Transform recently sat down with several Microsoft customers at an event highlighting emerging trends in data and artificial intelligence. We talked with Vivek Bharti, general manager of product management at Icertis, which provides contract management services to enterprise customers.
TRANSFORM: Describe how your company uses AI to serve customers.
VIVEK BHARTI: We strive to solve the hardest contract management problems, using technology, and making it easy for the customers to use it.
All a company’s commitments and obligations are in that contract document. The problem is that those are in natural languages, not very amenable to the traditional systems. We take their (contract) repository, which is usually a set of folders of PDFs, etc., convert them into intelligent documents and help them manage their publications for life.
In the process, we save them money or help them garner more revenue.
TRANSFORM: What are the biggest challenges you see with AI?
BHARTI: One challenge is that the technology seems to be ahead of the business. The pace of innovation is so fast that technologies are producing possibilities, left, right and center. But it’s not necessarily true that the business use cases have been found. It’s resulting in very hyped-up speculation from the customers. There’s a gap between expectations and reality.
Another challenge is creating pools of people who understand both the customer and the technology, to create the intersection of technology and what the business problems are. At a tactical level, that’s solved by having a pool of domain experts who sensitize the engineers about what the business problem is.
Conversely, every single person who joins the company, they go through product training. So we set a foundation where everyone is aligned on what the company vision is and what is it that we’re building for. That starts sensitizing people who are more business oriented, sales folks, business analysts or whatever, to what is the technology capability.
TRANSFORM: How does that intersection of technology and business know-how help you serve customers better?
BHARTI: If you look at the size of our company, and the kind of customers we are acquiring, some of them have 400,000 suppliers. And they’ve trusted our system to manage (their contracts). It’s not because we are a big company. They saw that everyone that they interacted with from our company was actually talking about their problems, not about their product. So that’s how we’re making a difference.