Automating the Mundane, Revealing the Future
Sometimes sound bites get on one’s nerves, and sometimes they stick, but mostly they disappear from the collective consciousness. Some become sloganized and oft-repeated, not just by their originators but by their followers.
Recent political examples include: “Stronger Together" (Hillary Clinton, US 2016 election), “Make America Great Again” (Donald Trump, US 2016 Election), “Strong & Stable” (Theresa May, UK 2017 election), “For the Many, Not the Few” (Jeremy Corbyn, UK 2017 Election), and lest we forget, “Stronger in Europe” (UK Remain campaign, EU Referendum 2016).
Some actually reflect reality whilst others are meaningless platitudes, but still manage to become rallying cries. Occasionally one or two succinctly encapsulate the essence of what is being conveyed. It is as if an elevator pitch had been squeezed into something even shorter than a Tweet, whilst still getting across the key point.
Recently I met with Michael Gale, a leading practitioner and adviser on digital transformation. I gave him the usual Seal presentation and explained how we help our clients make money, save money, stay compliant and avoid risk. After giving him many examples of how we have been doing this for some of the world’s largest banks, hi-tech companies and life Sciences organizations he sat back and said - yes, I know what you guys do - you automate the mundane and reveal the future.
I thought that was an impactful way to encapsulate the power of Seal Software.
We automate the mundane. Yes, it is true, we use advanced ML techniques to search, codify and extract key clauses and paragraphs from hundreds of thousands of contracts for our customers. The system teaches itself once it has enough examples, so it can truly claim to be automated.
It is just as well. A recent survey of 1,300 professionals by Emolument found that jobs in the legal profession were voted the most boring in the world. 8 of 10 law professionals are bored (according to this admittedly narrow sample). The repetitiveness of the dull daily tasks in a junior lawyer's working week, which mostly involve researching cases and rulings and reading contracts, is most likely to blame. So, step in Seal - here to automate the mundane. Let’s get those juniors and paralegals riveted at work! I recall how Scott Trainor, Deputy General Counsel at DocuSign has oft mentioned employee morale on his legal team as one of the core values of using Seal. And of course, it is a massive cost saving to use Seal (see the recent example Mark Williams blogged about to show you how that works).
We reveal the future. Whilst automating the mundane is very worthy (focusing as it does on cost savings, reducing risk and maintaining compliance), the cream on top of that particular sweet is the opportunity to reveal the future. We are not claiming Seal is able to predict the winner of the next Indy 500 race or the oil price on any given day in 2018, but revealing that the economic data that is contained within contracts can be extracted and actionable insight can be derived.
At the fundamental level, for example, data from sell-side contracts can be exposed that highlight which customer contracts have volume pricing language, which are coming up for renewal, which have license limitations and so on. At a more enhanced level, combining the contractual data with data from other enterprise applications can reveal significant opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell. For instance, tying licensing data extracted from a license management application together with the contractual data pulled out of Seal, and then displaying that visually via a series of dashboards, can give the Chief Revenue Officer an instant view of which of his or her customers are under-licensed, and thus identify a revenue opportunity.
Doing this with thousands of contracts has been well-nigh impossible in the past, and secondary to the focus on ensuring compliance and risk mitigation. With the discovery and analytic capabilities of the Seal platform, both for the buy-side and the sell-sides of the house, can clearly automate the mundane, whilst getting a view into the future.
So, hats off to my friend Michael, who in one quick memorable sound bite, captured a world of technology and value with Seal.