|Mykyta Pidgainy, co-founder of Bot&Partners, founder of No-code community in Ukraine
In 2017 we had the idea of creating a chatbot that would provide legal services. We have developed such a bot. It could generate documents from templates, for example, NDA, Service Agreement etc. Also the bot provided consultations: how to get permission for carrying the weapons, what to do in case Your apartment was flooded, how to create a rental agreement.
At that time, our company was providing legal services. In the legal world, there is a tradition of naming the company after the leader, the so-called "title" Partner. And the rest of the lawyers were “hiding” under that umbrella-name. We wanted to follow the tradition on the one hand, but on the other hand we wanted to use the word “Bot” in the name of the company. In such a way we showed that “the Bot” is the main leading power here!
In the first iteration, we worked entirely on our product, the chatbot. We had only lawyers in our team, and not a single programmer. Gradually we learned the power of no-code, though noone was using that name back at that time.
New clients started asking us if we could create the chatbot for them of automate some legal processes. At first, we refused. And then we realized that it could be our niche – the automation of legal processes.
We developed an algorithm that took data from HRM systems, data from contracts and checked it against the open data. That algorithm could see if the person had any debts, if the person was wanted, or if there were any suspicious court proceedings. This was useful, in particular, for hiring people for working professions. In cases where there is no particular CV, we do not make any long lasting rounds of approval of the worker's candidacy, but it is important that the person does not have problems with the law.
We have also developed chatbots that automate document workflow. For example, the manager sends basic data to the bot, and the bot generates a document, saves it in the folder on Google drive and sends the link to the signee.
NDA, service contracts, invoices, acts. Probably, these 4 documents cover 90% of all documents, the creation of which we have automated. There are also templates for responses to government authorities, power of attorney etc.
We also started working with the law firm Sayenko, Kharenko and Partners. They have a digital service, which allows to call for an advocate in one click in the chatbot. We have improved the service and developed a module that uses Corezoid and Opendatabot to identify risks before a person needs a lawyer. Our solution monitors state registers for litigation, real estate issues, and other potential risks. The system is able to signal to lawyers that the Client may have a problem, even before the Client finds out about it.
We have integrated the WOG gas station APIs with the infrastructure of the company that owns a fleet of cars and wants to know how its drivers use fuel cards. We use Corezoid to call WOG APIs every minute, check if there are any new transactions, and if there are, then we see which fuel card was used and we can build further business logic. In parallel, we record this information in our database for analysis.
Contact centers are not the main specialization of Bot&Partners company. We do such projects only if chat with a live agent is an interesting extra-component for the bot. First, the user communicates with the bot, and when he needs the live agent, we connect the Sender Communication Engine, and configure the live agent workplace. People get the opportunity to communicate with customer support through messengers. And then, when it is no longer needed, return to the bot.
There are 3 stages in the history of Bot&Partners company. First we made a chatbot, which could prepare contracts. The first version was based on Corezoid. Then we became a service company and began to provide services for the automation of legal business processes. Now we move on to the third stage of development of the company as both the service and product company. We experiment with our own products. For example, we have created our own Notion space template, which we can provide to the client, and then connect our programs to it, that deploy the necessary folders, generate documents, monitor what managers have done in Notion, alerts about deadlines etc.
In 2016-2017, a whole bunch of no-code services appeared, and now we use Corezoid as a service that integrates various APIs. For example, we monitor our CRM and open data services, and if something happens, we notify the person in charge via chatbot, e-mail or set a task directly in Microsoft SharePoint.
Corezoid plays the role of middleware in our architecture. There are also a lot of other services in our stack, which we pick up specifically for the tasks. We use Corezoid when we need a reliable solution, a process that will be triggered by external events and perform the necessary actions, perhaps, involving other services.
The second common case when we use Corezoid is when we need to deploy something like an API microservice and expect another service to send a request. We will receive information about state changes in a database, and then run some processes in other programs : email clients, engage task trackers, send notifications to chatbots, monitor open data services, etc.
"Legal engineer" is a concept that is well known in the United States, the UK and Europe. If you google legal engineer vacancies in the United States, you will see hundreds of them. And for the Ukrainian market, unfortunately, this is a fairly new term. Probably, Bot&Partners has the largest team of legal engineers in Ukraine.
A legal engineer is a specialist who knows how to automate legal processes. In Ukraine it turned so that legal engineers are lawyers who have figured out how to work with no-code services or started programming. And now such specialists are at the crossroads between the worlds of IT and law. Most often, they work on the automation of document flow, on the tasks of generating, approval of documents, monitoring open data, checking risks, contractors. There is also work with court documents, state registers.
We have been working with no-code for about 5 years. And we feel that the interest in no-code, low code solutions is growing rapidly. The number of potential customers' requests for automation services is increasing. During the lockdown, people switched to the use of online services, there are plenty of tasks to integrate some services with others, monitor data, transfer data between systems. Of course, such tasks can be done with regular code, but taking into account the salaries of programmers – it will be more expensive, longer and more difficult. And most common process automation tasks can be easily solved with no-code services.
Therefore, we are interested in more people who know how to work with no-code, we are interested in training such people. I want them to study with less pain than we experienced in the beginning. In Projector we have already conducted several courses about no-code. And now it's time to create a No-code community. Among other things, the community offers a database of templates that people can copy and easily deploy as a simple solution.
We also have a chat in Telegram, where we all talk. I want to attract as many people as possible. We are developing the No-code community together with Andriy Udovychenko, Notion's Ambassador to Ukraine.
In general, this trend of "user empowerment" is global. Once upon a time, in the middle of the XX century, when you wanted to do "calculations", you called people who did "computing". And now there are just "computers" for calculations, and you can compute what you want.
In the 2000s, when we had to build a website, create a knowledge base or launch a chatbot, we called programmers. And now with the help of no-code solutions you can do such tasks yourself.
Of course, with the help of classical programming you can solve much more complex problems, and no-code copes only with simple ones. But in 90% of cases this will be enough.
Now there is a lot of hype around no-code technologies. But I would not like no-code to be perceived as a silver bullet. No-code specialists can automate simple things, and for everything else we’ll always need programmers. And that's great. This is a completely complementary story.
The topic of "legal design" is very close to the projects that Andriy Udovychenko is involved in. Before automating processes, we must ask ourselves, "Why does this process even exist?"
Sometimes we are approached by a client, start the discovery phase and understand that no one needs that process at all. Why automate it? People manually create documents that no one has needed for years, and they want to generate such documents automatically. What's the point? The law that required such documents has not existed for 10 years, and people still f*ck with these documents. And such things in projects make me angry. We do not want to automate all kinds of junk.
The legal designer deals with the meaning of legal documents and their effectiveness. Legal designers make processes "human-centric". Andriy and I are developing a community that fights against the “legashit” in Ukraine.
Easy. For example, “legashit” is when the Ukrainian agreement between Ukrainian companies, which is written in Ukrainian, states explicitly that this agreement is made in Ukrainian language.
We don’t do try not to do x*nya :). And we don’t work on projects that we do not understand or do not like. If we do not like the project, we refuse, because we will not be able to do it well.
Computer games are deeply rooted in the culture of Bot & Partners. During job interviews, we ask what games a person plays. Personally, I like Rim World and Factorio the most. The principle is simple: you build processes, infrastructure, automate systems. As for books, I was strongly impressed by the Azimov “Foundation”.