Legal analytics: Accenture applies NLP to analyze contracts and liabilities

To find specific information in a million-plus contracts, the global professional services company turned to natural language processing and AI, launching a legal analytics hub in the process.

Legal analytics: Accenture applies NLP to analyze contracts and liabilities
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Organizations steeped in text documents have an ally in their quest to streamline business processes. Natural language processing, a branch of AI focused on communication, is helping companies such as Accenture surface high-value information and cut costs by bringing text-based, unstructured communications into the machine learning age.  

With more than a million contracts in its records system and thousands more added monthly, Accenture’s legal organization of about 2,800 professionals was struggling to find specific information across contracts, thanks to a tedious, costly process for which detailed cross-document search capability was limited.

"If we have specific events that happen globally, for instance, we have floods in Chennai, or if we have certain events that are outside of our control, we, for years, had done that very much manually to understand what our client or our contract obligations were," says Mike Maresca, global managing director of digital business transformation, operations, and enterprise analytics at the global professional services provider.

So the company’s Internal IT Enterprise Insight team set about leveraging NLP and AI to help improve the searchability of its contracts records system “so that when we need to respond in a certain way, for instance, how much revenue is going to be impacted in that case of a flood in Chennai, we're able to look across our contracts to understand that," Maresca says.

The project, Accenture's Legal Intelligent Contract Exploration (ALICE), was launched with two needs in mind. First, the team needed to help the legal organization perform general text searches across the million-plus contracts in the company's Manage myRecords (MMR) system. Second, it needed to enable search for contract clauses.

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