Embracing AI-backed CLM software for the corporate legal counsel

The legal sector as a whole has been slow to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that improve efficiency and enable renewed focus on high-value activities.

Sarvarth Misra, co-founder and chief executive of ContractPodAi, a London-based startup that develops AI-powered contract life-cycle management (CLM) software, believes the legal industry is at a turning point and embracing CLM tools will play a major role in this transformation.

We offer end-to-end functionality on our CLM system

“AI-based CLM software helps the corporate legal counsel with mundane, high-volume and very low complexity, data-driven work. By automating these tasks they can then concentrate on adding value in strategic decision-making, negotiations and simply getting vital work done,” says Mr Misra.

From speeding up the entire contracting process, reducing management costs, to improving risk management practices, AI-enhanced CLM software can be a game-changer for forward-thinking organisations.

Commercial lawyers no longer have to search manually through contracts for key information needed to either negotiate or review. Now, CLM takes on these tasks automatically.

“The value of CLM software comes from it being able to gather information from structured and unstructured data to very quickly build a report that contains all the details a lawyer needs. This lets them avoid reading all the terms and conditions when what is needed is a quick snapshot look at the highlights,” says Mr Misra.

With an average large organisation having around 20,000 to 40,000 active contracts at any given time and 10 per cent of the bottom line being lost as a result of contract mismanagement, perfecting contract management can have a significant impact on business profits.

AI technology, built and trained on the IBM Watson platform, permeates the ContractPodAi CLM solution. It truly helps companies with their digital transformation journey. ContractPodAi can take all contracts held in an organisation, in whatever form including physical or digital, and put them on a single touchpoint repository. This means contracts are never forgotten, never lost and are quick to look up from one single consistent system of record.

Once this has been achieved, organisations will have effectively digitised their contracts. In effect, this is a helpful jumpstart in their digital transformation journey. ContractPodAi can then extract the right information from all these contracts, including indemnities, liability and change of control provisions, to reduce the workload of low-value tasks for lawyers.

CLM software helps companies automate the contract life cycle, including day-to-day contracts, and enables the use of a template-driven approach. By answering a set of questions, including who the customer is and when the contract starts, the AI backed solution helps users quickly generate the contract. Better yet, legal counsel does not have to be involved in drafting every contract. More junior legal technicians, paralegals, and contract managers can help offload the general counsel, in this capacity. Digital signatures can be used to get the contract agreement signed by both parties within the repository, shortening signature times by up to six weeks.

“In addition, the ContractPodAi CLM extracts details around key dates, so lawyers can make sure renewals are not being missed. Getting these dates right and not missing auto-renewals helps drive more revenue and improve efficiency,” Mr Misra adds.

When the lawyer has the report, they can use this to start negotiating with the other party, as opposed to systems where lawyers would have to read the same contract over and over to look for the important points.

“One of the big drivers, especially since the 2008 recession, is to achieve more with less. With that objective in mind, AI technology plays a major role,” says Mr Misra.

CLM software available on the market  today, varies significantly. General counsels need to ensure the CLM system they select is a comprehensive solution able to deal with the multiple use-cases they require.

Instead of forcing organisations to use a separate system for each aspect of CLM, ranging from self-servicing, contract automation to others focusing on analytics and workflows, ContractPodAi’s AI-enhanced CLM offers end-to-end functionality.

“This year Gartner called out ContractPodAi as a ‘cool vendor’ because it embeds AI into several fundamental steps of the contracting process. This is quite unlike other vendors that apply AI to only one or two specific tasks,” says Mr Misra.

Clear and transparent pricing is important from a budgeting perspective. In this respect, a fixed fee software-as-a-service (SaaS) model is increasingly attractive to in-house counsels. Perhaps of most practical importance, the implementation time of any CLM software needs to be well defined.

In-house counsels need to know how long it will take after purchase for a CLM system to go live. They also need to understand if consultants are needed for the implementation, as well as what data the system requires.

“Some CLM systems may look good, but once it’s bought it could take a year to go live. This is what in-house counsels want to avoid. Finding out exactly what kind of format the CLM takes, whether it’s ready out of the box or needs a long period of implementation is important,” says Mr Misra.

Implementation times in onboarding the system can be reduced significantly with costs also seeing a reduction. After all, workflows are sitting within one comprehensive system as opposed to multiple systems.

ContractPodAi is focused on business model innovation and is unique in the way it supports the whole digital transformation journey for in-house contract management.

“We offer end-to-end functionality on our CLM system. It supports multiple use-cases. Our implementation is included within our SaaS pricing model, so we do not charge this separately. No surprises. The buck stops squarely with us as we offer a single touchpoint for customers,” says Mr Misra.

ContractPodAi supports in-house counsels as they migrate from old, outdated systems. This even includes situations where physical contracts are stored in disparate locations, right through to moving these documents into a comprehensive CLM system.

“The future for corporate lawyers includes systems that help them become more effective and deliver higher-value services, allowing systems like a CLM to do the low-level work for them,” says Mr Misra. “After all, it really is about letting in-house counsel achieve more for less.”

For more information please visit contractpodai.com