Smart Businesses Use AI-Powered Contracts

Depending on who you ask, artificial intelligence (AI) is either the best invention of the modern era or a runaway technology intent on conquering the world. Ok, maybe that’s extreme, but it demonstrates how AI continues to be misunderstood by some, while others are implementing it to great effect.

Even when considering AI specifically for business applications, it can still be hard to tell promise from reality. As SVP of strategy and product marketing at DocuSign, I’m here to set the record straight by showing how three of our customers have literally saved hundreds of millions of dollars by harnessing the power of DocuSign AI.

But first, let’s look at some of the reasons businesses turn to AI for help.

AI is smart business 

One of the biggest reasons organizations use AI is to increase productivity. For some tasks, AI can do things faster and more efficiently than humans. This doesn’t mean companies are rapidly replacing all their people with this technology. Instead, they’re using AI as a force multiplier, increasing what they can accomplish by several orders of magnitude while cutting operating costs.

This productivity increase can take many forms, but generally speaking, AI can perform manual and repetitive tasks accurately and insanely fast. Automation like this has many benefits, including reducing human error and freeing employees to focus on more strategic pursuits.

AI is also often called a “smart” technology. It can uncover hidden risks and opportunities, and extract intelligence from existing assets. AI can reveal essential and valuable knowledge from the variety of contracts that provide the framework for the successful operation of any business. These documents are filled with data just waiting to be converted into actionable insights that can drive smarter business decisions.

Of course, for AI to assist in these situations, the documents must be digital—and that’s where DocuSign can help. We’re super proud of how we help businesses digitally transform their manual, paper-based processes and enable the flexible workforces and convenient customer interactions that drive today’s anywhere economy.

And we’ve been busy helping companies across this digital business landscape realize all the benefits of smart technologies with DocuSign AI. 

DocuSign AI

DocuSign believes in the power of AI and has invested heavily to deliver on its promise. Our motivation is simple: we believe business runs on agreements, and every business is better off knowing exactly where their agreements are and what’s in them. That means locating the exact contracts you need, even when you’re unsure of the correct search terms. It means finding answers quickly to pressing questions around supply chain vulnerabilities, sales relationships and legal obligations. And it means immediately identifying the terms in a document and which are favorable. Whether analyzing the contracts you've signed in the past, or the latest inbound contract from a third party, contract AI helps businesses run faster and more profitably. 

Premier organizations use DocuSign AI to analyze agreement risk and opportunity—and that’s just the beginning. DocuSign AI analyzes agreements by breaking them down to their core components, using a range of technologies, including natural language processing, machine learning, semantic indexing and a specialized logic engine. It leverages knowledge and expertise encoded from a team of lawyers and experts who know how to apply AI to contracts. Together, these capabilities help extract key terms from contracts and conduct deeper analysis to understand the significance of those terms.

Other contract-analysis products can look through a contract and identify a limitation of liability clause. But DocuSign AI goes deeper, using semantics and logic to answer specific business and legal questions about the language. This functionality is essential to responding quickly when disputes inevitably arise.

Managing risk and revealing opportunities are key reasons customers—especially in highly regulated industries like healthcare, financial services, life sciences and energy—turn to DocuSign. The cases below show how DocuSign AI can provide tangible and significant cost savings.

Success stories

For the following three organizations, the promise of AI became a reality. They represent three different industries—telecommunications, aerospace and technology—and all used DocuSign AI to augment or replace manual contract analysis processes.

A telecom company had the massive challenge of managing over 600,000 contracts for cell tower leases. They needed to review each one for unfavorable terms, which would have been virtually impossible without the help of AI. With DocuSign AI, they were able to prioritize contracts with the highest savings potential. Renegotiating those priority contracts saved the company $100M.

An aerospace company struggled with a highly complex vendor payment process that resulted in skyrocketing late fees. Each contract required manual effort to extract the necessary data for payment processing. With DocuSign AI, the data was extracted and organized automatically, eliminating the vast backlog of contract reviews and creating a far more efficient process. These productivity gains resulted in the company saving £52M.

A technology company was facing a common problem in their industry: trying to manage tens of thousands of procurement contracts dispersed across multiple repositories they’d inherited from several acquisitions. While many of the acquired companies used the same vendors, each had its own negotiated discounts and pricing. The company wanted to consolidate the vendor relationships and use the most favorable terms, but to do this manually across thousands of agreements and multiple repositories was virtually impossible. DocuSign AI consolidated all the contracts, made them searchable, eliminated duplicates and extracted normalized structured data to sync with their ERP system. The company uncovered tremendous savings by optimizing vendor terms and also reduced IT spending and overhead by consolidating repositories and eliminating redundant documents. All told, harnessing the power of DocuSign AI saved them $500M.

These real-world success stories prove that DocuSign AI is delivering major results today. But that’s not the end of the story. AI is still in its infancy, and we have big plans for the future of DocuSign AI. 

The future is bright

DocuSign pioneered the electronic signature category, and we’re continuing to define the future of agreement technology overall. This very much includes AI-driven contract analytics. 

The three organizations above are large enterprises that handle massive quantities of agreements. We’re currently working to democratize our AI technology for organizations of any size, whether they’re dealing with thousands or dozens of contracts. In addition to applying DocuSign AI across the spectrum of organization sizes, we’re also developing ways to infuse AI into every stage of the agreement process—from preparing to signing, acting on and managing agreements.

So, if you already use DocuSign AI, we’ll keep driving further value for your investment. Or, if you’re just getting into the topic, know that a critical component of our mission is to help make your contract work faster, easier and smarter with AI. 

If you’d like to learn what DocuSign AI can do for you now—and in the future—watch my recent talk, “DocuSign AI: What It Is and Why It Matters,” to learn why this technology is so valuable and essential to our customers. Register now:

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Steve Krause
Author
Steve Krause
SVP, Strategy and Product Marketing
Published