NEW REPORT: The State of CLM and AI-Powered Contract Intelligence

Beyond E-Sig and Repositories: How Icertis Is Transforming Contract Intelligence with an Advanced Open Platform Strategy

By Bernadette Bulacan

Many pundits have discussed the AI hype cycle over the last year, claiming that we are entering a phase of “AI fatigue” – a feeling of being overwhelmed by or weary of the multiple conversations about the topic.   

But based on our latest gathering of customers for our annual Icertis Connect series, held in scenic Carlsbad, Calif., nothing could be further from the truth. The excitement around AI-powered contracting continued to be top of mind for the contract leaders and innovators in attendance. 

With many successful generative AI deployments already delivering efficiencies to their stakeholders, these leaders were eager to discuss what’s next with AI innovation—a perfect forum for Icertis to share how it is answering the call for AI that delivers value. 

This initial 2024 Connect discussion validated our product strategy: To create the most powerful enterprise contracting platform, then open that platform up to different AI technologies—built by Icertis and others—and develop deep integrations for further value.  Here are some highlights of what we discussed in Carlsbad.

Our Unrivaled Platform Strategy 

A unique strength and chief priority at Icertis is to develop a platform that enables companies to create a clean, structured, and connected pool of contract data from across the enterprise. This is a critical, and often overlooked, cornerstone of any AI project.  

“A crucial first step that every legal department should undertake as it begins to deploy generative AI is to organize its documents and information in thoughtful ways so that the AI tools can access them and make the best use of them.” - Microsoft

As one legal executive at Microsoft recently commented: “A crucial first step that every legal department should undertake as it begins to deploy generative AI is to organize its documents and information in thoughtful ways so that the AI tools can access them and make the best use of them.” 

Enterprises can achieve this crucial first step with Icertis’ robust core platform, which includes end-to-end CLM enhanced with Copilots, vertical solutions, business applications, and enterprise integrations that enable the realization of value and intent in the contracts themselves. 

Analysts have validated Icertis’ approach to contract management and its ability to provide a launching pad for deep business insights. As IDC recently put it, “Icertis was early to adopt and infuse AI capabilities in its platform and is viewed as an industry trendsetter with respect to advanced-level discovery and data mining capabilities.” 

Industry-Leading AI Augmented by Purpose-Built LLMs 

Our customers have been early adopters of AI-enabled CLM; as early as 2018, they have been leveraging native-built AI applications on the Icertis platform. We continued to be the vanguard of AI innovation with our roster of Copilots released in 2023, which are now the fastest-growing products in the history of the business.  

But Icertis didn’t want to rest on the laurels of its own AI development. Our customers trust Icertis to bring them best-in-class contracting capabilities, whether created by Icertis or by another vendor. 

We appreciate that niche, best-in-class AI capabilities are being developed for a multitude of contracting use cases—some purposefully built and trained on complex legal language; others built and trained for research, procurement, or finance functions; and yet still more AI tools built to address industry norms and needs.  

Each week brings a new leapfrogging in capabilities, and as such, Icertis continues to evaluate and review the most promising innovations as capabilities we want to bring to our customers. 

Powerful, and plentiful, as these models are, they need structured, connected contract data to produce their best results. Our customers know they will get the most value from these models, and see the greatest adoption, if they are applied to the contract data already in place on the Icertis platform. 

And while we have seen great success developing our own AI Copilots on Azure OpenAI, we are not limiting ourselves to that platform. The investment in AI by the world's largest companies and most innovative startups is staggering. Each week brings a new leapfrogging in capabilities, and as such, Icertis continues to evaluate and review the most promising innovations as capabilities we want to bring to our customers. 

Our recent partnership announcement with Evisort embodies this strategy and direction. Customers who utilize our Discover Copilot now have the option to augment certain bespoke discovery tasks with Evisort’s AI model. Stay tuned as we announce more AI partnerships like this. 

Integrating Contract Data Across the Enterprise 

Perhaps the most excitement from our customers comes from the ability to take AI-generated contract insights and integrate them with data from other enterprise systems. 

Generative AI is often seen as a way to improve contract analytics or workflow. But it can deliver so much more.  

Contracts impact business processes across a company’s value chain—from the price they pay for goods to the goods and services they deliver to customers. Historically, it’s been very difficult for business users to apply contract data in the day-to-day run of business. Icertis integrations with SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, and other enterprise systems have long been breaking down these silos; generative AI is amplifying the value of these integrations by extracting the “semantic intent” of contracts and comparing it to what’s happening on the ground. 

For example, one of our retail customers already uses Icertis integrations with their point-of-sale system to track sales volumes against complex supplier agreements to streamline and optimize time-base incentive programs. 

With generative AI, this kind of tracking becomes much easier. At Microsoft Build, we demonstrated how Icertis integrated with Microsoft Teams allows finance teams to pull up contract details through simple queries to a Teams chat window. Imagine being able to ask Teams, “How much of my contracted obligated spend with X supplier have I achieved?” and get an instant answer. 

Again, utilizing contract data in this way is only possible when the contract data itself is structured and connected on an open platform that prioritizes integrations. That’s what Icertis is focused on. 

A Future-Proof Foundation for Innovation

If we’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s how incredibly fast we can expect AI technology to advance.  

For too long, companies considered eSignature and cloud storage the beginning and end of contract digitization. Our customers are demonstrating that so much more is possible.

Given this pace of innovation, we understand that not only do we need to deliver the AI capabilities of today, but we must also set our customers up for the benefits that are right around the corner. 

For too long, companies considered eSignature and cloud storage the beginning and end of contract digitization. 

Our customers are demonstrating that so much more is possible. By structuring contract data, applying the best native and external AI in the world to it, and connecting it to other systems, they are gaining insights that help them ensure the full value of their contracts—and, therefore, the full potential of their business relationships—is being realized.  

The conversation continues at our next Icertis Connect, in London at the end of this month. And I can’t wait. 

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