Discovery and Exploration

Watson Compare & Comply: helping enterprises manage contracts and risk more effectively

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Key points:

  • In-house legal staff are increasingly being asked to do more to help control rising costs for outside counsel. Yet of the 10,000 legal departments in the U.S., only 10% have more than 40 attorneys on staff
  • Spending on legal technology is booming, with more than $3B spent in 2015 and projections for continued growth, particularly to help manage the increasingly time-consuming work of contracts management, governance and regulatory and other compliance
  • Available on IBM Cloud and on IBM Cloud Private (ICP), Compare & Comply contract governance capabilities can be added to existing governance systems or used to build a new, custom solution

 

Watson Compare & Comply Contract Governance

 

Consider that more 40 percent of today’s legal work is related to procurement or corporate transactions, and attorney and analyst workloads are increasing dramatically. Furthermore, in-house legal staff are increasingly being asked to do more to help control rising costs for outside counsel. Yet of the 10,000 legal departments in the U.S., only 10% have more than 40 attorneys on staff. The ratio is similar among the nearly 50,000 law firms in the U.S.: a mere 3% have 40 or more attorneys on staff.

“Doing more,” as we all know, can only extend capabilities so far. How are businesses and legal firms scaling that hurdle? Technology. Spending on legal technology is booming, with more than $3B spent in 2015 and projections for continued growth, particularly to help manage the increasingly time-consuming work of contracts management, governance and regulatory and other compliance.

In the legal world of business, filled with massive amounts of complex terminology, clauses, conditions, regulations, requirements, dates, and more, there’s no doubt that artificial intelligence will play an increasingly important role.

That’s why IBM has created Watson Compare & Comply, a powerful suite of offerings that will bring together powerful capabilities to turn documents into data and enable procurement, legal, analyst, regulatory and governance teams to spot risk and manage exceptions more quickly and with greater accuracy.

Here’s how it works

Now available on IBM Cloud Private (ICP) and IBM Cloud, Compare & Comply contract governance capabilities can be added to existing governance systems or used to build an entirely new, custom solution.

The offering can:

  • Apply semantic contract understanding and visual comparison techniques to streamline contract analysis and improve professionals’ speed and consistency
  • Enable sophisticated natural language queries (NLQ) over a single index of contracts to help professionals locate relevant sections, clauses, passages, and “needle in the haystack” anomalies
  • Classify contractual documents by identifying the supporting parties, natures and categories each sentence in the document contains, and then surfacing these in highly intuitive ways

Examples of clients working now with Compare & Comply

A large retail bank
Several institutional clients at the bank have raised the same issue: they are not being billed properly for banking services. That sounds like a simple question to resolve, but for the bank, it’s actually quite time-consuming to locate the right set of discrepancies among payment terms in a variety of committed contracts and then reconcile those against their clients’ internal billing systems. The bank could hire outside counsel to perform thousands of contact reviews and then record their analysis into a normalized repository of the terms, and then update their billing systems. Instead, they’re applying Watson’s semantic understanding to extract the payment terms in the contracts and proceed.

A leading telecomm
The enterprise is challenged to execute internally against unusual terms agreed to for certain large customers. It should be simple, it seems, just to set up a spreadsheet or database with the custom terms and then manage them. However, who would keep it up to date and ensure that everyone in the enterprise who needs to know this information has access to it when they need it, to ensure that future contracts meet those initial obligations, and so on? The telecomm company is using Watson Compare & Comply to make sure that professionals can easily compare terms in contracts for those customers, note differences, add clarity and improve internal execution.

A large consulting agency
The firm recognizes its revenue differently across its various lines of business, which use different accounting standards. Rather than handle those variations manually and risk recognizing revenue improperly, it’s applying Watson Compare & Comply to identify relevant clauses across contracts. By aligning those clauses with internal policy documents and accounting standards, professionals’ productivity and efficiency are improving.

See for yourself Watson Compare & Comply Contract Governance

Director, Horizontal Applications, IBM Watson

Erik Didriksen

Principal Offering Manager - Watson Compare and Comply

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