AI has become such a huge topic that late last year the White House released a report on the Future of Artificial Intelligence, which focused on the opportunities, considerations, and challenges of AI.
As more and more industries, including healthcare and financial services, adopt AI technology, the technology’s value will increase its impact on society as a whole.
It starts with document management
AI, machine learning and other technologies are already making a significant impact in several industries, including e-commerce, hospitality, and retail.
While there has always been a slight tension among workers about robots taking over and claiming jobs, there is a lot to be said about how these types of technologies will, in fact, add more value, contribute to economic growth and augment the workplace so employees can work more effectively.
It starts with the huge volumes of contracts that define business relationships, capture the rules of engagement and are the foundation of business transactions every day.
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Unfortunately, many companies have a problem finding and understanding what exactly is in their contractual agreements, which is a huge problem that can add risk, increase liabilities, reduce efficiency, and cost organisations significant sums of money over time.
For example, unknown indemnifications add unmanaged risk, and a hidden auto-renewal term can directly hit the bottom line.
Often, departments or business units work in silos, and it becomes nearly impossible for an organisation to get a clear picture of the data in their portfolio of contracts.
Many organisations may come to the realisation they have a problem and apply resources to find and house contractual documents. But, they must still undertake a process of manually reviewing contracts with their in-house legal teams or outsourcing it to law firms.
The problem with this is manual reviews are time-consuming, expensive and not 100% accurate. Also, manual reviews are not future proofed, meaning when data is extracted from contracts, the data set doesn’t reflect changes in contracts, and when new data is needed, perhaps for a new business event or regulation, the manual reviews must be done over again.
Simplifying the review process
Fortunately, new technology has been introduced in recent years to open up a whole new opportunity for contract discovery, data extraction and analysis, and give new power to business users as opposed to legal resources.
It has helped to transform this tedious and time-consuming manual process into a much faster, lower cost, and easier to use automated process.
Business users shouldn’t have to contact the usually overworked and expensive legal team every time they have a question about a contract and then wait to get the answer they need. And now they don’t have to.
Not only are automated processes more efficient, but they can also be more accurate, saving your company both time and money in the long run.
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Putting the hype aside, there are situations where artificial intelligence and its foundation of machine learning technologies can automate important, but manual and time-consuming tasks, allowing employees to focus on higher-value work.
It is also capable of seeing patterns in data that even trained professionals don’t always catch. Artificial intelligence has opened the door for an ongoing process of automation, allowing business leaders to make more informed decisions based on insights derived from contract data.
Legal tech is for business users, too
When it comes to a company’s contractual agreements, you might think the in-house legal teams would be skeptical of this new technology.
In reality, they are becoming more open to automating data review and management tasks, as it allows them to focus their time on providing the high value strategic counsel they’ve been trained to give, and also reduce the use of outside counsel for these functions. But the legal teams aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this type of technology.
The business intelligence that comes out of contracts through an automated contract data extraction and review process is being used to power decision-making for other levels of the business (c-suite, sales, procurement, facilities, etc.).
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Contract data includes all of the terms, obligations, incentives and liabilities organisations have with external parties, on the buy and sell side.
It is also being integrated with ERP and SCM data to create new dashboards and provide insights that didn’t exist before. This new insight with contract data fuels better decision making overall and lead to a higher performing organisation.
Not only does AI provide opportunities for reducing costs and increasing productivity, but the deeper value lies in the intelligence it provides to the business — that was not available before.
Companies now have the ability to make better business decisions, based on contractual data in a way they couldn’t before.
Sourced by Kevin Gidney, co-founder and CTO, Seal Software