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How to buy a contract intelligence tool

By now you’ve probably been bombarded by headlines, ads, and emails all about contract companies’ new contract intelligence tools. Now, whether that excites or annoys you, it’s time for your teams to start using these tools. After all, the benefits of having AI review your contracts, and do instantaneous due diligence, is a game changer that can save time and give you more breathing space with your bottom line.

This is a new field, and you may feel lost in knowing what to look for when evaluating different contract intelligence tools. To keep it simple, we’ll let you know the 6 key things you should be looking for when finding the tool that’s right for you.

  1. Does a contract intelligence tool have the capabilities I need?
  2. Is a contract intelligence tool necssary?
  3. Is it safe and secure?
  4. Can it be connected to your contract management tool?

For each of these questions, we’ll also give you a checklist of how to answer these questions—so let’s get started!

Does a contract intelligence tool have the capabilities I need?

AI can be hugely beneficial when it comes to your contracts. In fact, according to our one exclusive research, inhouse legal specialists spent 62.3% less time on routine legal work. For the sake of transparency, these numbers were compiled by surveying companies across Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France, the UK and the US. You can read the full report here.

There’s a lot of contract AI solutions out there, and each contract intelligence tool has different combinations of offerings and functionality. Below we’ll cover the main functionality to look for, and some info on what it can do for you, so you can decide if it’s a functionality you need.

Generative content: Decrease the time taken to create and send contracts, or use it to edit your existing work and create smoother writing.

Dynamic content capabilities: Edit your contracts even after they’re sent, and save time by having 1 template with dynamic fields, instead of 50 different templates for each use case.

Review individual contracts: Reduce the manual work of legal teams, and get an extra set of eyes on your contracts.

Contract review: AI review of contracts in bulk in a smart dashboard where you can dive into the contracts based on filters and analysis.

Lifecycle management: Easy time keeping track of your contracts post send, to make sure you can easily find the necessary info you need, and never miss a contract deadline.

Revenue analytics: Identify and address contracts and employees who routinely have low sign rates or post sign risk. Allocate your time to prioritize contracts with a high likelihood to sign.

Read also: What is contract management? Your ultimate guide

Is a contract intelligence tool necessary?

It can feel as if every SaaS company is talking about AI. So, how do you sift through the noise and figure out if they actually have something? Some companies may be talking about AI, but just as ideas of where they want to go, but don’t have anything in production yet. Make sure to ask these questions to figure out if what they talk about is actually tangible and good.

  1. Does the company actually have tooling that customers are using today?
  2. If you were to use it, would it be easy to implement?
  3. What is the quality of their AI model?

Is it safe and secure?

Contracts are inherently sensitive—you want to make sure they are accurate, and that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. That’s why, when looking for a contract intelligence tool, you want to make sure that not only is their AI trustworthy, but that any and all data is safe and secure. Since you are handing over your most sensitive documents, you also want to make sure that the company itself is trustworthy, and is compliant with regulations like GDPR and ISO. Use the following checklist and guidance to determine the level of safety and security.

  1. What is their AI tool trained with?
    1. Tip: Most AI platforms are trained on publicly available contract masses and law books. This is standard and a good starting point.
    2. Bonus points if they have also had a subset of other agreements that they have actively tested and trained with and if they had a real lawyer go through annotating clauses, periods, and other interesting metadata.
  2. How have they tested the product?
    1. Tip: Testing is important, but luckily because contracts and legal text are linguistically structured, clear, and written in a predictable way, it should be enough if the AI has been trained on a large volume of contracts and publicly available contract masses, where real lawyers then ensure the output quality.
    2. Bonus points if they’ve had their product tested by real customers too.
  3. How is my data used?
    1. For functionality that involves reviewing, creating, searching and importing contracts, make sure the model exclusively uses your data and does not share it with any other customers. For tooling that reviews and provides insights on a larger scale, make sure data is anonymized.
    2. Bonus points if you are a company based in the EU. Make sure the data is stored in the EU only.
  4. Is it GDPR compliant?
    1. Just because AI is new and fancy doesn’t mean we can forget about GDPR. Make sure the solution you are using is GDPR compliant.
    2. Bonus points if the tool is built in a way that allows you to comply with GDPR in automatic ways, like with customizable data retention settings.
  5. Are the signatures secure?
    1. Let’s not forget that you’re still dealing with contract platforms, and AI tooling won’t matter if the contracts themselves aren’t legally signed.
  6. Do they have integrations for more eID options?
    1. Depending on who you’re sending contracts to and what kind of contracts you send, you may also want to have a contract platform that has eID signing options like BankID to make sure that you have an additional level of security to meet certain compliance and company needs.
  7. Is the company itself safe and secure (ISO certified)?
    1. The last thing you want is to have all of your contracts and intelligence about them stored by a company that could be susceptible to going under or being hacked. Make sure any contract intelligence tool you choose is ISO certified to keep your sensitive data safe.

Something else you may be tempted to ask is, ‘What if the contract intelligence tool makes mistakes?’ We didn’t include this as a buyer criteria because this is going to be pretty standard across all AI tools. Mistakes can happen during generation, but, since it’s reviewing, and not creating content, things are less likely to go wrong. So, it never hurts to have your legal team browse what it produces.

Read also: Why Oneflow is a contract management platform for everyone

Can it be connected to your contract management tool?

In this day and age, with a million tools for any given function you can imagine, it can seem like you’ll end up with a tech stack that makes everything more complicated rather than easier. That’s why one of the most important things to consider is finding a contract intelligence tool that automates and streamlines the entire contract process from pre-sign to archiving. With that in mind, ask these questions when evaluating a tool:

  1. Is the tool also a full end-to-end contract management tool with intelligence built throughout?
  2. Do they have the tools you need across the entire contract lifecycle?
  3. Is all functionality in one place, or will you have to spend time switching between SaaS tools to get your AI intelligence?

The key takeaways

AI moves so quickly, and working with a company and a product is also a chance to invest your time with a company that can grow with the AI evolution. Find a company that has AI aspirations that align with your company goals, so you can tag along with their growth through their contract intelligence tool. Find out the answers to the following questions to understand where they are going:

  1. Does the company have plans to build more AI capabilities?
  2. What kinds of capabilities are they headed towards?
  3. Do they have AI expertise in-house?


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