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5 Questions to Ask as You Evaluate AI Contract Management Software

September 26, 2022 3 min read
graphic illustrating ai for contract management

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become much more commonplace than it was just a few years ago, thanks to heavy lifting by names like Siri, Alexa, Watson, and Einstein. Not surprisingly, businesses everywhere are looking to capitalize on AI’s potential. But where do you get started? 

Here are five questions leaders should tackle as they begin to evaluate AI contract management software features.

1) What are the key problems you’re trying to solve? 

AI is capable of processing and analyzing vast amounts of data much faster than the human brain, opening the door to possibilities. As a result, humans can use AI to streamline their decision making and add efficiencies. But before you dive right into an AI project, you must identify the key challenges. Adoption of AI contract management software cannot be a check-the-box initiative. 

Before you begin, identify the key problems that you’re trying to solve – such as understanding customer needs, identifying blocks in the sales cycle, understanding risks associated with uncapped liabilities, or improving contract cycle times. Leaders often structure their AI conversations around the executive perspective: What questions are your executives asking? What data are they asking for? Which answers are important to them? 

Once you can ask the right questions and understand why the questions are important to the business, you can determine where AI contract management software can play a role. 

2) Where will the data come from? 

Data is an integral part of any AI project, so a vital part of the journey is to understand where the data component. In other words, where will the contract data come from, and what format will it be in? What kind of resources will you need to get that data into a manageable format?

There are always trade-offs when adding new products like AI contract management software; leaders have to weigh the potential benefits against the resources and challenges involved in getting there. Before you get started, consider not just the data aspects, but the time, resources, and technology involved in getting things into the right format. AI doesn’t do the cleanup for you. 

3) What happens if your data is in bad shape? 

AI is not a catch-all solution. The great thing about AI is that it learns as it grows – it gets smarter. But it learns by processing the data and information you give it. So what happens if your data isn’t accurate?  

Data is a critical piece when it comes to AI. I always suggest that people actually map out the process and ensure data integrity before getting started. There are certain parts of the process where a machine can rip through a ton of data and really understand what’s going on, and others that will really need a human in the loop to evaluate and assess. 

4) What’s your timeframe? 

Another aspect to consider is the amount of time it’ll take to get answers that are relevant. In all tech evaluations, you have to consider the pros and cons of using technology versus using people. Do you need answers next week, or is next month OK? What if you can get partial answers in ten minutes, but to get to the 99.99% answer, it’s going to take two weeks. 

AI contract management software is not an overnight implementation, so be clear about your expectations and desired timeframe. Yes, you’ll see a lift quickly – especially in terms of speed – but it will take some time to achieve the kinds of deep insights and analysis AI is known for.

5) How are you going to measure success? 

There’s no finish line in artificial intelligence. Your AI contract management software will continue to learn and get stronger, and the technology itself will continue to advance and improve. So before you get started, think about the metrics you’ll use to track your progress. Is it customer sentiment, deals completed, sales cycles shortened, or contract volume?

Be sure to identify what you’re tracking – and how – before you begin. Once you do that, you can use a tool like Ironclad Insights to extract insights from the metadata contained in your contracts and surface data around your actual contracting process. With the right data at your fingertips, you can resolve issues more effectively and easily measure success. 

Try Ironclad AI for contract management

To think about everything AI can accomplish now and what it will enable in the near future is fascinating. Here at Ironclad, we’re already putting AI to use to help business leaders streamline the contracting process from creation to analysis. Sign up for a custom demo here to see how Ironclad AI can help with your business challenges.

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Amy Guarino is a former Vice President of Global Alliances at Ironclad and currently serves as VP of Ecosystems at Demandbase. As a global COO, go-to-market executive, and board member with 30+ years of experience, Amy has created and built tech companies, markets, and partnerships to deliver transformations across AI, ML, SaaS and PaaS. She has been recognized numerous times including as a 2017 Forbes 40 Women to Watch over 40. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.