Recently our CTO and award-winning AI thought leader Kevin Gidney has been fond of saying that Seal 7, announced today, is the most important contract analytics software release in the history of Seal. He probably says that about every major new version, but it really does feel like this one is going to set a very high benchmark for the competition and be another catalyst for the move from early content analytics adopters to the more mainstream.
Seal has always been in the vanguard of capability in Contract Analytics with highly sophisticated and complex model and policy creation functionality available to those skilled enough to use them. Power users love the flexibility of the platform, the integration with other systems, the capability to dial in thresholds for accuracy, precision, recall and so on. So, what is new in Seal 7 and why do we think it will change the adoption paradigm?
As we state in the press release, the primary goal of enterprise contract analytics is to leverage AI, typically in the form of machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and other related models like Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to identify and extract critical business and legal terms from corporate agreements. Seal has been delivering on that goal for more than five years and been recognized as best in class by many influencers and industry commentators. However, there is always much to do in the evolution of enterprise software and listening to your customers remains the most important input to the development process. It is something that Seal takes seriously and the input from our Global 2000 client base has always been the starting point for new products, enhancements and of course improvements.
Broadly speaking the 3 keys areas that we have focused on in this release address the following input from customers:
- Make it easier, faster and more configurable to deploy Seal
- Make Seal easier-to-use
- Deliver enhancements in the learning and logic capabilities of Seal
Easier, Faster and More Configurable
Deployment of Seal has been optimized with the implementation of Docker containers and Docker Swarm Clustering on a Linux platform in the cloud. This leads to rapid provisioning of Seal instances, more configurability (on which processes run on which nodes) and optimization of the resources available. Additionally, these implementations allow for “over-the-wire” upgrades to be introduced meaning rapid adoption of new versions and revisions and multi-instance management.
Easier to Use
Seal 7 gets a slick new interface. This is no prettifying of an existing look and feel. The new interface offers a state-of-the-art user experience that reflects the mental model of different personas, ranging from highly technical users who want to create complex queries with regular expressions – the so-called “power users” and those who want a simpler interface which we term “click and go”. The full functionality of Seal’s search engine is there but accessing it via guided search allows the user to concentrate on the task in hand and get the answers they want without recourse to training or learning syntax.
Enhancements in Learning and Rule Creation
The Seal Logic Engine has been enhanced to provide end-users with a more intuitive process for creating both simple and complex business rules. Seal 7 includes new Discovery Rules, a powerful combination of Seal’s ML and NLP capabilities. Seal Discovery Rules provide a new level of one-to-many reusability, allowing end-users to surface multiple data points from the same core extraction, as well as the ability to extract critical structured data such as dates, locations, and values.
Other enhancements include bringing access to the Seal Marketplace into the new interface and giving admins the ability to security-trim access should they wish. The Seal Marketplace lets end users download and deploy Seal Accelerators on-the-fly for specific use cases.
We are entering a new phase of usage, one that might be called “contract analytics democratization”. With its consumer-like search experience, paired with the power of cutting-edge AI methodologies, Seal 7 enables non-technical business and legal professionals across the organization to rapidly and directly access key contractual data without the need for formal contract information requests, which are often fulfilled, at considerable cost and delay, by teams of attorneys executing inefficient manual contract reviews.
Kevin may indeed be right. Seal 7 could be the most important release in the history of Seal. Well, until the next one!