Contract Management for the Frugal: Upside Unveils New $20/Month (Per Seat) CM Toolset

Late last week Upside Software unveiled a new, inexpensive SaaS contract management solution designed to provide basic capabilities to procurement, legal and commercial organizations. According to the announcement, "UpsideLive LITE is a new SaaS offering that focuses on simplicity and offers contract management functionality that was built for everyday users. Users can start creating and managing contracts almost immediately and be able to search, report and get reminders for under $20 per month. For a company with 30 users, it's only $220 per month." Potential customers of this platform should be aware that once it's deployed, that they can easily migrate their data and upgrade to Upside's enterprise contract management offerings. Given this, what this new offering really feels like, in my view, is a gateway drug designed to get organizations hooked on what a contract management system could do for them, paving the path to upgrading into a new class of solution. It's a smart strategy, in Spend Matters' view.

That's because even on a permanent stand-alone basis, without an upgrade path, organizations could find this low-cost contracts solution one of the best investments they could make in the Spend Management sector (unlike Ariba, which also provides a lower-end offering for contract management that you can sign up for over the web, Upside's price points don't skyrocket when you add multiple seats). One thing that is curious about this new offering is that traditionally, Upside has been known as a premium (and usually expensive) solution in the contract management market. Yet the vendor clearly sees a chance to not only move down market with this offering, but to potentially reach customers who may sign up to the more powerful enterprise offerings.

I asked Ashif Mawji, Upside's President and CEO, why they released the solution given this context. He told Spend Matters, "There's a large demand for clients who want to see proven results in terms of what contract management software can do. Knowing that any investment they make in terms of loading contracts and data entry will not be wasted as they have an opportunity to upgrade very easily, is a huge selling point." Who are the likely users of UpsideLive Lite? Ashift noted that "we see this offering ideal for large businesses that want to start small and try it out with minimal risk and cost as well as those in the small/mid market who need a better solution to manage their contracts and related activities. This offering is also ideal for those who are not yet 100% sold on SaaS. There's an easy mechanism to upgrade and move to a behind-the-firewall deployment, again with no impact to what's already been entered into the system."

If you've been on the fence about trying contract management, it's our recommendation to climb down, put both feet on the compliance ground, and give UpsideLive Lite a try. At these price points, you have nothing to lose.

- Jason Busch

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