Last week, Icertis hosted a customer gathering in New York City—the first time we’ve held an Icertis Connect event in NYC since before the pandemic.
It was so energizing to be face-to-face again sharing learnings and best practices, and I couldn’t help but reflect on what’s changed since that last meetup in 2019.
Icertis itself has seen plenty of changes—we’ve added lots of customers, lots of new solutions, and lots of new partnerships. In fact, we hosted this event at SAP’s beautiful Hudson Yards offices, underscoring the significant SAP partnership we’ve developed.
Our Customers Lead the Transformation
But more notable were the changes I saw in our customers—what they are focusing on today, and what they will be focusing on in the future. In 2019, our conversations centered on the basics of contract management—centralizing templates, implementing workflows, gaining post-execution visibility, etc. No doubt it’s critical to get these core CLM capabilities right, but they are just scratching the surface of the value contract technology can deliver.
This time around, our customers drove the agenda with insights and ambitions that challenged everyone in the room to expand our vision for what’s possible with contracts and contract data: how can contracts help them deliver more for their customers; how can contract data help them respond to a changing world, like inflation, geo-political unrest, and supply chain disruptions; how can they measure the impact their contracts are having on their business, so they find opportunities for further value.
Our customers attending NYC Connect hailed from all over the eastern seaboard and across industries. But central to all of their work was their company’s purpose and the role of contracts to support those commitments. One customer, from a major pharmaceutical company, put it in poignant terms: Their medicine saves lives; contracts are critical to supporting this mission, and by being more innovative with their contracts, they can support innovation with their medicine.
Contracting that Rises to the Challenge
Clearly, macro conditions are driving some of this thinking: companies have seen disruption after disruption since 2020, and they’re looking at every business process to see how it can contribute to their agility, resilience, and performance. Contracts, which define relationships with suppliers, customers, partners and employees, are a natural area of focus in this context.
Like any technology, CLM implementation comes in stages; what the conversations in New York showed me was that many of our long-time customers have laid a solid foundation of contract management capabilities and are now pushing into what we call contract intelligence—the ability to leverage structured and connected contract data to not just improve contracts themselves, but the systems and processes they power.
As our Chief Marketing Officer Gretchen Eischen stated in her opening remarks, “Our vision is to enable organizations to leverage contract intelligence - the structured contract data deeply integrated with
enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP, SCM, and HCM - as a system of impact. Customers across all verticals are using our AI-driven contract management platform to digitize their contracts, automate workflow and processes, and to realize the intent of their agreements, driving real strategic outcomes like cost savings, reduced risk, and accelerated revenue.”
IT Joins the Conversation
This move towards strategic outcomes also reflects the growing maturity of our customer base. One indication of this maturity was the variety of job titles in the room. In 2019, procurement professionals were well represented in these meetings, with a few lawyers there to keep us honest .
This time around, the diversity of roles was remarkable: program owners, legal and IT were well represented, complimenting procurement’s always-valuable perspective. Contracts touch every corner of the business, and these professionals came with a strong perspective about how their departments could support and benefit from an ambitious, robust contract intelligence program.
The perspective from IT was particularly edifying. In 2019, generally speaking, IT got involved in CLM implementation only as far as it was necessary to ensure the solution worked. Today, IT departments are leading digital transformation across their organizations; they are recognizing that contract technology is bubbling up from every department, and they have a clear interest in implementing a single, enterprise-wide platform versus a hodgepodge of solutions.
IT also recognizes the importance of having a long-term vision of what a software implementation can deliver: if a company implements a minimum viable product today, chances are they’ll be ripping and replacing it tomorrow. In New York, the IT voices in the crowd challenged everyone to think about what they needed from CLM in three years, not just today.
Inspiring Us to Think Bigger
At Icertis, we pride ourselves on building a contract intelligence platform that can go enterprise-wide and deliver long-term, future-proof value. It was so valuable to have true transformation leaders in the room sharing their vision for how we can hone the solution to make good on those ambitions.
Indeed, our customers are our greatest resource for innovation; it is their passion for excellence that drives us to deliver. Now that we’re back in person, I can’t wait to meet more customers to hear how we can deliver value though contract intelligence—now and into the future. Click here for a full list of Connect events – we hope to see you soon!