So, you’ve grown tired of seeing your legal team cry into their coffee and have finally decided that contract management software is the way to go. Good call. Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software is a powerful way to organize and streamline your contracts and reduce the strain manual contract management puts on your team.
But before you can enjoy CLM, you need to organize and upload your contracts into the software. Your CLM vendor should help you with that. Once you’ve imported your agreements, you can tag and search for contracts using criteria. Think of all the data you’ll have now.
One of the unsung heroes in this process is Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.
What Is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?
Optical Character Recognition converts scanned or photo-based documents into machine-readable, editable, and searchable text. OCR software is used in various technologies, from telegraphy and mail sorting to braille devices.
In 2023, OCR technology can recognize and represent any character in any font. In the legal industry, it’s used to review and analyze contracts, convert legacy contracts into fully digital contracts, and enable searchability. Legal teams everywhere take advantage of this technology to make their jobs easier.
More than just having the technology, legal teams need to have the best, most reliable software. Imagine if you uploaded all your contracts into your fancy new tool, but they were all in static PDF format, making it impossible to search individual agreements.
Or worse: the PDF was converted into editable text, but many of the words need to be corrected, and sometimes whole letters are mistranscribed.
Or, the worst is that nothing is readable, and you must recreate the contracts from scratch. Ugh, the headaches that would ensue.
Specificity is crucial, so your digitalized contracts must accurately reflect their source material. Low-quality OCR exposes you to liability, and that contract data you thought you could depend on to make decisions? Now, it’s questionable at best.
3 Reasons Legal Needs the Best OCR Software
Reliable OCR technology can help you ensure that your text is converted with maximum accuracy, providing precise insight into your contracts. The reliability of your OCR could be the difference between a good contractual relationship and a breach of contract.
You still need a human to verify the outputs of all OCR tech used in a legal context. But a reliable OCR makes it less likely that you’ll have to waste your time figuring out which “As” should be “Os.”
Here are some ways OCR can help legal teams contribute to the business:
Moves Business Forward
Anything that helps create a more agile legal team helps the business move faster. The state of the contract determines the state of the deal. Thanks to OCR technology, parts of the contract process that used to take weeks now take hours or minutes.
In addition to importing legacy contracts into a new contract lifecycle management (CLM) tool, OCR technology enables legal to search for and access specific agreements. So instead of digging through spreadsheet cells and manually rummaging through your inbox to find the original five-year contract between you and an important enterprise client, you can type in a search term and find it (and all subsequent versions) within seconds.
Helps You Do More With Less
Legal teams are no strangers to operating lean. This is why more teams are delegating tedious tasks to technology. Smart tools like OCR make so many things possible, especially when combined with AI technology.
For example, LinkSquares CLM lets AI take the first pass at contract review. AI does a better (and faster) job of reviewing the content, recognizing inconsistencies, and replacing outdated language with new, legal-approved terms. This way, legal can spend more time on more complex adjustments and high-value outcomes.
Using AI is like having another team member on board, which comes in handy if your legal team is already lean.
Reduces Liability Risk
We can all agree that inaccurate data is the corporate version of kryptonite. Whether it’s customer, performance, or contract data, inaccurate information can lead to poor decisions, which can be difficult to recover from.
Unreliable OCR needs to do an adequate job of accurately converting characters from a low-quality photo into a machine-readable form. Left unchecked, this can cause entire repositories full of inaccurate contracts. This makes it harder to find what you’re seeking and extra hard to validate the obligations within an agreement.
Legal teams need the best OCR possible. It allows you to be confident that the data in your legacy contracts have accurately transferred to your new system and that it’s safe to use data to make crucial decisions.
OCR technology is proving more and more useful for legal departments. It automates — and along with AI — reviews, corrects, and categorizes contracts based on specified criteria. For legal teams, this means moving faster, protecting the business, and contributing to the business strategically.
Interested in how LinkSquares uses OCR technology? Request a demo today.
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