Coupa Buys Contractually to Improve Contract Management


Coupa has acquired cloud-based contract management solution provider Contractually. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Spend Matters believes this was not a substantial acquisition in financial terms. From a capability perspective, however, the acquisition appears clever on multiple fronts, even if Coupa is not acquiring a standalone contract lifecycle management (CLM) provider.

The new capabilities Contractually brings will allow Coupa to improve contract processes through better internal and supplier authoring collaboration. Specifically, the acquisition adds collaboration and authoring capabilities that reduce contract risk, reduce errors and increase efficiency, the company said in a press release today.

“Contractually extends our unified suite of applications with a critical new set of capabilities. We look forward to bringing this exceptional new synergistic offering to our customers and market,” Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of Coupa, said in the press release. “We made the decision to acquire Contractually primarily due to the shared vision with their team, and the innovative focus they applied to their Ruby on Rails developed offering.”

Contractually’s CLM solution will be incorporated into Coupa’s spend management suite, giving users the ability to invite existing and network suppliers to collaborate on contracts, Coupa said. This also will speed up the contract process, cutting the time it takes to get a contract signed.

Coupa expects Contractually’s features will be available to customers by mid-2016. The Contractually team is also expected to join Coupa. Headquartered and operating out of Vancouver, Canada, Contractually is small, with only 11 people listed on LinkedIn. Like many previous Coupa acquisitions, and in line with Rob Bernshteyn’s comment above, the deal has a solid hire-by-acquire angle.

Here are some quick points on Contractually and the acquisition, with more to follow after we’ve had some time to play around with the solution:

  • Contractually is not a full CLM provider, nor does it claim to be. It lacks a number of capabilities we have come to associate with CLM providers (e.g., advanced document clause libraries, clause scoring).
  • Rather, the acquisition appears to put a next-generation approach to document collaboration at the core of the contract authoring process (think Google Docs). Spend Matters expects Contractually to appeal to a younger generation of legal and procurement professionals, who are used to collaborative document authoring outside of the workplace.
  • The acquisition may be small in size, but it shows Coupa is not following a “me-too” approach to building out its suite inorganically; rather, it is taking some chances — a positive, we might add — in bringing new technology capabilities to users over features or functions alone through acquisition.
  • Spend Matters believes Contractually will be a great conversation starter for Coupa within existing and prospective accounts — even those with CLM solutions already.
  • Over time, we expect Coupa to build out sufficient CLM capability beyond collaborative authoring and signing to allow it to compete on a functional basis with other vendors specializing in the area. From a partnership perspective, IBM, which works closely with Coupa, may not be threatened by this acquisition today, but in the next 18–24 months, we expect there to be material overlap between the CLM capabilities of both providers.
  • The solution could likely be extended to provide a new document collaboration capability at the core of Coupa’s suite beyond contract management alone, which given that both Coupa and Contractually are developed on a Ruby on Rails framework, should make integration between the two easier (not to mention collaboration between the two development teams as the solutions come together).
  • Contractually’s digital signature capability is a nice add-on to the core collaborative authoring capabilities the solution brings but is unlikely to stand alone compared with specialist providers in the area. Many Coupa customers are likely to continue using DocuSign, e-SignLive (Silanis), Adobe and others rather than consider replacing their digital and e-signature signing capabilities with Contractually. But for those Coupa customers and prospects without digital or e-signature capability today, it’s a great added feature to offer.

First Voice

  1. Bill Kihnen:

    A really interesting move and as stated shows they are not taking a “me too” approach which is refreshing. Contract Managment is not a really exciting module for anyone and beyond most basic capabilities ( renewal notification and workflow) does typically not get used for much more than an electronic file. Will be interesting to see what they do with it as well as what Adobe and Docusign do as well.

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