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Why An API-First Approach Is Critical for Realizing Full Value from Your CLM Digital Transformation

By Shreesh Dubey

Digital transformation efforts are gaining a lot of attention. Per a 2019 report from Accenture, 1,350 companies surveyed by the firm spent a combined $100 billion in digitization efforts between 2016 and 2018. Yet the results have been mixed: According to the same report, only 22% of those companies reported that their digital transformation efforts have exceeded expectations.

One big lesson learned in recent years is that digital transformation cannot occur on the periphery. Rather, these projects must address the core processes that have outsized impacts on a business.

Another major lesson is that digitization alone is not enough. Once digitized, systems must talk to each other. Many companies have embarked on digital transformation journeys only to find themselves double entering data in multiple systems and engaging in repetitive processes. Or, they have had to rebuild all their systems from the bottom up to make sure they work together.

In sum, in order for digital transformation to be effective, companies must focus on digitizing processes that create truly valuable data. Then they must ensure that data can flow between systems in order to realize efficiencies rather than create redundancies.

Digital Transformation and Contracts

Contracts form the foundation of commerce, governing every dollar in and out of an organization. Therefore, digitally transforming contracting processes drives at the heart of the enterprise and can produce the kind of data that moves the needle on enterprise speed, risk and performance.

However, organizations have been slow to digitize contracts and contracting processes. Contract data is locked in dense legal language, making it difficult to extract and analyze at scale. And contracts are so critical to every business function that companies have been reticent to pull them into a separate, stand-alone system for fear of slowing down business.

As a result, legal and contract management teams have had to manually manage the documents even as the world around them has gone digital.

How Icertis Addresses These Challenges

Companies with the most complex contracting processes have turned to the Icertis Contract Intelligence (ICI) platform to tackle these challenges—and are unlocking enormous business value as a result.

Icertis' analyst-recognized, best-in-class contract management software delivers an end-to-end digital contract experience for users, from templating to workflow to execution. Throughout this lifecycle management, the system is extracting and generating data that provides deep insights into the state of the enterprise.

But as noted before, this data is of limited value if it sits siloed within its own system. That is why Icertis uniquely offers more than 200 Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) out of the box to extend the power of ICI into surround systems. By facilitating the free flow of data in and out of the contract management platform, ICI can model any business process to deliver truly valuable digital transformation—without requiring companies to replace their existing tech stack.

In its first-ever Magic Quadrant for Contract Lifecycle Management, Gartner cites Icertis' API-first approach as a key differentiator when naming Icertis a leader in the category:

"Icertis' development philosophy is to expose as APIs all the capabilities available in the UI. Icertis provides more than 200 APIs ‘out of the box.' Icertis received an above-average score from reference customers for ease of deployment. This is evidence that its API strategy is working, given the complexity of the CLM projects it takes on," Gartner reports.

To cite just one example of customers leveraging this capability: When it was designing its New Procurement System (NPS), auto giant Daimler was able to seamlessly integrate Icertis' best-in-class CLM software with existing SAP and Microsoft technology to streamline relationships with 500,000 suppliers. Despite the ambitious scope of the project and the size of the organization, the flexibility of the ICM platform allowed Daimler to stand up Phase 1 of the deployment in just four months.

"I have never seen this at Daimler before, that it can be that fast," says Dr. Stephan Stathel, Product Owner Operations, Daimler NPS.

There are no guarantees in digital transformation, as the Accenture report cited above shows. Companies must identify the right processes to digitize, and the right software to allow them to get true value from the resultant data.

Shreesh Dubey is Senior Vice President of Product Management at Icertis.

Learn more about Icertis' API-first approach to enterprise contract management: 

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