The other day a short article on the LawSites blog about Evisort that caught my attention.
Evisort is a California-based company, founded in 2016, and focusing on artificial-intelligence-enabled contract lifecycle management. The founders of Evisort recently announced a series B funding of $35 million.
I will give a brief overview of Evisort as seen from a sales perspective. And then I will explain how a platform like this can help you and other companies in aerospace and high-tech to increase your business value.
This is the first article and review I will write about state-of-the-art AI contract software platforms focusing on the use of artificial intelligence to improve contract value.
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What Does Evisort Do?
On the About page on their website you can find Evisort’s mission and vision statements:
Evisort’s mission is “to drive business velocity through automating and streamlining contract workflows and management”. They do this by making heavy use of artificial intelligence (AI) for contract analysis, contract review, and contract negotiation.
This then leads to their very short vision statement: “Contract at the speed of business”.
The value proposition is quite straightforward and what we also see with other platforms and legal tech solutions:
- Spending less time on administrative tasks so having more time for actual contract review and analysis
- Improvement of efficiency
- Reduction of risk
- Better visibility into all contracts.
What Makes Evisort Different From Other CLM Platforms?
Where Evisort distinguishes itself from other platforms is the use of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) in all phases of the contract lifecycle. Not only in search capabilities like many other CLM and legal tech solutions do.
Evisort can offer its customers a comprehensive AI contract management solution that – according to the website – “automatically aggregates contracts from across the business, creates streamlined approval processes, and provides real-time analysis”.
The speed at which this happens then “accelerates value”. The main goal of Evisort is (see again the vision statement above) to help companies “accelerate their businesses”. This is where Evisort wants to stand out from its competition.
Now there are more CLM and legal tech solutions that claim that they can speed up contract management processes and use artificial intelligence to support that.
However, if you have a closer look into the AI solutions offered, the claim their software is AI-enabled often turns out to be artificial itself. It is not more than a marketing gimmick since there is not much intelligence involved. They simply replaced in marketing communication what used to be called ‘contract automation software with advanced search capabilities’ with today’s nicer buzzphrase ‘artificial-intelligence-enabled contract software’.
And even if other CLM and legal tech solutions actually use ‘real’ artificial intelligence, their solutions often only cover certain phases in the contract lifecycle or are limited to a subset of functionalities. Evisort is looking at the total lifecycle.
Artificial Intelligence in Contract Negotiation
According to the LawSites article, in addition to automated contract review and AI contract analysis, Evisort is also bringing AI into the pre-signing process to assist in negotiations. Evisort is now also working on applying artificial intelligence in the negotiation process.
The focus will be on redlining that takes place during contract negotiations. Evisort will be able to analyze third-party’s redlines against standard clauses – ideally approved by the in-house legal department – that reside in the central repository. This is a functionality you can find in point solutions but something I have not yet seen in other more complete CLM solutions so far other than Evisort.
So Evisort seems to be going for a total solution covering ‘real’ artificial intelligence in the complete contract lifecycle, for legal, buy-side and sell-side contracts.
A Complete Contract Lifecycle Management Solution
The Evisort platform offers a complete buy-side and sell-side contract lifecycle management solution for a company’s legal , procurement and business department by:
- helping companies ‘mine’ their contracts for ‘insights’ and other information by turning unstructured text into structured data.
- covering pre-signature contract generation and approval and post-signature contract review and analytics.
It’s especially in the post-signature phase where artificial intelligence for contract analysis is used.
Now let’s see what Evisort writes about their AI capabilities.
Evisort offers an “AI-enabled analyzer and search tools to uncover and track risk, compliance.
- Automating search and analysis in more than 230 contract types, including third-party paper on more than 50 provisions and metadata, including non-standard clauses.
- Associating master agreements with amendments and pull out clauses where there have been changes, such as to limitations and liabilities.
- Exporting custom clause reports accelerating reviews.
- And the real AI components: training Evisort on any tagged clause or provisions with just a few examples to answer any question or teaching Evisort to quickly run on-request reports.
Among its claims, the company can evaluate and pull out the most relevant information in a 30-page contract in a matter of seconds.
Contract Management Challenges in Aerospace and High-Tech
I have worked in several large companies and joint ventures where Evisort would really create business value. Not only for the daily operations in creating, negotiating, and managing proposals and contracts.
Also in the case of mergers or takeovers and related due diligence projects when the parties involved want to understand the value and risks inherent in the contracts of the company merging or being taken over. Being able to extract and show reliable data and reports about your contracts and the provisions they contain is essential in such cases and will increase the value of the company.
So, it is therefore amazing to see that even in 2021 there are still many companies out there that use Excel and network folders as their “contract management system”.
For other companies, the highest degree of automation goes no further than a very basic version of Sharepoint configured into a contract database by the IT department.
The Contract Management Context in Aerospace and High-Tech
Aerospace, defense, and similar high-tech equipment and engineering industries have the following characteristics both on the buy-side (vendors) as on the sell-side (customers):
- Aerospace is a high-risk, high-value industry, the programs extend sometimes over more than 50 years and are highly complex and require full legal governance and attention in all aspects
- Programs (for instance Boeing 787) and projects (software development for navigation systems) are often multinational, large and consist of many related projects
- During a program, there are continuous modifications to the specification due to customer, regulation, qualification, and certification requirements that all need to be contracted.
- The programs consist of interdependent international supplier networks with many teams, people, from multiple disciplines in and outside the company (so-called ‘tier 1, 2, and 3‘ suppliers).
- Divisions in companies and external partners and suppliers in aerospace and high-tech industries often have different contract management and legal processes, or are subject to different jurisdictions.
- And last but not least, aerospace and related high-technology equipment and system industries are highly regulated.
Read more about this in my post on agile contract management in aerospace and high-tech.
Top 5 of Contract Management Software Solutions for Aerospace and High-Tech
The contracts in aerospace and similar industries reflect all of the above characteristics. They are long-term, complex, cover programs or multiple projects in a program, are continuously modified, often have multiple annexes, sometimes are multi-party, contain large chapters or annexes on procedures, process or policies, and so on.
Creating proposals, and then drafting or reviewing, negotiating, and editing such contracts and their annexes are often separate phases in the contract lifecycle done by different people – e.g. technical writer, bid manager, contract negotiator, contract lawyer – closely collaborating with each other but also with customers, external partners, and other stakeholders.
Here below is the top 5 of contract management issues in aerospace and high-tech where software solutions can really add value.
Contract management issues
AI Contract software solutions
- Changing existing or adding new processes, changing (approval) workflows and easily adding metadata, setting up and changing tables, workflows, and configuring the system is difficult to not possible
Codeless configuration of the system by a non-IT business administrator (adding metadata, tables workflows) and ‘ad-hoc’ configuration by users (re-routing of approvals, assigning tasks to other users)
- Getting approvals from all stakeholders involved in all phases of the contract lifecycle causes delays
Automated pre-set and ad-hoc approval workflows guiding users through approval processes
- Redlining in negotiation phase when different versions come in from different stakeholders (e.g. own departments reviewing, customer and third-party documents)
Analyzing third-party’s redlines and new versions during contract negotiations and comparing them to standard clauses.
- Finding specific provisions or other information in your contracts for reporting purposes.
Extracting key clauses and data, such as title, parties names, key provisions, and important dates and training the system on specific data to recognize unique clauses
- Gathering data and creating reports for management is cumbersome and takes too much time
Instantly run reports to see specific provisions in contracts or amendments and SOWs related to contracts
In addition, other, more standard, functionality today offered in contract lifecycle management software like contract collaboration, contract creation, obligation tracking and security of course also is important.
So is Evisort a Solution That Works in Aerospace and High-tech?
Now can Evisort help aerospace and high-tech suppliers with the above top 5 solutions to improve their contract performance? Why not? Since a quick glance at their website and other sources show that they are well-positioned to do so. They meet at least four of the five key requirements.
I am waiting for an answer from the Evisort team whether they can also meet the fifth one: codeless system configuration capabilities for non-IT users. Personally, I find this one of the most important functionalities. You really don’t want to be forced to call your IT department of the vendor to change the configuration, add new workflows, metadata, tables. Authorized non-IT business administrators in your company should be able (maybe after a short training) to that themselves. As soon as I have an answer I will update this post.
I certainly want to know more about this company and am sure you’ll hear more about them in the near future.
If you already know Evisort and want to add information or have more questions let me know by filling in the box below.
I can also help you to further explore contract lifecycle management solutions and assist you in setting up business requirements documents, a business case, and in selecting the right vendor.