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No-code and the future of AI-powered contracting

Written by Colin Earl, Agiloft CTO. Originally published on vmblog.com. 

Last year, the pandemic transformed almost every industry. The global impact of COVID-19 forced enterprises to quickly adapt and digitally transform traditional, in-person processes. This is especially true in the case of legal operations. Legal teams now must rely on software like contract lifecycle management (CLM) to update contracts, extract metadata for contract development, as well as review and track documents to ensure compliance. 

CLM also enables active documents to be shared securely, identifies clauses and prioritizes contracts for review based on risk analysis. Since it is challenging and time-consuming to keep track of all documents manually, large enterprises have turned to CLM solutions with artificial intelligence (AI) to manage hundreds of thousands of ever-evolving contracts.

At the same time, enterprises are moving away from traditional software and adopting no-code platforms that are easier for developers to configure without spending weeks and months on manual coding. Amid COVID-19, organizations require much more agility in order to maintain business continuity, which has led accelerated adoption of no-code software applications. Given all these factors, below are two enterprise software trends that we can expect to see in the next year.

1. No-code software's powerful adaptability takes center stage in 2021

The adoption of no-code platforms made substantial progress in 2020 as companies scrambled to deploy new technologies quickly in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. With highly configurable automation, no-code platforms increase efficiency and reduce the risk of deploying digital systems. This gives organizations a new level of dexterity that's essential today, as they can customize their systems to fit the most complex processes, quickly adapt when circumstances change, and automate processes to free up time better spent on customers.

No-code platforms are revolutionizing the software industry and leaving traditional systems that depend on slow, manual coding behind. In the coming year, the agile development offered by no-code platforms will impact IT departments at the enterprise level, as CIOs look to replace legacy technology and deploy in a matter of weeks versus the many months or years it takes to develop traditional enterprise software.

More CIOs and IT leaders will rely on no-code platforms in 2021 to configure agile applications faster with significantly reduced risk, resource, and time requirements while also satisfying development needs across the enterprise. No-code will become the new normal in multiple areas. This will increase the level of responsiveness and agility in IT departments and nine-month turnarounds for system implementations or updates will no longer be tolerated.  

2. AI will become mainstream in 2021, but a "one size fits all" approach won't work, especially for AI-powered contract management

Now that AI is more widely used and enterprises in every industry are discovering new ways to harness its capabilities, we finally see AI technology becoming mainstream in 2021. This means even organizations that are considered "late adopters" will begin to automate various tasks using AI. However, when IT teams consider deploying an AI solution, it's important to remember that the AI/ML model must be adaptable to the specific needs of each organization.

In the case of CLM, the digital contracting system must be agile enough to scale with the organization and its changing needs over the next 10+ years. If the CLM isn't flexible and tailored to the organization's specific challenges at that time, the company will be forced to roll out a completely new system every couple of years, which is extremely costly and time-consuming. AI can be extremely effective if implemented properly, but like other powerful tools, it must be done right.