3 trends in technology for legal departments

3 trends in technology for legal departments

Marcel Lang (Director of Epona USA) has always had a keen eye for spotting technology trends early on. In this blog he identifies 3 developments that legal departments need to keep an eye on.

Microsoft 365 and Teams

These days, everything revolves around efficiency and working from home. Teams and Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) are the key technologies that make this possible. We have bid goodbye to outdated applications to make way for alternatives that work on Microsoft 365. This is partly thanks to the open attitude Microsoft has adopted in recent years towards other platforms.

Microsoft invests time in cross-platform solutions. By offering products such as Word or Excel via the browser (or even web only), they can be used on almost any type of device. SharePoint and Microsoft Teams serve as the roundabout for users and applications. In Teams, Marcel sees the new Windows, the central application with which everything else needs to connect.

AI for document classification

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is able to recognize and classify documents. For example, AI can see the difference between an employment contract, a Shared Purchase Agreement or a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This does not sound very exciting at first, but it makes it possible to then file these documents automatically – and correctly – to the right matter. Furthermore, based on applicable laws and regulations (compliance) for each type of document, Information Lifecycle Management can be applied automatically whereby the document can also be archived or deleted automatically.

To "educate" AI, there is a new development in addition to Machine Learning, namely Machine Teaching. With Machine Learning, a computer model teaches itself the characteristics of a particular type of document on the basis of thousands of documents. However, to do so, the volume of documents needs to be considerable. To speed up the process, people are now lending a hand. You mark the most important properties that you think the model should recognize in a document in a dozen of the documents and, on the basis of this, the computer model learns more quickly and with a smaller number of examples how a particular document should look.

Finally, Microsoft has also just started to mine the AI field with two new services: Graph and Syntex. Graph is a new interface layer (API) via which all data in the Microsoft ecosystem can be analysed and compared. For example, calendar information from Exchange Online can be matched with data from the Sharepoint DMS. This, in turn, can lead to new insights.

Syntex is the new AI tool that, on the basis of a keyword, can compile a tailor-made information page from all sources accessible to Syntex. These can be external sources and also internal sources to which Syntex has secure access. Thus, for example, if you are working on a case for a company, Syntex looks up the relevant data about this company in public sources and displays it on one overview page with your internal documents, e-mails or current affairs.

Cloud is considered safer than on premises

The adoption of cloud technology is not being accelerated or prompted by IT departments. No, it is the compliancy and legal departments that are forcing this transition. They look at this in a surprising way: the location of the data becomes less relevant due to the wide choice of data centre locations, but the level of protection and certifications, on the other hand, is considered much more important.

These departments place more trust in the security levels of, for example, Microsoft or Amazon Web Services than in those of local cloud providers or independent SaaS providers. Even very socially critical services in the fields of energy, defence and healthcare are choosing the clouds of Microsoft and Amazon. Since Microsoft now has a data centre in almost every corner in the world, it is quite capable of complying with the local rules. Add to this the high levels of security and quality, and they are a very logical choice for many organisations.

Would you like to know more about these trends and what they can mean for your organisation? Then please contact Epona Legaland we will be happy to talk with you about the possibilities.

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