Harnessing AI for Practical Business Automation Solutions

Mark TyndallVP Marketing & Growth APAC
Harnessing AI for Practical Business Automation Solutions
Harnessing AI for Practical Business Automation Solutions

Legal operations leaders face complex challenges in steering their teams towards efficiency and integration, while navigating a sea of technological possibilities including the emerging possibilities of Generative AI (GenAI). GenAI introduces new opportunities for innovation and automation but also brings unique challenges in assessing its implications and integrating its capabilities responsibly. Grasping the opportunity presented by GenAI requires more than selecting the right tools. It only succeeds as a legal team implementation where legal operations leaders have or are crafting a more foundational and comprehensive strategy for transforming legal services from a business cost into a significant value driver. This includes ensuring that technology adoption aligns with the overarching goals of the organisation and adheres to policy and ethical standards.

The current landscape

Legal operations teams regularly grapple with manual, inefficient processes dispersed across various unconnected solutions. This fragmentation is often associated with the underutilisation of costly technologies and overcomplicated business workflows. Adding to this complexity over the past two or so years has been the increasing pressure on legal operations professionals to provide definitive answers and strategic direction regarding the implications and adoption of Generative AI technologies and Large Language Models (LLMs) in particular. As expectations mount for these leaders to not only talk about but also strategically implement AI, they must navigate the balance between innovation, the practicalities of integration, and ensuring compliance and mitigating risks associated with new tech deployments.

Vision for the future

The need to enhance the quality and speed of service delivery through strategic technological deployment and current understandings of the risks associated with GenAI, creates a tension for legal operations professionals. In the short term, legal operations leaders must safely experiment with and progress a practical AI agenda to stay ahead of rapid technological advancements while managing a range of risks. This experimentation should be balanced with the development of a long-term technology roadmap.  This roadmap must include the selection of integrated tools for workflow automation, contract management, business intelligence, matter management, and beyond, but practical action on and validation of GenAI for legal is needed now. The commitment to experimentation has led many Neota customers to investigate and understand the custom LLM Assistant tools made available by OpenAI, Microsoft and others.

Integrating AI with no-code platforms

The integration of AI and no-code platforms represents a very practical and controllable opportunity for legal operations leaders to harness advanced AI technology while creating predictability and comfort around its outputs and involvement in business decision making. It is an opportunity to move beyond what most legal professionals might be accustomed to with typical chat-based AI interfaces.

Neota’s platform and its unique tools leads the market in supporting this type of no-code integration. The extensive platform offers a robust workflow automation engine that aligns with the principles of BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation 2.0) and tools to easily build and update reusable workflow components that call out to other systems, like LLM Assistant APIs. This alignment ensures that workflow design is intuitive and highly flexible to the specific business process being mapped and facilitates both human interactions and sophisticated ‘backend’ communications between the workflow engine and LLM Assistants.

Legal operations professionals can use tools such as those in the Microsoft Azure Assistants Playground to develop AI Assistants tailored to perform discrete tasks. These bespoke AI Assistants can incorporate and apply an organisation’s playbook, DOA, procurement directive, policy guidance material or instructions, or even a regulatory note, to any novel situation presented to it by the business’ custom Neota Workflow. Neota Workflow facilitates the integration of these AI Assistants using reusable building blocks. These building blocks simplify the process of setting up backend conversations – via API calls and responses – between the bespoke workflow and the bespoke AI Assistants. In this way, Neota’s unique no-code workflow design and integration capabilities make it the perfect ‘workflow wrapper’ or ‘service orchestration layer’ for streamlining, stitching together and tracking any number of human, rules-based or AI decisions, actions, outputs and data flows.

The ability to quickly implement these backend AI conversations not only enhances the value of the Neota platform in your technology stack generally, but also empowers legal operations leaders specifically to implement practical AI solutions without needing deep technical knowledge.

For legal ops leaders, the value of integrating AI with no-code Neota Workflows lies in the ability to quickly adapt and innovate within their operational frameworks, unlock the very latest technology, and not be dependent on IT teams or software developers. By leveraging tailored AI assistants and a powerful workflow solution, they can automate far more than previously possible with rules-based applications and processes alone. This additional scale and speed of solution delivery means even greater efficiency gains, error reduction, and compliance outcomes – all while maintaining full control over the automation process. The result is a practical and responsible Generative AI technology deployment, aligning with both short-term needs and long-term business visions and risk appetites.

Practical implementation

When considering the practical application of AI for legal service delivery, a self-service contract automation workflow is a common example of the transformative capabilities of Neota as workflow wrapper. The Workflow backend conversation with multiple AI Assistants on multiple different topics and tasks allows for an unprecedented level of automation, control, and customisation, transforming how contracts are generated, ingested, processed, analysed, negotiated, reviewed, approved, filed and managed.

The AI-augmented contract workflow might begin when a user uploads a third-party contract into the Neota solution. The document is sent to the Azure OpenAI Assistants, which are tailored to perform specific tasks, such as extracting key contractual terms, identifying clauses, and flagging non-compliance with pre-set threshold standards.

The extracted data is then analysed by another set of AI Assistants specialised in risk assessment. These tailored assistants might evaluate the contract’s terms against the organisation’s risk criteria, or very specific components of your contract playbook. They will analyse according to your instructions on any range of issues, such as problematic indemnities, liability caps, financial exposure, GDPR compliance, and more.

Neota’s platform easily integrates with existing third-party document management systems, allowing the workflow to automatically store and retrieve documents from these systems, facilitating a smooth transition between different stages of the contract management process. Additionally, the workflow can connect with other business systems, such as CRM or ERP, to enrich contract metadata with key terms and other parameters codified alongside the document itself.

Based on the risk assessment, the Neota workflow can determine the next appropriate steps. Contracts categorised as low risk can be auto-approved and moved forward in the process, perhaps without any human intervention at all. Contracts with medium or high risk might be flagged for further review. Here, the workflow can route these documents to appropriate legal staff, trigger notifications, and ensure that all necessary steps are followed for a detailed review.

After the review, the contract can be sent back into the workflow for final approval. The Neota workflow ensures that all required approvals under any Delegation of Authority or Execution Request Framework, before proceeding. Once approved, the contract can be executed, with the Neota Workflow engine facilitating a streamlined DocuSign, Adobe Sign, OneSpan Sign or other digital signature handoff and return, and then automatically saving the fully signed contract back into the relevant document management system.

Safeguarding with accountability: Enhancing oversight with Neota

A crucial component of integrating AI into legal operations is maintaining robust accountability. Neota’s platform is designed to ensure that every stage of the process – from initial intake and risk assessment to final document approval – is thoroughly documented and auditable. This automated record-keeping and audit capability not only secures the integrity of the process but also instils confidence in legal teams and the business, enabling all stakeholders to let go of routine tasks with confidence, and concentrate on more strategic initiatives.

To further bolster accountability, Neota’s platform offers the capability to configure separate rules-based applications or deploy additional AI Assistants specifically for conducting audits of legal service data. Legal operations leaders can design these applications to periodically review and audit the data captured during the operation of their self-service contract workflows and any other workflows or applications deployed on the platform.

These custom audit applications can perform comprehensive checks across various parameters such as compliance adherence, process deviations, and the quality of risk mitigation activities undertaken by business users. By systematically analysing the data, these applications help ensure that all activities conform to organisational standards and policy. This level of scrutiny is vital for identifying potential issues early, and mitigating risks before they crystallise.

The journey begins with a clear vision

For those considering the leap into GenAI integration, the journey begins with a clear vision and strategic planning, combined with a willingness to get started with something accessible and practical. The technology empowers you to reimagine what legal workflows could look like, in addition to enhancing what already exists. Neota’s platform facilitates this reimagination and augmentation, allowing leaders to experiment with AI in a controlled, secure environment that scales with their needs.

Engaging with Neota isn’t just about accessing technology; it’s about partnering in innovation. The Neota team is equipped to guide legal operations leaders through the initial stages of AI experimentation, helping to identify high-impact use cases, streamline integration efforts, supply reusable and easily implementable workflow components, and ensure that each step aligns with both immediate operational needs and long-term strategic goals.

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