In challenging times such as these, good news is more than welcome. So we were pleased to learn that Accenture’s global IT organization was recognized as a winner of the 2020 CIO 100 Award for our Accenture Legal Intelligent Contract Exploration, or ALICE, solution. The award celebrates 100 organizations and the teams within them that are using IT in innovative ways to deliver business value and is sponsored by the US-based, executive-level IT media brand IDG.
Accenture’s business is about providing professional services to clients—services that are unique to every situation and organization. Every engagement we enter into requires our attorneys to review and sign numerous initial documents, master agreements, and possibly hundreds of change orders and statements of work. As you can imagine, as a global company serving clients in 120 countries, the legal documents we transact can number in the thousands every month. And for all these legal documents, our attorneys need to understand Accenture’s rights and obligations across contracts and precisely how they are documented. To do this, they need to be able to find specific contracts and pull relevant information from them. Too often, these reviews were manual, tedious, and costly.
We had a business problem that was ready for a modern technology response. Our Accenture Legal organization teamed with our CIO Enterprise Insight group to develop a solution. Enterprise Insight drives innovation and applies predictive models, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to products to bring greater insights to Accenture’s business.
Taking advantage of leading technology, the Enterprise Insight team designed ALICE, an intelligent and robust contract search tool. What makes ALICE “intelligent” and innovative is the way it extracts clauses based off finding keywords to identify passages in a contract document that reference particular clauses, such as, for example, “force majeure.” Because these clauses may not be referenced directly or use the same words, related keywords are used to allow a way to identify when a clause is present and to identify the different clause types. The keywords are identified through “word embedding,” a natural language processing (NLP) method and part of an emerging field of AI called deep learning.
The result is that our global Legal organization of approximately 2,800 professionals can more efficiently perform precise information searching and extraction, unleashing data that was previously not easily accessible. For Accenture Legal, the deployment of ALICE is a welcome and exciting step. Making the data easily accessible is delivering huge and immediate benefits. Chief among those are the ability to quickly search vast numbers of contracts for risky terms, which can be written in multiple ways, and the ability to quickly check across numerous contracts. ALICE is also helping legal professionals gain clear insight and knowledge in a portfolio of arrangements at the moments that matter.