Seal Software's Discovery — a Disruptive Approach to Contract Visibility & Management (Part 1)

Click here for Part 2.

It isn't every day that I get to write about a solution that every company of some size needs, no matter what they already have! This series is about a revolutionary way to really understand what is in contracts -- either your own, or those of an M&A prospect. It's not about the standard elements of contract management (even though in this case, the vendor in question has those as well: authoring, clause libraries, repository, milestones, requests, alerts, dashboards, compliance, etc.). No, it's about something just as -- if not more -- tangibly valuable, an approach to contract management that can likely deliver greater ROI and faster than any other solution in this area.

Moreover, with this approach, not only do you get to a nearly unprecedented level of insight, but it is done quickly in an automated manner. In two to three weeks, you get tens of thousands of contracts scanned and analyzed -- we use the phrase "scanned" loosely because much of the power of the tool comes from automated scanning across a network -- with full visibility into not only basic (yet critical) terms such as expiration and renewal dates, but also the type of contract, parties involved, assignability, insurance, indemnification, IP rights, discounts, start/termination dates, renewals, solicitations, value, rebates, liquidated damages and more. The standard results come back with around 40 core data points per contract (as applicable), and many more can be retrieved per specific client needs. The solution can even search on its own for contracts across a distributed desktop environment.

The graph below gives you an idea of where you can apply the power of this tool:

Once back, all your contracts regardless of format (PDF, TIFF, GIF, etc.) are now free text searchable. Again, the results are at your fingertips after a few weeks, not six months. There are of course other firms that could address this area too, but their cycle time is a magnitude longer, the data points retrieved are fewer, and their accuracy is arguably lower. Ultimately, the time to execute with quality data at an affordable price point is what makes such a dramatic difference. This is the difference between execution and avoidance. And this is the difference of Seal Software.

In case I sound like I'm working for their marketing team, don't worry, I'm not. I'm just excited to see such a disruptive tool that fits so nicely into the solutions portfolio of just about any firm out there. I can't think of a reason not to use Seal since everybody above some size does M&A, and this solution lets you rapidly get a grip on all contracts in place even before an LOI or definitive agreement is signed (e.g., searching a potential acquisition targets contracts to reduce risks by understanding change of control, non-exclusivity clauses, rights of first refusal, limitations of liability, indemnification and many other fields).

The process does not rely on a myriad of manual reviewers in a low cost (or high cost, for that matter) country. It is an automated process with sophisticated capabilities where only a small tail of exceptions have to be reviewed. This is the reason why so many contracts can be fully on-boarded and analyzed in a couple of weeks. Think of it as spend analysis that knows how to find what it's looking for across text-based files.

As an example of the scalability, one global logistics organization with 170 locations in 70 countries and over 100,000 contracts uses Seal to analyze and manage their contracts.

Seal Software truly wowed us. And it's not too often we're this tickled by the cleverness of a given solution that does something different. Stay tuned as we look forward to sharing more in Part 2 of this post.

- Thomas Kase

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