher head-counts in turbulent economic times. 

Read the full article written by AUTTO founder Ian Gosling in the latest issue of SME Technology Guide

From Excel to interconnected workflows with new AUTTO feature

From Artificial Lawyer

It just got easier to streamline your data tables. 

Workflow automation company, Autto, has unveiled a new capability that allows you to leverage data tables to build multiple interconnecting workflows that update in real-time, rather than building isolated workflows, each with their own data source. 

As Autto explained to Artificial Lawyer, instead of using traditional, static spreadsheet platforms – such as Excel – in isolation, users of the platform can build and manage data sets within it. 

Co-founder, Ian Gosling said that corporate legal teams and law firms could take an Excel spreadsheet, perhaps that they had used in the past to record key data, move that into Autto’s platform and then run multiple workflows that connect to it. 

There is a growing interest in workflow systems – often referred to as no code or low code platforms – that include for example, Bryter, Neota Logic and Autologyx. 

In many cases these are used by clients to improve one very specific work process, and the ability to build an entire ecosystem of interconnected workflows would appear to be useful. 

As with other platforms of its type, Autto offers an intuitive visual interface that allows a user – without the need for any coding experience – to build a workflow. For example, creating a dialogue box on a desktop to guide a lawyer through a decision process to create a document, complete a form, or to approve an action and move a legal matter forward. 

Elements involved in these workflows can include, among others, triggers to send emails, or for esignature, to create PDFs, to introduce conditional gateways, and to connect to databases – as explored above. 

The goal is not to replace higher value tasks, but to provide ‘the plumbing’, as it were, to enable people to work more efficiently – and to leverage data already inside the business more effectively. 

But, what can be built is really up to the imagination of the users. Such tech can be leveraged to produce quite complex networks of workflows that are central to a business. 

Or, to sum up, as Max Cole, co-founder, said: ‘It has a transformative effect when data can be called on by different workflows.’

Beyond this new capability the company noted that the SME sector has not made much use of automation, even though in many cases it’s not that expensive to utilise workflow tools. 

Artificial Lawyer also asked Cole and Gosling about ‘no code’ i.e. zero coding needed vs ‘low code’ i.e. some coding input needed to build a workflow. 

Gosling replied that they prefer not to think in terms of either, though if they had to pick one it would be no code that best described them. The logic is that talking about code means looking at things from a developer’s perspective. The idea is to focus on data flows that a user is dealing with in their day-to-day work. 

For example, we’d never say: buy this phone, it’s a no-code phone – we just expect there to be no coding involved to use that piece of technology. In short, while there may be a ton of software beavering away behind the scenes, the user just wants things to work. 


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Legal Innovators: Max Cole, Autto – ‘Listen Very Carefully To Clients’

From Artificial Lawyer

Max Cole, co-founder of legal tech company, Autto, has picked up some important lessons about innovation on his journey. An English barrister, Cole formed the process automation company with SaaS specialist Ian Gosling and full-stack developer Krisztián Kerék, who serve as the company’s CEO and CTO respectively. The company specialises in the automation of legal processes, and also wants to make this type of technology more accessible to small and medium size businesses.The product evolved out of another piece of software they had worked on called affio, an easy to use online Wills platform, where they spotted the potential for something new.‘The principles that [applied] to that other piece of software could be extrapolated and made generally available,’ Cole tells Artificial Lawyer. ‘The realisation that we could put automation tools into the hands of lawyers, rather than coders, was a very exciting moment that has spurred us forward.’ Defining Innovation For Cole, innovation means finding a new way to deliver better services to clients. ‘I think of innovation as not necessarily requiring technology, and that it’s about doing things in a different and better way. Technology can be a means to doing that, but it isn’t always the case.’ And does he go along with the traditional trinity of ‘People, Process and Technology’ when it comes to driving innovation and change?‘You don’t jump to the technological solution, you have to involve people. You have to understand the process and then you decide what technology you can use to help solve the problem,’ he replies.‘I would say that in order of importance it’s: people, then process, then technology. If you do it the other way round, you end up with white elephants.’Knocking on Lawyers’ DoorsSpeaking of problems that need to be solved, he says one of the main challenges is that ‘lawyers … don’t always naturally understand or accept that there is an automation opportunity within their work.’He believes that most lawyers are trained to think of themselves as artisans and believe they are always providing unique or bespoke solutions to unique circumstances, ‘and that is not compatible with the notion that parts of what they do can be looked at as a process and automated’, he explains.

In addition, the business model of law firms, which is still generally to charge on the basis of a fee per hour, for the number of hours, ‘has been fantastically successful and remunerative [and] is not always compatible with finding innovative ways of doing things,’ he adds.So, how do you get over, or through, this deeply embedded cultural barrier? How has Cole approached what is in effect a request to think and act differently? How do you win a client’s confidence so you can actually change something about the way they work?‘The thing that we learnt very quickly was that you have to listen very carefully to your customer, and you have to be solving, or able to solve, real world problems for them,’ he says.‘It’s not good enough to simply say ‘look at my great technology, now you need to think about how you might deploy it.’’’Cole states you have to be a partner in an ongoing conversation with clients, listening ‘really carefully’ to what they are trying to do.Ultimately it seems that running a legal tech company is all about winning ‘hearts and minds’.The Road AheadLooking to the future, could there be a major change in how lawyers work as more innovation, such as automation of legal processes, beds down into firms? Cole believes, that inevitably, yes, it will happen.‘I think that over time technology is going to become more and more embedded in the core legal work that they are doing, rather than something that is just on the outside supporting it.‘The trend is definitely in that direction, because there are tools available which can make legal work easier, that’s the bottom line.‘But, I don’t think it’s necessarily a straight road, I think that lawyers are going to have to really be careful about identifying the problem they are trying [to] solve and then finding the right technology to solve that problem,’ he concludes.And, no doubt Cole hopes that one of the solutions they settle on is Autto. Of course, as he says, much will depend on winning their trust by listening very carefully to their needs and understanding the problems that they want to solve.By Irene MadongoMax Cole, co-founder of Autto, will be speaking at the Legal Innovators conference on 11 October, along with many other great speakers from law firms, inhouse legal teams, and tech companies. For more info see the link below. 

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Progressive Companies Recognized by 360Quadrants in the Legal AI Software Start-ups Quadrant


CHICAGO, Aug. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Corporate legal departments and law firms around the world have begun using legal AI technology to streamline their processes. Among other functions, AI-powered solutions gather and analyze legal information and predict future outcomes. Some other applications of Legal AI software include e-discovery, legal research, document review, due diligence, Intellectual Property (IP) management, compliance, case prediction, contract lifecycle management, divorce automation, e-billing, and knowledge management.

360Quadrants, the most granular comparison platform, has released a startup quadrant on Legal AI Software to help businesses make quicker and more informed decisions. This quadrant has placed PracticeLeague Legaltech, Luminance Technologies and Ross Intelligence in the progressive company space. 360Quadrants are generated post analysis of the product portfolios and business strategies of all companies in a particular space. Quadrants are updated every three months based on market and regional analyses and developments in the Legal AI Software segment.

Legal AI Software Quadrant Highlights

360Quadrants covers 25 startup companies in the Legal AI Software space and places them in a quadrant based on their quality, reliability, and business outcome. 22 of these companies are categorized as Progressive Companies, Responsive Companies, Dynamic Companies, and Starting Blocks.

360Quadrants recognizes PracticeLeague, Luminance Technologies, Leverton and Ross Intelligence as Progressive Companies; Lawpavilion as a Responsive Company; LegalRobot, Pensieve and Autto as Starting Blocks; and BrightFlag and Nalandar Technology as Dynamic Companies. The 360Quadrants platform provides the most granular comparisons of Legal AI Software startup vendors.

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From Business Cloud

Automation provider Autto has raised $1m in funding through a combination of UK government grant funds, angel investment and participation from UK legal platform Tangible.

The funding will be used to evolve the London firm’s SaaS platform, which is designed to deliver simple automation.

The funds will also fuel further research, in partnership with the University of Exeter, into the adoption of ‘lawtech’.

Autto’s technology is designed to automate routine tasks, enabling staff, and is targeted at professional sector organisations keen to embrace emerging technologies.

Ian Gosling, CEO and co-founder of Autto said, “This funding announcement is a huge milestone in Autto’s journey. It signifies a growing appetite for our solution and an affirmation of the need for simple-to-implement technologies in the workplace.

“We have great ambitions for the company and this funding will help us to expand our capabilities and help our customers on their automation journeys.”

Robert Reynolds, Founder & CEO at Tangible added: “Autto provides a simple yet effective solution to the needs of our internal and external clients.”

Co-founders Ian Gosling, Max Cole and Krisztián Kerék have sustained interest from angel investors led by serial technology angel, Sean Phelan, demonstrating a continued confidence in the success of Autto.

New investment from Tangible was secured after the company trialled Autto’s solution on existing Fortune 500 clients.

“We’ve seen first-hand the benefits derived from the creation of its workflows, and we wanted to play a part in its future development.”

“Autto provides organisations with a dynamic platform to automate the necessary to enable the exceptional. To drive adoption, Tangible will be building out a library of workflows (what we call Catalysts) and launching them into the market in the coming months in partnership with Autto.

“We are excited about the possibilities of working with Autto to help drive the next stage of its journey.”

View full article here


Why automation is essential for the future of SMEs

From SME Technology Guide

We have been featured in the latest issue of the SME Technology Guide. Take a look below for an overview of what Ian Gosling covers in this informative article.

You don’t have to look far to see an example of a company taking advantage of advanced technology within their business today.

AUTTO founder, Ian Gosling looks at why automation is essential for the future of SMEs despite research suggesting that adoption rates among large enterprises are up to 10 times higher than in small businesses.  


Ian explainins how even the smallest of businesses can harness automation for better and why this is important as SMEs are operating in an increasingly challenging business environment, competing against larger players with bigger budgets and higher head-counts in turbulent economic times. 

Read the full article written by AUTTO founder Ian Gosling in the latest issue of SME Technology Guide

How UK SMEs are using technology to boost their business

From SME Technology Guide
Small Business Saturday is part of a year-long campaign highlighting SMEs and encouraging consumers to support small businesses in their communities.

AUTTO founder Ian Gosling gives some insight to readers of SME Technology Guide on how small businesses can link the benefits of Small Business Saturday with technology to gain a competitive edge.

“While the boost to businesses from Small Business Saturday is to be welcomed, it does have the side effect of putting systems under strain. Technology can help here, with tools, like automation, helping companies automate routine processes, rather than necessarily having to increase headcount. If such tools haven’t been implemented yet, it should certainly be considered a priority for 2020.”

Read the full article here:

Small Business Saturday: how UK SMEs are using technology to boost every aspect of their business.

Autto Bags $655K

From Artificial Lawyer

We have found a real meeting of minds with Tangible in our desire to deliver rapid, practical automation that suits the legal industry.

Autto, the legal workflow automation platform, has taken a $650,000 investment from Angel investors and US-based ALSP, Tangible, previously known as the Ashe Legal Group, which offers a combination of tech and legal support. The two companies will also now work very closely together, with the American business helping to develop Autto-based products for the market.

The move follows a period of investment seeking that Autto commenced some months ago. Rather than coming back to London with a VC fund as a new investor, they have returned with a legal and tech business as a partner.

As readers know, Autto provides an easy to use, drag and drop-style digital system that helps firms and inhouse lawyers design workflows that can help steer staff through the production of certain types of document, or for example, guide them through a series of steps in a legal matter, or become part of a bespoke practice management structure for a team of lawyers working on a specific stream of work.

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Access to Justice: using technology to close the gap

Technology has the potential to democratise the law, but up until now,  access to technology was the realm of large law firms. With cuts to legal aid, the government is now keen to help smaller firms use technology to help plug the gap between the cost of legal services and the access to them.

The Legal Access Challenge is a programme jointly administered by Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to help more people access legal support through digital technology. It was set to help improve access to justice for all by looking at: 

  • How far can tech go in making legal support accessible and affordable to everybody? Is tech going to transform how people experience legal services?
  • What barriers are holding back innovation in tech that directly helps people to resolve their legal problems?
  • Who should play what part in encouraging a new generation of digital legal services?

I started my career working for a large corporate law firm, then later moved to legal aid. The work I was able to do with legal aid inspired me but government cuts made it very difficult to work in legal aid. I eventually set up my own firm to continue that work, without the pressure of government cuts.

What I’ve seen during this journey is that the difference between the large corporate law firms and the small legal aid law firms is not a difference of skill and expertise but is, instead, a difference of means. The large law firms have the resources and the staff to provide the type of individualised service that many of our clients need, especially with immigration law. 

Technology closes this gap. 

I first became aware of automation technology when I set up my own firm in 2015. When I started, I replicated what I had already experienced as much as possible. However, I realised fairly quickly that there was a simpler and easier way to do things. I set up my firm, Ansar,  to provide a high-quality, personal service to my clients and I discovered that technology helps me do that in a cost-effective way. 

 As I remember, legal aid did not use automation when I worked in that field. Many lawyers felt that technology was not right for their clients. They saw automation as an impersonal service but I see it as the opposite. Clients pay for the personal attention we can provide. Automation gives me the time to provide that service. 

Technology increases the access to legal services despite cuts in legal aid and the stagnation of people’s wages even as government fees for immigration services continue to rise.

Government fees are a fixed cost. This leaves less to pay for legal costs. We can’t bargain with the government so we had to find a way to provide vital services

I can do more with less, more simply. With workflow automation I can establish a procedure to follow for a large customer base. With document automation I can automate the common actions and spend my time on the activities and service that needs to be more personalised to each individual case and each individual client.  

I went into this business to practice law and was surprised by how much non-legal work lawyers do. Using technology enables me to practice law instead of doing all the other stuff.


An Intro To AUTTO

How to Automate a Complex Process without Writing a Line of Code

  • Date: 31 March 2022
  • Time 14:00 BST
  • Host: Ian Gosling, Founder of AUTTO

Hi there,

AUTTO is a no-codebusiness and document automation platform. No-code means you can build tailor-made automated processes without having to be a developer.

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