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

Four Ways Partners Make More Possible in the COVID Era

By Peter Boit

The emergence of COVID-19 brought upheaval to many businesses around the world. At Icertis, we were forced to quickly discover new ways to take care of our business, our communities, our families, and ourselves, and some days this process felt overwhelming. One of the bright spots that emerged during this time, however, was how quickly our partners made themselves available to offer support.

The Beatles' Ringo Starr once sang about how he got by "with a little help from my friends," and that message never resonated more strongly with me than during this period of dramatic market disruption. Our strategic alliance, technology, and services partners became pivotal to finding our way forward through this crisis.

To spark new ideas on how other organizations might be able to turn to partner relationships for extra support during this period, I wanted to share a few ways we worked with partners to prepare and respond to COVID-19 at Icertis:

1. Find Joint Opportunities to Help Customers, Prospects and the Community

With so much changing inside our business since we went to fully remote working at the beginning of March, it would have been easy for Icertis to become completely inward-focused. However, our founder and CEO immediately challenged us to look beyond ourselves and see how we could help others, from making donations to organizations in need or offering expanded customer support to our customers free of charge. This helped to inhibit the fear response within our organization and encourage a growth mindset.

For our business development team, this meant immediately turning to our partners to see how we could offer insights and work together to deliver new offerings that would help our joint customers, prospects and the community at large. Just a few of the activities we immediately launched together with partners during this period were:

  • COVID-19 related webinars with Cognizant and Microsoft – Over the past month we planned, developed, and executed a webinar with our friends at Microsoft and Airbus on "Supply Chain Optimization Strategies for Manufacturers during COVID-19" and one with our partner and customer Cognizant on "Contracts and COVID-19: Managing Contracts in Times of Uncertainty." We expect to do many more like these to support our community in the weeks ahead, so check our events page often for upcoming webinars with partners.
  • Amplify Online virtual event – We also hosted our Amplify Online virtual event where we shared ideas and learned lessons about the future of contract management, with a special focus on how technology can help companies react quickly to fast-developing crises. Our services partner, Mainspring, joined us for this first-of-its-kind event, and the recording can be found here.
  • New COVID-19 Microsoft Marketplace offering – Icertis also partnered with Microsoft to offer the Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform as an application within the Commercial Marketplace COVID-19 Partner Solution Showcase. Microsoft is using this showcase to highlight partner products that can directly and indirectly help organizations with COVID-19 issue resolution, and we are proud to support this program.

2. Drive Future Growth by Taking Action Together

One of the biggest challenges with responding to COVID-19 is the feeling of powerlessness. A key way to overcome this lack of control is to default to action, directing your attention toward something that is achievable and can move things forward within the context of the current situation.

At Icertis, this move to lean in and look towards the future included finding new ways to deepen and expand our partnerships going forward. We recognized that much of our ability scale in 2020 could come through partners. To help us achieve our growth goals, we recently launched two incredible partnerships with industry-leading, cloud-based software giants:

  • Workday: Icertis recently announced that we achieved Workday Certified Integration status.
  • The seamless integration, known as the Icertis Experience for Workday, connects Workday Financial Management, including Workday Procurement, and Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) with the ICM platform. The Icertis Experience for Workday enables our joint customers, like Five Star Senior Living, Tokopedia, and Transurban, to accelerate their contract lifecycle, optimize their spend management and increase purchasing power with suppliers.
  • Learn more in our press release and by visiting our Icertis Experience for Workday page.
  • SAP Ariba: We also announced a new partnership with SAP which enables SAP Ariba customers to tap into an advanced set of contract management capabilities, including:
    • Enterprise-wide capability, accelerating all forms of contracting including buy-side, sell-side, and corporate
    • Intelligent contract authoring and redlining including dynamic assembly, comparing multiple contract types, OCR, mass amendments, intelligent clause-libraries, and deep redline tracking
    • Embedded AI and Contract Search Capabilities supporting scanning and capture of metadata, risk classification, digitization, and negotiation
    • Ongoing risk & compliance and obligation management and proactive contract optimization for revenue/cost control
  • By seamlessly connecting ICM's advanced contract management capability with SAP Ariba's spend and supplier intelligence, joint customers will be able to accelerate the procurement process, reduce supply chain risk and optimize their supplier relationships.
  • Learn more in our press release and by visiting our Icertis Integration for SAP Ariba page.

3. Give Partners a Greater Voice in Each Other's Digital Channels

With COVID-19 bringing the cancellation of most in-person events for the majority of 2020, all organizations are looking for new ways to connect with customers and prospects in the months ahead. Digital partner marketing channels are a great way to drive awareness and a share of voice during this time.

That is why the team at Icertis is inviting partners to use our channels to present joint webinars like the ones we recently held with our partner Elevate on "Contracting Top Ten: Preparing for the (New) Future of Contracting" and our partner Oya Solutions on Navigating Market Turbulence with CLM. We also invited partners, like Deloitte and SAP, to join us on our new Contracts over Coffee podcast series and guest blog on blogging channels. This industry-wide trend to be more partner-inclusive is also why we have been invited to join a roundtable discussion by our partner Microsoft at the virtual Microsoft Manufacturing Summit happening in June. Ask your partners for ways you can participate with them on their digital channels and be a good partner by giving your partners a strong voice on your own digital and social media properties.

4. Use Partner Products to Improve Internal Efficiencies

During this time, also look closely at your partners and their products to see if they can help your own organization improve efficiencies and respond faster to the challenges of COVID-19. The best partner relationships are often those that go beyond just sales and marketing to the point where each partner uses each other's products and services internally as well.

We are fortunate that Icertis enjoys a 360-degree relationship with several of our partners, including Microsoft, and COVID-19 brought the benefits of that relationship into full view. As showcased on the Microsoft website, we completed the migration of 1.2 million contracts for Microsoft into our ICM platform built on Microsoft Azure to help them reduce contract-creation time by approximately 50 percent. Microsoft also helped us rapidly (in a matter of hours!) during COVID-19 as we prepared to enable our 1,300+ employees globally to work remotely on the network, including 400 engineers with high network bandwidth requirements. Hear the amazing story in the video embedded in this blog and read how Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella referenced this project in his company-wide letter on COVID-19, which we were honored to be a part of. These are the type of symbiotic partnership benefits that you hope to achieve with all partners.

We know that this time isn't easy for any company. However, we also know that partners make more possible. The simple truth is that at a time when social distancing is the norm, we must work more closely together than ever before. And in the weeks and months ahead, we must recognize and be grateful for the support of partners that will help see us through to the other side.