Spend Matters 50/50: Seal Software – A Provider to Watch
In our Spend Matters 50/50 we included Seal Software, the contract management company without an actual contract lifecycle management tool. As you will see, this is a strength and not a shortcoming. Spend Matters first wrote about Seal in 2012. Then they had both a contract lifecycle management solution and a contract discovery one. Since then, Seal has sold off their CLM tool to focus entirely on their unique approach to contract discovery and analytics. Why did they get rid of it, you wonder? Well, competing with your channel partners is never a good idea, and Seal has partnered up with a long list of prominent CLM and related solution providers – chances are that you already use a solution from one of their many partners!
Seal’s Discovery and Analytics tools are Java-based solutions that address contract discovery, onboarding, and ongoing analytics. Both products are quite novel, and the Discovery tool is a completely new contract management product segment and unique, though you’d think competitors would have caught on by now. Why is their Discovery solution so valuable? It boils down to this – even the world’s best CLM solution is useless at managing contracts that haven’t been onboarded or not even discovered! Additionally, traditional onboarding approaches rely far too much on manual intervention – and human eyes get tired and mistakes are made. What you didn't capture or what you weren’t aware of can all come back to haunt you.
The Seal Discovery tool is applicable to all enterprises. It dynamically identifies contracts on a network, extracts clauses and metadata, organizes content for further reviews, and populates corporate repositories for use by other solutions (e.g. CRM, CLM, ERP, SIM) with contract data. The tool can be essential in migrating existing contracts and metadata to the full range of enterprise platforms. It can be used to process inbound contracts, conduct rogue contract audits, and provide a consolidated search, report, and migration tool for regulatory, transactional, and strategic purposes. The tool targets more complex global enterprises while also delivering targeted point solutions, like LPO contract abstraction, internal audits, procurement outsourcing, M&A contract due diligence, and general contract migration. Increasing governance and compliance needs, particularly in the financial sector (e.g. the Dodd-Frank Act) spur deeper and even complete audits of enterprise contracts.
The Seal Analytics tool builds further on this by delivering content and clause analysis – for example which terms are used, which of your primary clauses should be downgraded, and which fallback clauses are more suited to become primary. This tool has dynamic capabilities that suggest – as you are evaluating clauses – what the impact will be to your existing contract repository. This tool can be of immense help to companies setting out on a path toward pre-negotiated clauses as the basis for their CLM efforts.
Per our reference calls, the time to extract metadata, the amount of metadata gathered, and the first pass extraction quality are all outstanding – especially so when the solution works with soft copies and not scanned ink on paper documents, although it works well even with those documents. Expect improvements of all of the mentioned KPIs along the lines of two- to five-fold depending on the quality of your originating documents.
The company is British but based in California, and its founder and CEO was born in Sweden. Their global approach continues as the company has now added the capability to train their tool to fetch contract content in just about any language – you still have to train the tool, as it is not based on any kind of machine translation. You need to know the original contract language, sorry!
It is clear to us that Seal knows CLM. Their solution is still completely unique in the industrial procurement market. Now that you know why they made our 50/50 list, you should get to know them.