Microsoft’s legal team pilots AI contract management

But technology is not a “magic button,” says the tech giant’s legal operations lead

Microsoft’s legal team pilots AI contract management

Microsoft is currently running a trial to observe whether artificial intelligence can augment the tech giant’s contract management work.

The revelation comes from Tami Baddeley, Microsoft’s legal operations lead, who spoke to Bloomberg BNA on the sidelines of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Legal Operations Conference in Chicago earlier this month.

However, by no means is Microsoft claiming to be the only one doing this, she said.

“A lot of people are dipping their toes into the world of artificial intelligence. One of the most interesting things is the definition of AI varies between the person and the company you’re speaking to. Understanding what your expectations of what that technology is, is really key. How that is going to relate to results you can utilise is another key initiative,” she said.

Baddeley said that the company, particularly on the Microsoft Research side, thinks what they are doing is innovative. In addition to the cutting-edge AI pilot, the firm is also testing less intelligent systems, like bots which are used to surface frequently asked questions and enable users to self-serve and interact with automated systems in a more human way.

Baddeley said that the realisation is further down the road, but technology is changing so fast, which is why companies like hers are focused on the applications of technologies like AI to legal work.

In terms of factors that encourage the use of AI for legal work, Baddeley said that a key driver would be budgetary concerns.

“The ‘do-more-for-less’ [issue] is going to be a driver for everybody out there. The other one is security. How secure is this information that we’re getting access to, giving access to, [and] we’re storing access to? It’s all about security,” she said.

She said, however, that technology will not solve every problem companies have.

“Another factor and a challenge in technology is everybody thinks there’s a magic button out there. I’m going to install this system and everything is going to work. That’s not the case,” she said.

Baddeley said that people and processes come first, and the technology, which needs to be fine-tuned, should always support the people and the processes.

“If you don’t have those things well-defined and you’re not moving forward that way, when you throw technology onto that, it’s like the term ‘lipstick on a pig.’ If it’s bad process and not the right people there, the technology is just going to showcase that,” she said.

She said that companies should first focus on having the right people in place and streamlining processes.

Microsoft is currently running a trial to observe whether artificial intelligence can augment the tech giant’s contract management work.

The revelation comes from Tami Baddeley, Microsoft’s legal operations lead, who spoke to Bloomberg BNA on the sidelines of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Legal Operations Conference in Chicago earlier this month.

However, by no means is Microsoft claiming to be the only one doing this, she said.

“A lot of people are dipping their toes into the world of artificial intelligence. One of the most interesting things is the definition of AI varies between the person and the company you’re speaking to. Understanding what your expectations of what that technology is, is really key. How that is going to relate to results you can utilise is another key initiative,” she said.

Baddeley said that the company, particularly on the Microsoft Research side, thinks what they are doing is innovative. In addition to the cutting-edge AI pilot, the firm is also testing less intelligent systems, like bots which are used to surface frequently asked questions and enable users to self-serve and interact with automated systems in a more human way.

Baddeley said that the realisation is further down the road, but technology is changing so fast, which is why companies like hers are focused on the applications of technologies like AI to legal work.

In terms of factors that encourage the use of AI for legal work, Baddeley said that a key driver would be budgetary concerns.

“The ‘do-more-for-less’ [issue] is going to be a driver for everybody out there. The other one is security. How secure is this information that we’re getting access to, giving access to, [and] we’re storing access to? It’s all about security,” she said.

She said, however, that technology will not solve every problem companies have.

“Another factor and a challenge in technology is everybody thinks there’s a magic button out there. I’m going to install this system and everything is going to work. That’s not the case,” she said.

Baddeley said that people and processes come first, and the technology, which needs to be fine-tuned, should always support the people and the processes.

“If you don’t have those things well-defined and you’re not moving forward that way, when you throw technology onto that, it’s like the term ‘lipstick on a pig.’ If it’s bad process and not the right people there, the technology is just going to showcase that,” she said.

She said that companies should first focus on having the right people in place and streamlining processes.


 

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