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A New Approach to Activating Contract Value

By Ryan Finn, Director of Contracts Solutions

UnitedLex has recently announced a new service offering—Contract Data as a Service (CDaaS)— to help companies extract all the data from their contracts and turn it into actionable insights to drive business value and reduce risk. This new customizable solution aims to fully address the legal industry’s struggles with contract data.

It’s no secret that contracts contain an enormous amount of vital data – data about parties, rights, obligations, restrictions, risks, and value—and yet much of that data hides in plain sight as even the most innovative companies struggle to extract it and put it to use.

In some fairness, contracts don’t inherently lend themselves to data mining and insights. That’s because contracts are written with human-language nuance, in unlimited variable formats, are riddled with legalese, redundancy, and packaged in large blocks of dense paragraphs. Consequently, transforming contracts to usable data, which is structured, is tricky.

The legal industry’s struggles in this area have not been for a lack of investment. Companies have been prioritizing data maturity for years as part of ongoing digitization efforts. The recent heavy focus on modernizing the legal function has spurred Law Department spend on Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) technology systems and have been all the rage. Unfortunately, the results have yet to transform contract data management.

In fact, World Commerce and Contracting Association, the leading association dedicated to raising capabilities in contracting practices, found that roughly 60% of CLM deployments met original expectations and fully deploy as intended. A survey by Onit’s ContractWorks group found that 77 percent had “experienced a failed technology implementation.”

This is not a knock on CLMs. The reality is that even the best technology won’t by itself automatically transform legal departments and their contracting functions into data-driven market leaders. Most legal departments haven’t readied their data for their CLM. Implementing a CLM may give you a place to store digital versions of your contracts, but it doesn’t change the fact that your contracts are still unstructured PDFs sitting in a repository.

Transformation to a meaningful data model is necessary before organizations can use contract data to drive value for their company. For example, you can write a limitation of liability clause in a thousand different ways, but isolating concepts and taking a data-driven approach might look in part like the below:

Limitation on Liability: YES

Cap on Liability Type: SPEND BASED

Spend Based Cap Amt: 2x YEARLY

Available Damages Type: DIRECT ONLY

Exclusions to Cap: GROSS NEGLIGENCE

Doing this at scale, across thousands of contracts and thousands of potential data points to take full advantage of CLM technology is daunting.

Contract Data as a Service

Enter UnitedLex’s new offering CDaaS, an innovative approach sure to transform the industry.

UnitedLex’s CDaaS solution is customizable to a customer’s unique data needs and maturity. Having said that, what sets us apart is that we are an end-to-end service, capable of designing a data solution that starts with new and legacy agreements and ends with contract data output that can be transferred to a customer’s system of choice or hosted by UnitedLex with ongoing support and insights.

Our Contract Data Model™

The underlying magic of the Unitedlex offering is our Contract Data Model – the answer to the industry problem of unstructured contract data. As contract lawyers, we know that contracts can say over a thousand different unique things, and as data scientists, we’ve modeled them all out into over 1,400 contract positions to surface them in your agreements and hand them back to you as structured data. Simply put, we know that every line in a contract has potential meaning, and we’re excited to finally give companies full insight into that data across their contract portfolios.

Our Contract Data Model allows us to turn your contracts into usable data you can store in your CLM and across your enterprise information technology platforms to filter and search, far exceeding the most basic contract data points such as counterparty name, effective date, and expiration date.

The wellspring of contract data we’re able to provide using the Contract Data Model opens up a whole new world of information to drive the business and increase the legal department’s value. Some examples:

  • Proactively manage obligations and rights. With structured data about the positions in your contracts, you can easily identify where specific obligations and rights exist and define additional data to help proactively manage them.
  • Integrate contract data into the enterprise. Facilitate enterprise determinations of risk and value by combining contract data with other enterprise systems and data, integrating contract data into the broader data management framework.
  • Conduct more informed negotiations: Enter negotiations empowered with detailed insights of past results across contract types, counterparties, and other relevant data to improve results and maximize contract value.
  • Complete risk assessment of your contracts: Whatever your approach to assessing and grading risk, we’ll create a framework to determine risk scores across contracting results. Easily pull readily available analyses to know exactly where you stand on key issues of risk.
  • Save time and money: With data from your contracts, be prepared for proactive responses to company-wide challenges, removing the time and costs of individual reviews starting from scratch.

A deeper dive into the underlying methodology of data models and value-add use cases can be found at  Transforming Contracts Management.

For more information on Contract Data as a Service (CDaaS) see our solution home page.

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