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From stenotypes to machine learning—AI in contract management


Growing up in India, I’ve witnessed, read and worked on all sorts of different contracts. Still fresh in my mind are the verbal agreements people in my town would make with standard “net 30” payment terms while buying their groceries from the little shops near our house. While practicing law, I would review contracts on paper, often dictating the changes to my stenographer. Thankfully, the world has moved on and we increasingly use computers to draft contracts, emails, and even negotiations, thereby minimizing dependency on stenographers.

The rise of metadata

Historically, once a contract is signed after weeks and sometimes months of hard work, it’s left unattended for years on end in a musty cupboard, until some poor person has to spend half a day locating and dusting it down for use in a dispute. To counter this and keep track of their contracts, organizations began storing documents electronically using the different tools available to them at the time.

The industry innovated further and developed the technology to extract metadata from the contracts before uploading them onto the repository. Metadata is key for accurate searching, reporting, and building a workflow around your contract management process, and can be used to generate reports and analytics. Some examples of metadata in a contract process are the customer name, contract type, and the expiration date.

Machine learning and AI to the rescue!

But what if you need information from the contract that isn’t in the metadata? An organization’s operational teams—the people who really live by every word of the contract—often ask for more information from the contract and expect it to be available at the click of a button. For example, during the infamous ransomware attack in 2017, I had to look for patching/anti-virus update obligations in over 500 contracts in two days! If only I’d had the AI-enabled contract management tools to help, my life would have been made much easier!

While well-trained, conscientious people can still achieve a great deal, time has become the world’s most valuable commodity, and a little help from a friendly robot can go a very long way. AI in contract management continues to develop at a mind-boggling pace, and any organization with a voluminous contract portfolio can increase the efficiency of its contract management process through embracing AI-enabled contract management tools. These tools can help organizations to:

  • Automatically organize, classify, and extract key information at the click of a button
  • Locate key information from documents through leveraging machine learning
  • Minimize human intervention without compromising on quality
  • Provide a summary of the information that enables informed decision-making to drive enhanced results.

What are you waiting for?

In 2018, organizations should invest in the technology to modernize their contract management function and get their contracts in order. Putting them on SharePoint isn’t enough and contracts can become untraceable and even lost. AI is now the reality in contract management and is working well in this function. We’re not that far away from being able to use Siri and Google Talk in contract management!

Ultimately, with advances in technology driving an increased level of customer engagement and satisfaction, there’s nothing more embarrassing than having to ask for a copy of the contract from your client!

As a leader in the contract management area, Capgemini helps Fortune 100 companies drive meaningful intelligence out of their thousands of contract documents. To learn how Capgemini can provide the correct platform for your organization, please contact:

Learn more about Capgemini’s Contract Compliance & Optimization (CCO) solution that provides a broader and deeper solution to your compliance, cost reduction and spend protection goals, from an often-overlooked area—the written contract.