This continues a series of columns from practitioners I respect. The category "Real Deal" describes them well.
This time it is Bill Hewitt. Bill joined Exari in 2015 as Chief Executive Officer, responsible for the company’s vision, strategy and business operations. Bill has a strong track record of growing technology companies including Kalido, PeopleSoft and Hyperion Software. Bill began his career at IBM in sales, marketing and executive management. Bill holds a degree in business administration from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University.
I recently interviewed him for my upcoming book on how automation is changing various occupations and it was fascinating to hear how Exari is transforming the world of lawyers and risk managers.
Here he writes “thar’s gold in them contract hills” if you only know how to mine them
Imagine a world where the contract process is virtual. Companies negotiate with each other in cyberspace, taking best practices from a universal library of clauses and precedents. Automatic scoring of risk gives the negotiator visibility into how exposed they are, allowing them to ensure they are putting proper protections in place. Finally, the contract is analyzed against all previous contracts of its type and the libraries are updated even as the contract whizzes through cyberspace with electronic counterparty signatures. The contract and its core data are stored and now ready to inform downstream and upstream systems of the new rights and obligations.
That future is not that far off. But it is jarring because the traditional contracting process has been slow, cumbersome and error-prone. Anyone who has been through a contract cycle knows it.
Because for years contract management has been about documents. The future is about data. Exari’s focus on 100% contract certainty is all about extracting relevant data from contracts and making it accessible for business decision making. Until now, if a company wanted to find out their rights and obligations, they would either pull the contracts, review them one by one, keep key terms in a spreadsheet or turn to their outside law firm for a lengthy- and expensive- review.
Fast forward to today. Exari has created a “machine” to extract key data from contracts and deliver insights instantaneously. We’ve created a “Universal Contract Model™ that can harmonize any contract, regardless of the form, language or style. Why does this matter? Because contracts are intended to be business tools and today, most contracts are artifacts and only exposed when something goes wrong. The fact is, if companies could operationalize their contract data, they would not miss revenue opportunities and would be 100% informed as to the risk of their contract portfolio.
More importantly, industry specialization matters. For years, we have been working with the world’s largest banks and are the leaders in using near real-time contract data to manage counterparty, credit and collateral risk. Last week, Exari acquired CMA Contiki, a leader in the highly regulated Oil & Gas market. Their expertise and depth in understanding the complexity of project-intensive industries is unrivaled.
By working with leaders in business, we are breaking new ground in how contract processes are automated, not just from a workflow standpoint but from a contract intelligence standpoint.