Alexa At this point in Adlib’s evolution, how do you describe the business?
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At this point in Adlib’s evolution, how do you describe the business?

Artificial Intelligence

At this point in Adlib’s evolution, how do you describe the business?

We help enterprise organizations leverage their content better than they do today with our solutions. We help them transform unstructured content like documents and emails into structured formats acceptable for downstream systems that  can interpret the data. We help our clients extract “stuck” data. Up until now, organizations have just accepted that vast amounts of information are essentially lost. Using our solutions, they're able to reclaim that lost information and leverage it.

How did Adlib get launched?

The company started in 1998 based on a job awarded to two small companies. Founder and SVP of Market Strategy, Scott Mackey, worked with his father in one company that was involved in the document management space. I worked with a business partner in the other company that built software for industrial and business automation. The job was to make content available electronically then to search through that content in a legal discovery process. We distributed the content on a CD.

We’ve come a long way. We are now a SaaS company that has continuously built on that original ground-floor capability to enter the content intelligence space. We help many large enterprise organizations in several major industries transform their content. For example, many global pharma companies use Adlib solutions to transmit electronic data to regulators. Pfizer recently relied on Adlib to send all of its vaccine data related to clinical trials for their submissions to the FDA. We were able to help them significantly accelerate that critical business process.

How do you describe your size and growth?

We now work for 400+ customers directly plus many other customers through partners. We are installed in more than 80 countries. In addition to North America, we are quite strong in the European Union and have clients in Australia and Asia. As we’ve grown geographically, our offerings have become quite diverse and we’ve certainly grown by many orders of magnitude in terms of workforce and revenues. That healthy trajectory continues today.

Would you call Adlib a “SaaS company”?

Sure, yes, we are a SaaS company. But we try to think more about delivering customer solutions. So we're not really selling software. We're selling the ability for customers to access intelligence from buried information. Software is a means to that end. We want our teams to think not in terms of clients buying SaaS but buying the transformation that the SaaS enables. So, really, you could more accurately call us a content intelligence company.

How have you evolved competitively in the content management space?

Content intelligence is one of the ways. There are other providers that do aspects of what we do but in different different ways. We look at the SaaS platform we’ve built as a way to solve problems. It's a pretty complete solution. To get close to what we can do, a competitor would have to assemble different technologies. So that's one of our advantages: we provide a complete solution on a single platform for many of the problems our customers are facing.

How do you define "content intelligence”?

Content intelligence is basically taking unstructured content — documents mainly — and leveraging them to derive a higher level of intelligence. That might be extracting data or sharing a document in a way that you couldn't share it before. It might include making documents fully searchable through optical character recognition (OCR). According to 451 Research, “Addressing the Role of Unstructured Data with Object Storage”, “In 2018, 71% of enterprises reported that unstructured data was growing “somewhat faster” or “much faster” than other business data.” Our platform was designed to reverse this trend.

Ultimately, it’s the ability to drive that information to downstream systems that operate more effectively with more data that’s transformed to be intelligent. In short, making unintelligent documents “intelligent” so they can help drive business process automation. “With 80% of data being unstructured by 2025”, according to IDC, as quoted by Data Management Solutions Review, the challenge is on, but our content intelligence platform is the answer.

What’s the potential of content intelligence?

It’s absolutely massive. If you only think about governments and large companies, and only about the emails and documents created automatically and stored, all the data in those emails and documents is inaccessible and unusable. So content intelligence is the opportunity to do something that couldn't be done before, to bring that enormous volume of data, and all other unstructured data, to bear productively on the enterprise.

COVID has shone a new light on that value in healthcare. The complexity of getting any data to be expressed consistently across different healthcare units has been shockingly inefficient. If we are to tackle disease on a global basis, data has to flow. Extrapolate that out into all businesses for purchase decisions and contracts and employment records and business records and all kinds of other data that's just stored in isolated records, just in case that single record has to be read one day. That seems almost crazy. Yet it’s routine. In aggregate, those records are chock full of data that can be leveraged to improve the business in obvious ways and new ways that haven't even been conceived yet. The potential is really unlimited. Our clients are excited about where they might take it.

What are some examples where you've seen remarkable customer results once they started bringing intelligence to unstructured data?

One of our big product pushes is in contracts. Almost all contracts are documents not live data. Large corporations with thousands of contracts have not traditionally been able to make sense of these massive collections of documents without hiring teams of lawyers to sift through mountains of agreements by hand.

Contracts exist across many different verticals and functions but are a major issue in financial services, life sciences, pharmaceutical, law, and insurance. Often, the most pressing concern is regulatory compliance. When regulations change — and they do quite frequently — you have to know what’s in every contract. By automating access to that information, our clients can accurately assess risk and ensure compliance in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

Also, with insurers, we help route documents more efficiently to process claims far faster, literally in minutes versus days or weeks. Customers who need that money because something terrible has happened are thrilled.

The example I gave of Pfizer is perhaps the most vivid one. In that case, many lives were at stake. Speed was everything. Pfizer was ready from a data standpoint because they have Adlib. And that's not overstatement.

Brexit is another interesting one where jurisdictions have changed and thus governing law. The implications of that change are enormous from a contractual standpoint. Reading every contract is almost humanly impossible, certainly painfully slow, and extremely expensive. We can automate it all.

LIBOR is a third area, where regulations changed overnight. LIBOR wasn’t on anyone’s radar, until it absolutely needed to be. The problem; it’s embedded in millions of contracts. And they all must be amended. The sobering reality is that entire legal teams will take months of manual labor to make sure exposure is found and fixed. Our Contract Analytics Solution is an economical way to find, analyze, and cleanse LIBOR exposure from every single contract an organization holds.

M&A is another example where our platform delivers. 46% of dealmakers surveyed by Deloitte said that less than half of their M&A transactions over the past two years have generated the expected value or ROI.  The most important factors in achieving a successful M&A hinge upon a) accurate valuation of targets and b) executing on post-close integration to create value. But many business leaders don’t realize their inherited contract documents will steal away the M&A ROI they were banking on. Our Content Intelligence for M&A takes care of the data side of M&A, so you can reach ROI in months, not years.

So Adlib is in the business of both remediating risk and uncovering opportunity?

That’s right. The risk side is often easier to sell because there’s obvious and immediate value. Using our technologies, an organization’s full risk profile is revealed and then maintained. But after that the technology starts to be appealing as a competitive tool, for better understanding customers and making better business decisions. That’s one of the promises of big data. And unstructured data brought to life makes big data much bigger, thus not only fulfilling the promise but enlarging it.

And innovation?

Every large enterprise these days has built an innovation team, usually with a C-level executive who focuses on innovation and data. They've all got data-transformation projects. They've all hired data scientists. But in many cases, they're missing the data. That's where Adlib comes in. Our solutions are like the final missing piece in multi-million-dollar data transformation investments — the piece that unleashes the full ROI.

Should all enterprises be on that path?

I believe that there won’t be much choice. Digital transformation is a response to a rising competitive threat and an opportunity to lead your industry. The digital businesses are showing the way. Think of Priceline or Airbnb. The valuation of Airbnb is greater today than Hilton’s value, and Airbnb doesn’t own any property.

You’ll often hear about companies, such as big insurers, boasting about having been in business for over 100 years. What that actually means is that they've got processes that could be almost that old, systems so difficult to change that digital insurance companies can come along and supersede them virtually overnight. That’s why digital transformation is so important. It’s the way out of legacy encumbrances and the way into a future that has already arrived.

Based on these trends, where is Adlib going strategically?

As content intelligence gets more and more important, and organizations understand more and more about their customers so they can make better decisions, we are going firmly in that direction with a strong overlay of AI. We are developing a whole generation of AI-based technology for doing business differently. We want to be the provider able to crawl through that data, extract the important bits, and channel them intelligently for dramatic downstream business performance.

What are customer relationships like at Adlib?

We are very fortunate. We have many long-term customers. We’re proud of the fact that we've built those strong relationships. The word is overused but we consider many of our customers to be partners, because of how we understand where their businesses are going and how we are supporting that growth.

Our customers challenge us at times to do different things with our technology, to push it further, which of course gives us ongoing opportunities to innovate. They provide plenty of feedback and direction that benefits both us and them.

What's the culture like inside Adlib?

We’ve tried to develop a culture where our people feel invested in the company. We don't try to assimilate people with a rule-from-the-top attitude. We like to embrace the ideas of our people so we can get better as a company. Nobody knows everything. Nobody really understands what they don't know. When you bring new people into the organization, you give yourself the opportunity to access new experiences and new ways of doing things. We work to have an open culture where people get to ask questions, suggest things, and question why we do things in certain ways. We encourage the discussion. People who join us are usually very excited about being part of an organization with that degree of openness.

What awards has Adlib won?

There have been quite a few. This past year, we were named among the “Best Workplaces in Technology 2020” and, for the third year in a row we earned a “Great Place To Work” award. In the insurance market, we were awarded InsurTech’s “Top 20 Solutions Providers 2020” and in life sciences, we won “Most Promising Pharma & Life Sciences Tech Solution Providers 2020.

What would you like Adlib to be admired for?

Two things. First, innovation — the solutions we bring to market. They are unique and powerful. And second, our customer partnerships. We've had customers, many of them multi-billion-dollar enterprises, say that Adlib has set the standard for enterprise support in their organization. That feels validating because we work hard at being that kind of partner. The kind of company you want to keep.

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