This is a Sponsored Thought Leadership article by Mihaly Gündisch, General Manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, at legal AI, contract discovery and analysis company, Seal Software. The piece covers some of Gündisch’s thoughts on the issues General Counsel face today and also contains news about the legal AI company’s expansion in Europe.
In a recent blog post, my colleague Tim Norman spoke about how ‘agility eats perfection for breakfast’. What he meant was that often the pursuit of a perfect outcome or result is done at the expense of being responsive and able to act quickly on the things that matter.
So, it is with agility in mind that Seal has responded to the unique needs of our customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH), and cemented our local presence to ensure that they are supported.
The Increasing Challenges for General Counsel in Germany and DACH Region
Germany is now arguably the leading economic powerhouse of Europe. We rely on the German automobile and pharmaceutical industries globally, just to name two sectors. In a market that is known for being conservative, disciplined and organised, enterprises are constantly under the threat of complex, rigorous and highly demanding federal and local regulatory mandates.
A priority for legal professionals, both in-house and outside legal, is to be on top of all new and changing legislation and how it affects the business, and DACH is no different.
One example is with German data privacy rules, which are known for being the strictest in Europe. Data protection is a very hot topic, but not just compliance with GDPR (for more on GDPR, see our recent blog post here), but also compliance with the Bundesdatenschutzgesetz – the data protection law specific to Germany. The Bundesdatenschutzgesetz has a variety of requirements, not least is the appointment of a Data Protection Officer.
Brexit is another concern for German businesses which need to know where they stand in terms of their contracts. There is still uncertainty as to how Brexit will be implemented and preparing for everything and anything is a strain on legal teams. They continue to churn through contract negotiations, but are restricted in their ability to give definite advice to the business and in their ability to plan for the business impact.
With the changing regulatory landscape many companies are dealing with compliance with short-term fixes where they deal with what impacts them now, with little to no planning on how risk management and compliance could be streamlined in the longer run.
A General Counsel who wants to be a strategic contributor at board-level is heavily reliant on team members who know and can react quickly to the regulatory landscape, and the dramatic changes of late, in particular those affecting the German market, make that incredibly difficult.
Risk or Opportunity? Take an AI Aspirin, or Some AI Vitamins?
Seal helps organisations manage regulatory compliance and risks, and does so with the benefits of copious amounts of relevant and important contract data.
Our clients understand that to achieve this requires the proprietary technology, tools and processes that Seal can provide. But, managing risk and compliance is merely keeping the ship afloat. It is achieving what must be done to stay out of trouble, or reduce the pain (or potential pain) in the case of a compliance audit. This is sort of like taking aspirin for a headache. Perhaps some Bayer aspirin?
For the DACH region to leverage and extend its strong economic position it must look beyond just reducing the occurrence of negative business events and instead leverage technology and processes to fuel and grow their businesses. This is more like taking vitamins than aspirin.
Contract data does this as well, providing a significant opportunity to generate more revenue and uncover savings with new business insight that did not exist before within a company’s Sales and Procurement functions, to name just two areas.
A significant percentage of our customers consider and purchase Seal for a specific regulatory or risk ‘headache’ (or in some cases a disruptive nightmare), but end up using it to make better business decisions on a long term, continuous basis.
Our Customers Asked – and We Delivered! In German!
Here’s a little more detail on what we do in Germany:
- Seal speaks German! Our solution works with documents written in German, as well as 16 other languages.
- We have launched our German microsite: www.seal-software.de, and serve our customers in German through our local sales team.
- At the end of September we will be launching pre-built German extraction policies. These will be made available through our MarketPlace, a central online community to share and download various pre-built components across Seal users.
- We are recruiting German partners to join our community to help us develop solutions for the German market.
- We are out and about in the DACH region! Stay in touch with us for our next local event.