Russian OCR Pioneer, ABBYY, Enters the AI Doc Review Fray

Russian OCR pioneer, ABBYY, has joined the NLP-driven legal doc review space with the announcement that it has launched a ‘Text Analytics for Contracts’ capability, which they describe as a ‘managed service that automatically discovers insights from contracts’.

The doc review capability, which looks very much in the same vein as some LPOs have rolled similar packages out, involves a human element. ABBYY service personnel ‘simplify customer engagement by taking responsibility for configuration, staging and processing of documents’, to ‘accelerate the delivery of contract-based intelligence to client personnel’.

The company, which first originated in Russia before going global in the 1990s, said that it will target volume review work related to matters such as GDPR, and ASC 606 (an accounting standard that relates to corporate revenues derived from customer contracts).

And it certainly makes sense for a company that has evolved into a global business that handles everything from OCR to robotic process automation (N.B. which has nothing at all to do with robots, but basically is speeding up basic computer-based data processing tasks, usually at outsourcers), to move into the NLP-driven doc review space.

The potential market for automated (or partially automated) doc review is gigantic and although there are clear legal AI leaders pioneering this sector, when looked at on a global scale there is plenty of work still conducted primarily via process level cognitive labour, much of which could be industrialised.

In a statement the company said: ‘With Text Analytics for Contracts, businesses can leverage the entire ABBYY technology portfolio to accelerate time-to-value and successfully implement their contract lifecycle management, robotic process automation and digital transformation strategies.’

‘The service is well suited for large and medium-sized enterprises, large-scale system integrators and independent software vendors who need to automatically leverage the intelligence embedded within sectioned documents including contracts, leases, regulatory filings and more, to augment business decision-making processes and ensure compliance with emerging regulations,’ it said.

Bruce Orcutt, Vice-President, Head of Product Marketing at ABBYY, commented: ‘[This product] simplifies the use of semantic and AI technologies to automatically identify intelligence within contracts and streamlines analysis to dramatically reduce turnaround time.’

As an aside, ABBYY had an interesting formation. The story began back in Armenia, when company founder, David Yang, moved to Moscow, Russia (pictured above), to study and in 1989 started his first software company. Yang and colleagues developed one of the first electronic dictionaries, then pioneered OCR in Russia, before expanding into other text-based challenges. The company, which services many different sectors, is now global with offices around the planet. Yang remains the Chairman of the company, which also remains based in Russia.