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More efficient commerce is driven by faster contract review

15 Jul 2020

by Angus Chudleigh

At ThoughtRiver we are focused on helping some of the world's largest and most forward thinking companies to automate their contract review process and in turn digitise their contract estate. We do this by delivering what we think is a pretty amazing platform to drive deal velocity, and also by partnering with a small group of truly amazing firms like PwC in various ways. More of that later....

I love technology. When I think about the impact that software has had on the way business has developed over the past few decades and consider some of the recent advances in machine learning and AI, it has always been easy for me to get very excited thinking about what the future might look like. Then the pandemic struck. With the whole world being turned on its head, like most people, I have been struggling to visualise the future as clearly as I once thought I could. 

At ThoughtRiver we build automated contract review software and my role is VP, Commercial. Amongst other responsibilities, I am part of the team who look to the market and listen to prospects and customers so we can build software based solutions to real problems, and support them to meet their business goals. Therefore, the question of how Covid-19 has changed things for our clients is a key one for me to understand, and the one recurring theme that has been coming through to us like a searchlight through a misty dark night is one of automation. The message that we are hearing from the market is one of hope and excitement at the world starting to open up again, but tempered with the reality that things are not going back to "the old normal" any time soon, if ever. This means that pretty much all organisations are going to need to do more with less, and to do that they are going to need to accelerate their adoption of technology. We are hearing this story from our global client base and also from the market in general.

A recent Bain survey of IT buyers showed that more than 80% of companies are accelerating their automation initiatives in response to Covid-19.  As the recovery continues, companies will need to embed the success of their tactical, crisis-response experiments in order to really capture their benefits. Bain then points out that long-term success will depend not just on automating a list of tasks, but on redesigning the very work and processes that are behind those lists with an eye toward automation and digitalisation.

A recent Gartner study (Legal and Compliance Automation Study - 2019) found that the number one ask of the legal department by other members of executive management is to increase speed. 

When I reconcile these two recent studies and our own experience of listening to the market in recent weeks I start to get a clearer picture of the goals of most GCs. Automation, digitisation, and speed should absolutely be top of mind!

ThoughtRiver, the company that I work for, plays squarely to these goals. We work with our clients to automate their contract review process, which creates a digital version of their analog contracts, at the same time saving them between 33% to 66% of their contract review time. The potential benefits of automated contract review are huge.

I am very lucky to be a part of an organisation that is well placed to help these companies to do more with less by using software to review contracts. I genuinely hope that I can be a small part of many hundreds of companies’ recovery from this recession and that is what really excites me. It got me thinking about how many companies and their employees that we can reach by ourselves, And that in turn got me thinking about our various partners, and how together we can aid the recovery for so many more. That thought made me smile.

As a result, I would like to highlight some amazing work from a really interesting strategic partner of ours, PwC and show off the contract review software product that they have developed and are delivering to their clients and to the broader market. This product is powered by ThoughtRiver, and similar to our own platform it plays very directly to the automation, digitisation, and speed of legal requirements so clearly shown by the Bain and Gartner studies.

The product itself is called Contract Counsel and here is what PwC say about their product;

"The pressure to optimise Legal Operations has never been greater. There is a lot of noise in the market about how AI can unlock efficiencies, but the reality is that AI is only as good as the training it’s been given.

We have combined PwC’s unique combination of Tax and Legal expertise, legal operations experience and technology excellence to develop a contract pre-screening solution that unlocks measurable efficiencies, while offering clients the peace of mind that they are relying on a solution trained by PwC."

image of benefits of contract pre-screening

As you can see from the screenshot above, taken from PwC's website, Contract Counsel will save lawyers 1/3rd of their review time based on a 2 year PQE lawyer. This scale of benefit aligns very well with what we hear from our customers as well. Given the huge experience and IP that lives within PwC it is exciting to see that enshrined within a software product that has been built on top of our technology.  We are very excited about the difference this product will make to the recovery of our global economy.

I am left thinking that while it may be hard to see at times right now, the future really is bright, as the future is supercharged lawyers who actively speed up commerce and help global economies to rebound. If you want to talk to me, or anyone at ThoughtRiver about how we can help you, then please do get in touch, or if you want an introduction to one of our partners, we would be happy to make one for you.

Simply click into this link If you want more information on what automated contract review is really all about.




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