The B2B App Party: Presentations, artificial legal intelligence & electronic signatures

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Consider this list a cocktail conversation kick-starter for the after-party at the convention center. To compile our list of the current most popular B2B applications, in no particular order, B2B News Network based its judgment on industry participant input and software analyst expertise across six categories. We’ll report our results over the next two days.

Today we’ll look at an add-on to an old favorite, the use of AI in the search for contract clarity and at the variety of tools used to obtain digital signatures.

Slideflight adds to perennial favorite

PowerPoint remains “popular” with B2B companies from the longest tenured Dow 30 enterprise to the most recently funded Series A startup. Of course, popular is a relative term, depending on the length of the slide deck one has to endure. But virtually no B2B meeting exists that goes on without at least one presentation. However, in a bid to break through the ennui viewers feel toward this application, one company has developed what it calls a PowerPoint “add-in” to allow a presenter to share slides with the audience, according to Michael Steinberg, business development, Slideflight GmbH.

“A presentation can be followed live via a smartphone, tablet or computer by inserting a six-digit ID—provided by the presenter—into the Slideflight app or webpage,” Steinberg says. “The presentation can then be saved as a PDF, and notes can also be added, to analyze the data later.”

He says this makes it a great solution for pitches, in-person business meetings and web and phone conferences.

Look out, HAL: artificial intelligence on the rise

Foreshadowed by supercomputer HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, artificial intelligence (AI) has started to make a real impact on the B2B landscape—from monetizing data to legal research. Just last week, Google revealed that its AI application called Google RankBrain exists as the third most important factor in how it indexes search results.

And when it comes to legal research, an AI application came out in its latest version this month, promising to redefine one of the oldest tools of business: Contracts. According to Seal Software, using machine learning, its AI application automates discovery of contracts—no matter where in an enterprise—then analyzes and reports on their contents—often-overlooked information with serious business and legal implications.

“With businesses fighting to save time and money, not only did we improve data extraction and analytics but also ensured users have tools to comprehend critical business data and insights in a visual, understandable way,” says Ulf Zetterberg, CEO, Seal Software. “The number of contracts that need processing and complexity of their searches grow continually. We’ve responded with a more powerful platform and data visualization tool to remove risk and improve profitability.”

Electronic signatures here to stay?

For many years, electronic signatures existed as an option for completing a signed agreement, but physically executed documents remained the norm. Now electronic signatures have gone mainstream for B2B concerns from Comcast Business to Box. As customers of leading digital transaction management provider DocuSign, they can minimize time and expense to sign and submit contracts, according to a company representative.

“In fact, the DocuSign app has saved customers over 450 hours and more than $60,000 per year in document processing,” says Gregor Perotto, spokesperson for DocuSign. “Average savings per document are more than $35. Customers span all industries and departments. DocuSign allows companies to close deals in one meeting with 84 percent of documents completed within one day.”

While it seems the dominant electronic signature application vendor, DocuSign does not have the field to itself. Other providers of so-called eSignatures (aka, E-Signatures) include HelloSign and Adobe Document Cloud, formerly known as EchoSign.

Tune in tomorrow when we’ll discuss CRM, mobile apps for in-the-field use and order management.

Photo credit: Jon Evans

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Derek Handova

Derek Handova

Derek Handova is a veteran journalist writing on various B2B vertical beats. He started out as associate editor of Micro Publishing News, a pioneer in coverage of the desktop publishing space and more recently as a freelance writer for Digital Journal, Economy Lead (finance and IR beats) and Intelligent Utility (electrical transmission and distribution beats).