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

Report: How Legal Teams Can Drive Performance Across the Enterprise with Contract Management Software

By Bernadette Bulacan

The first ever IDC MarketScape assessment report on Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM), with a focus on functionality for corporate legal departments, was recently published. The report, IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Contract Life-Cycle Management Software for Corporate Legal 2021 Vendor Assessment, identifies CLM as a critical technology that drives digital transformation efforts in enterprises and delivers key success factors and clear return on investment specifically to legal departments.

For anyone unfamiliar with CLM, it is software that stores contracts in a central repository and automates and streamlines contract processes throughout a contract's life cycle. For legal departments, CLM is enormously valuable because it unlocks streamlines workflows and unlocks critical contract data that has historically been siloed away from the business processes contracts touch. With CLM, legal departments enjoy streamlined workflows and can empower stakeholders in the business with actionable contract insights.

As the report puts it,

"Digitally transformed enterprises are breaking down silos and creating well-oiled machines that work as one instead of an amalgamation of documents. Very few pieces of technology cut across the organization quite like CLM."

The report also notes that, given the way contracts cut across a company (another study has found that a full 25% of a company's workforce works directly with contracts), enterprises often choose CLM technology that doesn't prioritize CLM functionality for legal, or they add legal functionality to CLM as an afterthought. This severely limits the value legal departments—and the companies in general—can expect out of their technology investment.

How Can CLM Drive Performance Inside and Outside the Legal Department

For corporate legal departments, contracts are central to any attorney's day and subject to legal operational processes. Legal departments need CLM that allows to not only engage contracts through the legal workflows most well known to them (drafting, negotiation, approval and execution), but to see contracts through the entire lifecycle, including the processes of those outside legal who handle and manage the contract and the underlying relationship.

That’s why legal needs to have a seat at the table when it comes to CLM buying decisions. This might come as a surprise to enterprise leadership, as legal is often regarded as a cost center. Without the necessary funding, legal often lags behind other departments in technology adoption.

But CLM gives legal departments solid justification for this essential tech spend. The IDC MarketScape found clear ROI for legal investments in CLM in the form of reduced legal workload related to contracts. Companies implementing CLM tools freed up the equivalent of 9.44 full-time employees for more strategic tasks — e.g., providing counsel to the business, reviewing new regulations for impact, and focusing high-impact, strategic transactions like potential mergers and acquisitions.

Icertis Offers Key Strengths for Legal

At the same time, not all CLM vendors deliver the same value. The IDC MarketScape analyzed 10 different CLM systems and named Icertis as a Leader. The IDC MarketScape's assessment considered a wide range of criteria, including customer satisfaction, functionality, and strategy.

The report highlighted several key strengths Icertis, including:

  • Ease of use: Customers widely reported the intuitive and configurable user interface of Icertis was a major benefit. Legal users in particular noted that Icertis’ integration with the Microsoft Office suite was seamless and enabled them to work where they are comfortable. Further, Icertis has a large amount of out-of-the-box APIs that customers reported aiding in their embedding of the software within existing infrastructure.
  • Vertical/horizontal focus: Icertis has all of the essential capabilities one would expect from a CLM tool — the flexibility of the tool to tailor the experience based on horizontals and verticals of the enterprises. Icertis gives end users everything they need and nothing that they do not. Customers noted that the partnership they experience from the Icertis team helped them enhance their expertise within specific horizontals and verticals.

As contracts define what an organization does, Contract Lifecycle Management is the very heart of digital transformation. Given the proven impact of CLM, it's time for legal departments to take the lead and guide the digital transformation for their organizations.

Access the full report here.

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Contract Life-Cycle Management Software for Corporate Legal 2021 Vendor Assessment,Doc # US46965921, November 2021