Accurate and targeted extraction of data from completed contracts is one of the main aims of any Contract Lifecycle Management platform. Unfortunately many current solutions, including Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and manual input screens require complex initial configuration as well as many resources devoted to data entry, review and/or correction. Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a technique that uses grammar and a predetermined dictionary of rules and structures to identify and extract data from documents. NLP as a discipline is a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and can be utilized to automate complex tasks related to content identification and extraction from documents.
In a January 2016 article entitled “Where Banks Can Use Smart Machines," Gartner identifies Natural Language Processing (NLP) products as presenting a low cost and low risk solution to a firm’s data needs. Data extraction using NLP leverages the grammar of the document as well as a dictionary of rules to identify and select the needed data point.
The benefits of Natural Language Processing are:
NLP can automatically identify and classify entities and the associated taxonomy. For example, “net income” can be understood as a type of “income.” This taxonomic understanding identifies the presence or absence of certain key clauses in a document, as well as identifying clauses that deviate from the standard “boiler-plate” document.
NLP also allows for content-based information extraction, rather than depending on detection of specific text strings or positional coordinates within a document or a page. This allows for accurate extraction from non-standard formats such as tables of financial data. For example, in the case of tabular financial data, where the targeted value, the header, and the row description all contribute towards providing context.
Extending or changing the rules and the dictionary is done via configuration files, allowing for updates that can be made without going through a formal production roll-out every time new requirements are identified.
- Since the tool is language driven, using the taxonomy defined in the rules and the dictionary, no updates are needed when new templates or documents come into scope. These documents can be processed using the application already in production.
NLP offers a flexible, automated approach for targeted data identification and extraction that can be used in a number of use cases across your business and offers huge benefits in the Contract Lifecycle Management space. For more information on how Natural Language Processing can help accelerate your contract data extraction capabilities, click below.Sagence is a specialized firm designed to help organizations drive their businesses with information and insight through better data and analytics practices. Follow us on LinkedIn to stay informed on all things data.