How to Effectively Track and Organize Policy Information in Real-Time

Natural Language Processing for Government Affairs, Policy and Legislation

Keeping your finger on the pulse of legislation and policy changes across every federal, state, and local jurisdiction is no easy feat. The scale of work being produced is enormous and growing larger every day. Take, for instance, the 2017-18 legislative session, during which more than 240,000 bills were brought to the floor. Is it any wonder why a key concern among Government Affairs professionals is that they miss a critical bill or regulation?

That’s where Contexture comes in. We provide a 21st-century solution to managing the growing mountain of documents that could have a meaningful impact on your enterprise. Using machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), our solutions analyze and track massive amounts of text and data far more effectively and efficiently than do current legacy products.

What is machine learning and NLP?

In 1950 mathematician Alan Turing first posed the question: “Can machines think?”

The answer then—as it is now—is no. But we have gotten to the point where we can program machines to spot trends, patterns, and tendencies. That’s exactly what machine learning and NLP do; they represent a form of artificial intelligence that analyzes written text using human reasoning.

Today, we see the tip of the NLP “iceberg” in its many applications. Virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa are able to “learn” and assist you in numerous tasks throughout the day. The predictive text on your cell phone and automated translation are also great examples of machine learning and NLP. Advanced algorithms, text normalization, complex mathematics, and software architecture represent some of the features “below the surface” that make it all happen.

How can this development help me track legislation?

These technologies are combined to accomplish higher-level analyses and tasks—things like summarizing text, translating, and sorting documents by content or sentiment. Our Document Comparison feature highlights how this range of technology works together. Starting with a sample passage, the technology can pinpoint similar complex legal or policy passages buried within much larger omnibus-style policy documents and regulatory registers.

NLP is particularly well suited to the legislative and policy arena. The very nature of the work produces piles of wordy documents with hidden codicils and last-minute spending measures. These documents must be carefully analyzed each day, a painstaking task that represents significant challenges for any Government Affairs team. It’s understandable that there’s the risk of missing important documents or passages. Then there’s the challenge of staying on top of all this information in a timely manner.

Below, we’ve laid out some common concerns, pain points, and questions about using artificial intelligence to track and organize legislative issues as well as ways that Contexture addresses them.

How can I be sure all my issues are covered?

With hundreds of thousands of bills introduced each legislative session, the chief concern for any Government Affairs team is that something significant will be overlooked. Organizations simply cannot afford to miss a bill or regulation that’s tucked somewhere in the waves of new policy, legislation, or rulemaking.

Many leaders in government affairs and policy outfits counter this risk by trying to capture every single document that might vaguely mention a keyword or phrase relating to their issues. Accurately reviewing so much content simply isn’t time- or cost-effective.

The solution is for document capture and content review to be highly targeted. So, no matter how narrow your niche of focus, Contexture’s Billwatch provides the most specific and personalized solution to monitor bills during every minute of every legislative session. Recommendations are driven by user-profiles and interaction with specific content, so you can say goodbye to keyword searching or 300-word-long Boolean statements.

Can’t I just do this by keeping an eye on the federal landscape?

I used to be able to monitor the policy and legislation I needed with a few lobbyists. But written policy is more fragmented now than ever before. Far from being contained to the federal level, legislation and regulation are increasingly being handled by state and local governments. The result is that it’s becoming more and more complex for Government Affairs professionals to track specific issues across each and every level of government.

As a complement to existing policy and lobbying resources, Contexture singles out and culls information from every relevant federal, state, and local source, including paywall sites and media/information platforms. With the aid of such advanced technology, you can feel confident you’ve got a tool that will truly provide the full spectrum of information you need at your fingertips every single day.

Why should I consider an alternative?

I’ve used the information services from the “big guys” for years. Why switch now? Industry standards like LexisNexis or Bloomberg build their searches off individual keywords that often turn up millions of results. That’s the good news. The bad news is that these services are neither intuitive nor easy-to-use. Instead of spending time-solving problems and analyzing impacts, employees slog through document review for hours—a very inefficient use of time.

With Contexture, each person in your organization creates a rich personal profile quickly and easily; that profile evolves over time, guiding policy analysis and document selection. That’s the feature that keeps staffers from having to start entirely from scratch each time they wish to search.

For Government Affairs professionals, Policy Analysts, lobbyists, and advocacy groups with a focus on government and policy affairs, Contexture offers powerful technology to:

  • Reduce policy risk
  • Improve monitoring/analysis efficiency and effectiveness
  • Enhance the end-user experience
  • Unlock the value of policy and related content

Contact Contexture now to see how we can make tracking and analyzing every sort of policy and legislation easier, and more effective, for you and your team.

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