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The impending impact of artificial intelligence (AI) covers a set of different industries and markets, from its congruency with the Internet of Things (IoT) to advanced cognitive platforms like IBM’s Watson. Looking past many of the grandiose visions of an AI-driven future, you will find some of the more practical applications where AI is poised to have a more immediate impression.
In particular, the document and contract management sector, which is critical to areas of jurisprudence and business efficiency.
“Contracts are like the engines of businesses, driving growth and containing mission-critical obligations and opportunities for organizations,” says Evisort Co-Founder, Jake Sussman. “Still, firms continue to struggle to do something that sounds so simple — connecting contracts to business value.”
Evisort is one of the companies working at the edge of the convergence of AI and contract management. Having recently closed a $4.5 million seed round with prominent investment groups like Village Global, Evisort has garnered the spotlight in an area often overlooked but decisive to the sustainable success of any organization.
Dubbed the “Google for contracts,” what exactly is Evisort and AI-driven contract management?
The Market for Contract and Document Management
Contract and document management encompasses a range of areas within any functioning business. Everything from customer contracts to healthcare claims to sensor data for industrial machines is documented, stored, and plays a pivotal role in cost management and revenue.
In today’s increasingly digital world, even with useful document repositories like DropBox, analyzing and extracting useful information from such vast quantities of pertinent text and other data is often an overwhelming task.
“Contract management is a ubiquitous activity among organizations, yet is consistently handled inefficiently,” says Sussman. “The idea that you can leverage better ROI on deals, sales metrics, and logistical data gleaned from documents is powerful but beyond the error-prone capacity of human intellection.”
Humans are excellent at identifying patterns and making decisions, but computers are vastly better at plucking data from vast quantities of information, curating it, and organizing it for humans to evaluate. That’s the vision for AI-driven document and contract management: locate, classify, extract, and deliver data to your business.
“The downstream advantages of features like benchmarking metrics and triaging risk areas with Evisort are reduced costs and improved response times — a more efficient process overall,” says Sussman.
Machine learning models within Evisort can even help to identify risk areas, such as ambiguous contract language or surreptitious clauses that can lead to financial loss. With human error rates consistent across manual entry tasks, AI is a profound opportunity to capitalize on a job that most people find monotonous anyways.
“Evisort and AI aren’t just replacements for people, they’re tools that augment their abilities,” says Sussman.
Evisort Push into Contract Management
Evisort has attracted attention outside of its high-profile seed investors. Charles Guetta, a professor at Columbia University, published a review of Evisort’s underlying technology, lauding its versatility.
“Evisort is particularly impressive because it demonstrates both the power and limits of AI,” detailed Guetta. “Even when human review is necessary, Evisort provides a suite of non-AI-enhanced tools to go the last mile if needed and reduce review time significantly.”
Guetta’s case study reveals the delicate balance between grand visions of AI and practically applying it as a means for augmenting human capacity. Hollywood and industry leaders tend to overestimate the future of AI as if machines will become the prevailing workforce by next year, when, in reality, it is the more subtle applications of machine learning in niche spaces like document management where the largest initial impact will be felt.
The impact of Evisort on the fiscal bottom lines of enterprises is not small either.
Large enterprises can have voluminous amounts of contracts for procurements, renewal dates, renegotiation terms, and more. The result is intensive human and financial resources. “Contract management requires hundreds of hours and a team of contract managers to both review and also find a way to effectively track all the information to guarantee that no renewals or opportunities are missed.”
Spending human resources on such tasks requires ample time and financial resources. With Evisort, data can be aggregated, curated, and analyzed from multiple different contract and document repositories and converged into a single interface. Direct benefits include decreased dispute potential, clarifying content, identifying patterns, pulling renewal dates, and many more.
Business processes can be streamlined, with AI functioning as the engine that removes the clutter and affords team members more time to spend on high-value objectives.
“The value proposition for AI search is the ability to process large volumes of incoming and legacy enterprise data with a reasonable accuracy level while at the same time reducing how long the process takes,” says Sussman. “Document management and contract analysis can be a monotonous task, but significant risk is exposed if it is not performed properly.”
Millions of dollars can be on the line when it comes to contract management, and while AI robots may be the ultimate fantasy of a futuristic society, it is at the enterprise contract level where the immediate impact will be welcomed first.
Evisort is banking on AI as the infrastructure underpinning more efficient businesses in the digital age, and their backing of prominent investors only serves to confirm that AI is here to stay in the contract management sector.