Today we are releasing the 13th episode of Icertis’ podcast series, “Contracts Over Coffee.” This series brings together the most influential voices in the Icertis Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) partner ecosystem to discuss all things related to contracting while enjoying a delicious coffee beverage.
In this very special episode, our senior director of partner marketing, Anne Baker, hosts our terrific partner, Microsoft. Icertis and Microsoft have a long history of successfully working together, ever since Microsoft became our first Contract Lifecycle Management customer many years ago. We’re frequently asked how we developed such a successful partnership, so to help us answer, we’ve invited some key members of our Microsoft partner team: Peter Martin, Director of Partner Development, Microsoft Global Partner Solutions; Shash Mody, our Partner Development Manager; and Amanda Klein, our ISV Partner Marketing Advisor.
Here are five key takeaways from their chat:
1. The Icertis Platform Handles a “Staggering” Number of Contracts for Microsoft
Anne: Peter, we know Microsoft is both a customer and a partner of Icertis, and Icertis is both a customer and partner with Microsoft. Can you tell us about some of the contract management benefits Microsoft realizes by using Icertis contract lifecycle management (CLM) enterprise-wide?
Peter: It’s no surprise that Microsoft is a very large company by many measures, but the amount of companies that Microsoft does business with is just staggering. And each of these engagements, whether with partners, customers, or suppliers, requires the creation and enforcement of legal documents to uphold the strict Microsoft standards of business conduct. Using Icertis, the Microsoft corporate and legal affairs division empowers every Microsoft employee across the entire worldwide Microsoft Enterprise to execute contractual due diligence for buy-side contracts, sell-side contracts, or corporate contracts, and a streamlined and easy-to-use workflow.
2. How Icertis Became a Microsoft Partner of the Year
Anne: Shash, we saw that Microsoft just announced the 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards, and Icertis was honored to win in the AI category. We were also named a finalist for your Global ISV Partner of the Year award. What do you think are some of the things that we’re doing right together that helps us achieve this recognition?
Shash: What an incredible year it’s been for Icertis and for our partnership. Microsoft is democratizing AI for everybody, and you know that partners are at the core of the strategy. Icertis’ AI applications are absolutely at the cutting edge, which is why you were recognized by Microsoft.
Our joint customer, HERE Technologies, used Icertis to automate contractual obligations across 70,000 legacy contracts, and used your DiscoverAI app to extract insights and manage those contracts at scale, reducing the amount of time and risk associated with those contracts. Being able to drive AI into the hands of individuals is something Microsoft is very passionate about, and very few partners are able to build applications that are truly usable by end-users in the way Icertis is. Furthermore, Icertis’ AI applications together with Azure AI and Cognitive Services are just a formidable combination. And we have so much opportunity to keep building on all these successes.
3. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel—Focus on Your Customer’s Unique Needs
Anne: Shifting gears beyond AI, I know that one of the key focus areas for Microsoft this year was becoming more industry- and persona-specific—really trying to deeply understand your customer’s unique needs, then aligning your solutions to better deliver on them through things like the industry cloud launches for retail, healthcare, and other key industry verticals. Peter, what are some of the ways partners can get more involved with those industry go-to-market motions to help achieve success?
Peter: Over the years we’ve seen cloud technologies give rise to digital transformation, which is now driving industry business transformation like we’ve never seen. These transformational motions provide a growth opportunity for all partners to expand their target personas by more deeply considering how an ISV solution offering can provide value across lines of business stakeholders, and many times across multiple partners. The recommendation here is for us to become deeply knowledgeable in the workflow systems and the processes of our customer industry priority scenarios, and figure out how to position our solutions for their successful business transformation.
4. Harness the Intelligence of Your Contract Library
Anne: So, Peter, what do you think people would be surprised to know about our partnership?
Peter: I think the acknowledgement of the scope and critical importance of contract operations is now coming of age, as noted recently by both Gartner’s and Forrester’s review of Icertis. But what I think many will be surprised about next is the power of Microsoft Blockchain leveraged by Icertis’s smart contract technology, applied to large-scale contract operations involving hundreds or thousands of suppliers. Just think about the complexity of an automotive, airline, or shipping manufacturer, where a single product could have millions of parts and thousands of suppliers, each requiring some kind of contract enforcement. Think about the intelligence that can be harnessed and extracted from such a process, and provided back to a procurement chief responsible for buying commodities worth billions of dollars, where timing is critical to a company’s bottom line. Think about the ability to inject this intelligence back into industry workflow productivity solutions together with Dynamics 365. I think many will be surprised by the power of this technology and the investments by both Icertis and Microsoft.
5. Microsoft & Icertis: Building a Better World Together
Anne: Amanda, we’ve seen Microsoft increase its focus and investments on making social change a reality. What do you think partners can do to help there?
Amanda: Microsoft does care deeply, as does Icertis. It’s honestly one of the reasons I work for this company. And we’ve done so together. We drove conversations in partnership with PWC and SAP, and hosting that supplier diversity webinar and campaign—really teaching others about how contracts can help drive compliance and diversity. And then just recently with the announcement around the Microsoft cloud for sustainability—we’re using this as a platform for our partners and customers to understand and take charge of their carbon emissions, or set sustainability goals and take action. We are here to make an impact, and we look forward to partners and customers joining that journey with us.