How AI is helping Autodesk transform their procurement processes

Autodesk, the makers of 3D design software used in industries ranging from architecture to entertainment, has always been on the front-lines of innovation. The software company saw first-hand how advances in AI technology can change the way a business operates when they partnered with IBM Watson to develop their first AI powered chatbot. AVA, a customer-side chatbot that can resolve customer’s queries as fast as they can ask them, now handles over 150,000 customer contacts each month. With this in mind, Autodesk has embarked on their next AI adventure, applying IBM Watson to transform their procurement processes and increase productivity.

Making sure contracts are reviewed properly is serious business for procurement professionals. In many leading institutions, there might exist as many as 300 high-risk relationships, regardless of the total number of third parties with which they contract1, and inefficient contracting can cause a business to lose up to 40% of the value of a given deal2. Contract managers can spend up to 50% of their time combing through documents so they can make recommendations3.

Looking for a way to gain better insights and streamline contract review, Autodesk is developing Autodesk Contract Explorer (ACE), using Watson Compare & Comply. Compare & Comply is trained on contract structure and language–and it contextually understands PDFs, the documents of business. Autodesk is seeing the potential of what Watson Compare & Comply can do to improve the way the team works on contract review and management.

ACE is being trained to understand the context of a contract, scan every sentence, and give reviewers a preliminary look at the quality of the document. ACE can also annotate passages for further review, identify parts of the contract that are acceptable, and locate sections that need further evaluation. By using ACE, a contract reviewer will be able to make a determination on a contract much more quickly, which allows them to spend more time focusing on what needs their attention the most. Autodesk’s sourcing and contract managers will soon be able to review and evaluate more contracts in less time, further reducing risks that would normally have been hidden.

Foundational to ACE is Watson’s Compare and Comply AI solution. With its natural ability to break down dense contract language, it turns volumes of contractual material into actionable insights, and can be expanded and updated to suit a variety of unique business needs.

With AVA, and soon with ACE, augmenting the capabilities of their agents and procurement professionals, Autodesk has been able to not only free key personnel, but to streamline a variety of workflows as well. IBM and Autodesk will continue to evolve their partnership to create solutions that mitigate risk, scale value-add, and give businesses a competitive edge.


Watch how you can cut time spent reviewing contracts — while increasing accuracy.