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With AI, Buy-vs.-Build Becomes a No-Brainer in Contract Management

By Samir Bodas

As I meet with customers to discuss modern contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology and emerging fields like artificial intelligence (AI), one comment I often hear from executives at companies with internal IT development resources is: "Can't we just build it ourselves?"

Good question!

Icertis' first customer was Microsoft. Needless to say, Microsoft had the development capability to build its own contract management application. But it didn't want just a “good enough” solution: Microsoft recognized the value of digitizing contracts and managing them on a cloud-based contracting platform and wanted a best-of-breed solution to match that huge potential. It selected Icertis to provide that platform, and Icertis and Microsoft remain strong partners to this day.

That was six years ago. Today, 5.7 million contracts are managed on the Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform. Many of those contracts are from companies much like Microsoft: They have immense internal development resources but recognize that something as important as contract management needs a dedicated platform, not an in-house application that becomes legacy as soon as it is released.

And the advantage of buy over build becomes even greater with the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Why? It goes back to those 5.7 million contracts managed on Icertis' platform.

For AI to deliver real value, you have to have a critical mass of diverse data to be able to train the algorithms and continuously improve them through machine learning. Therefore, the strength of solutions from providers who have that store of data are orders of magnitude greater than anything that can be built in-house.

The terabytes of contracts stored on Icertis' platform include agreements from nearly every industry and every business use case (sales, procurement, HR, etc.). This allows the AI-infused ICM platform to continuously learn and identify—quickly and at scale–contract components, risks and relationships more accurately than any company could hope to develop in house.

And just as important, companies can deploy this powerful AI technology today!

One major tech company (not Microsoft) estimates it saved two elapsed years of development time by deploying Icertis' contract management software instead of building a system itself.

Now deployed, the company is seeing continuous improvement in its contract management capabilities thanks to Icertis' focused commitment on the ICM contract management software. This means the company enjoys a "future-proof" solution that does not risk falling technologically behind due to other business priorities.

In addition to artificial intelligence, Icertis is now applying blockchain to contract management solutions as well. And when the next technological breakthrough occurs, you can be sure that we will be exploring how to use that technology to improve contract management as well.

The future of contracts is artificial intelligence driven by data. Therefore, companies should take advantage of the massive benefits SaaS providers that already have that data can deliver for their enterprises. Buy it, because you can't build it!