Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a C-suite tech industry interviewee. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Jim Wagner, President of Seal Software.
Biggest challenge for your clients?
Seal Software provides AI-powered contract analytics for the enterprise. As a whole, we are on the early side of the maturity curve around the use of AI and the application of this technology in contract analysis. So, while it is natural to assume that our biggest challenge relates to our core technology, that’s not really the case.
A key challenge Seal’s clients face is setting aside the resources and time to execute on what is in essence a change-management process. It is possible to have perfect alignment between a customer’s digital transformation strategy and our platform. However, that strategy must be backed up by a corresponding investment in and commitment to the process of change management, including real enablement at the field level.
On the technology front, the main challenge our customers face is finding the right people to build their AI models. Seal Software delivers pre-built solutions to address our customers’ most common needs, but ultimately our customers also want the ability to build their own custom models to solve unique problems.
Building AI models is both an art and a science. In our world, building these models specifically for legal documents requires ‘the chops’ to understand the technology, the discipline to execute a rigorous process, and the substantive expertise to read and interpret detailed legal language. Finding the right people to do this is no easy task and it takes a real commitment of time to become a true expert.
Technology that excites you most?
As Seal is an AI company it’s hard for me not to choose the umbrella of “AI.” For us, the technology changes that will most impact our business are advances in AI, which will allow us to develop and deliver high efficacy models with smaller and smaller amounts of training examples. Historically, effective AI modeling has required high volumes of data and a significant level of interactive training. Fortunately, there has been massive progress in this area, and as the technology matures, the requirements for training large volumes of data to accomplish good results will diminish. As this happens, Seal will be able to develop an even greater number of models for our clients with less effort and more accuracy.
We’re also bullish on the future of transfer learning, which will give us and our clients the ability to develop models in one language–English, for example–and to automatically convert those models to other languages such as French and Spanish. This will be a massive breakthrough for global business.
DocuSign, the Agreement Cloud company, recently announced the intention to acquire Seal Software. They are looking to leverage Seal’s AI technology to augment DocuSign CLM, the contract lifecycle management offering launched late last year, and then in time, to benefit the rest of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud suite.
Naturally, we’re excited to leverage our AI expertise to help make the Agreement Cloud even smarter. We see the tremendous potential of Agreement Cloud to change the way contracts are managed. Over the longer term, our goal will be to ensure the continued evolution of the digital agreement process—and to usher in the era where agreements can automatically monitor and fulfil terms, as well as offer other compliance and risk capabilities.
I’ve been working in the technology field, specifically legal technology, for more than 20 years. When I attend a conference of peers, I love seeing old friends and enjoy building on the relationships that I’ve developed over the years. I also take a lot of pride in the fact that the clients, partners and colleagues that I started working with decades ago believe in me and trust me today. You only have one reputation in this industry and I’m committed to keeping that intact. On a personal level, my greatest success is my family – my wife and I have been married for 30 years and we have 3 kids that we love very much.
If I could wind back the clock I would be more patient with myself and with colleagues. We are not all wired the same, and we all have different strengths. I believe everyone has something important and valuable to contribute. It’s something that I try to remember every day.
In another life I’d be…
I’ve played in a lot of bands over the years and there’s nothing like the magic of creating a new song and recording it or playing it for the first time for an audience. Unfortunately, my skills don’t quite match up to my passion. Maybe next time!