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Artificial intelligence, machine learning and best-in-breed software are driving the transformation of Thomson Reuters into a content-enabled technology company, providing their clients with the tools to solve real-world problems

In an era defined by disruptive change, Thomson Reuters is undergoing its own transformation to give their customers an edge.

The Toronto-based global company, already trusted as the go-to content provider for professionals and decision-makers across industries, is bolstering its unique content even further with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, best-of-breed software and delivering its services in the cloud.

“We’re going through a pretty significant and exciting transformation right now. A key part of it is to become a leading content-enabled technology company,” explains Shawn Malhotra, head of engineering at Thomson Reuters in Toronto, where the company’s new corporate headquarters will open in 2022.

“We’re combining content, AI and purpose at Thomson Reuters,” he says.

Being purpose-driven is essential at a time when professional services, business and even the way people work are all being upended by rapid change.

Mr. Malhotra explains that the company is taking a strategic approach to bring leading-edge technology and systems to its already formidable content in law, media, business, tax and regulatory compliance.

“We have an incredible library of proprietary content; with AI and other technology we can better deploy that content to help people around the world solve real-world problems,” he says.

Faster access to critical information

As an example of how technology is changing the game, Mr. Malhotra points to one of the company’s flagship products, the Westlaw legal database used by lawyers, judges and paralegals in more than 60 countries.

“With better technology tools, we help lawyers find that proverbial needle in a haystack when they’re looking for cases to develop their legal arguments. This can mean better service and better access to justice for their clients,” Mr. Malhotra says. “It sounds simple, but it’s a challenging technology problem that we’re solving, and it makes Thomson Reuters a great place to work.”

Shohreh Shaghaghian, senior research scientist at Thomson Reuters Labs, the company’s applied research centre, was recently involved in developing an AI-enabled tool that assists legal professionals with certain document reviewing tasks.

“We had multiple conversations with a few legal professionals who were potential end-users of the tool,” Dr. Shaghaghian says.

“I realized that it took an average of 11 hours to perform these review tasks, and the tool we were developing could reduce the entire review time to a couple of minutes,” she says. “As scientists, it’s easy to get lost in the details and forget about its impacts – that’s why it was a very rewarding moment for me to understand the impact of my work in real life.”

It’s a stunning change that can potentially transform how work is done in a wide range of industries.

To support this innovation work, Thomson Reuters is designing its new corporate headquarters as a place for creative technology minds to work together.

“It’s designed so you get to collaborate with your technology team at the headquarters, the nerve centre, of a great international company,” Mr. Malhotra says.

Driving better outcomes through diversity

At the same time that Thomson Reuters is bolstering technology and product innovation, the company is also putting strong emphasis on its people, with a deep and measurable commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Building an inclusive workplace is essential for business today, Mr. Malhotra says. The company believes strongly that diversity drives innovation and leads to better outcomes, plus it’s key for connecting with diverse customers around the world, he adds.

Dr. Shaghaghian notes how a diverse and inclusive workforce also makes a difference to the people doing the innovative work. “Engineering is traditionally a male-dominated field and there is a long way for all of us to go. For me, it’s important to see that an organization I work for is moving in the right direction.”

She recalls an early experience with the company that conveyed, in a quiet way, its commitment to inclusivity.

“Even when I was interviewed for my role here, I noticed that there were equal numbers of men and women interviewing me at each stage of the process. They were paying attention to this, and it mattered to me.”

Putting customers at the centre

David Wong, chief product officer at Thomson Reuters, says he jumped at the opportunity last year to return to his hometown in Toronto and lead the Product team at such a pivotal time for the company.

“I’ve worked in Silicon Valley and many other places, but I came here,” he says. “Ultimately, it’s about joining a company that has a noble purpose, a place that creates services and products that do good for the world.”

The tools provided by Thomson Reuters are critically important to underpin institutions across the world – in law, in tax and risk management, in media. That’s why it’s focusing on product innovation and content integration to unlock actionable insights, connect workflow and power collaboration for its customers, Mr. Wong says.

“Many institutions simply could not run without the products and services we provide,” he says. “Technology is constantly changing and improving the way this content can be delivered, and it’s great to be part of that change.”

Mr. Wong notes that “our customers are at the centre” of the transformation of Thomson Reuters from a content company to a content-enabled technology company.

“They already know the value of our content and now they’re looking for ways to save time and be more efficient,” he says.

“As our customers’ lives change and see their industries disrupted, we need to keep investing in new products and services, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.