Icertis: What Makes It Great (Contract Lifecycle Management SolutionMap Analysis)


Editor’s note: This “What Makes It Great” column is normally reserved for SolutionMap Insider Subscribersbut Icertis has generously agreed to support access for readers who are not yet members. 

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap provides functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks for more than 50 software providers within the procurement, finance and legal technology sectors. To date, we have rated 13 providers for the contract lifecycle management (CLM) benchmark. Not every provider, however, has yet appeared in the CLM SolutionMap ranking charts and SolutionMap Insider subscription publications, because some are simply too far off the functional mark to make the cut.

This is not the case with Icertis. In fact, Icertis sets the functional bar for CLM, pushing some of its competitors off the map in the process. In the latest SolutionMap benchmark dataset, Icertis takes first place for Analyst scoring. Within this market, the vendor stands out from the crowd for both the breadth and depth of its functional capabilities, as well as for its platform-based approach to CLM. But where does Icertis stand out most, and why should this matter for procurement and legal organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap CLM benchmark to find out.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Icertis: Quick Facts

  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ (and support locations): Bellevue, Washington (headquarters); Pune, India; San Jose, California; Edison, New Jersey; Zurich, Switzerland; Frankfurt and Stuttgart, Germany; Paris, France; Singapore; Sydney, Australia
  • Number of employees: 650
  • Total annual revenue: Not disclosed
  • Customers: 100, including 3M, ABB, AbbVie Canada, AETV, Airtel, Becton Dickinson, Chemonics, Cognizant, Daimler Benz, HERE Technologies, Humana, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Sanofi, Transurban and WWT
  • Active users (buy side): Not disclosed
  • Active users (supply side): Not disclosed
  • Regions served: North America, EMEA, Asia Pacific
  • Available modules: ICM Base Engine, Advanced Analytics, Clinical Trials Budgeting, Docusign/EchoSign Adapter, Operation Data Store Proposal Management Module, SAP Ariba/SAP/Oracle/DAX Adapter, SFDC/MS CRM Adapter, Sourcing Module, Third Party Collaboration Portal, Thomson Reuters World-Check, Dun and Bradstreet
  • Other app integration: PROS, Box, DocuSign, Adobe, SAP, Oracle,, Salesforce CPQ, Workday, MS CRM, Thomson Reuters, Dun and Bradstreet, PowerBI, QlikView, Legacy Systems

Where Icertis is Great (CLM SolutionMap)

Based on its demonstrated technological capability, Icertis delivers the strongest performance for a contract management software vendor across all buying personas in the CLM SolutionMap. Its performance provides compelling evidence that company is a must-shortlist candidate for all contract management software buying scenarios.

Across all of the providers Spend Matters ranks in SolutionMap, only Icertis stands out as the undisputed leader of any one modular area for functional (Analyst) scoring, putting considerable distance between itself and the second-place provider. Moreover, in nearly all SolutionMap areas, the distance between the top-performing provider and second place (based on Analyst scoring) is typically small. This is not the case with Icertis, which is significantly ahead of its peers.

Finally, as competition and vendor innovation continue to accelerate in the procurement software market, SolutionMap’s quarterly update cycles often find functional gaps between competitors are converging, not widening, across the overall SolutionMap source-to-pay benchmark. Again, this is not the case with Icertis, which continues to outpace others in releasing new capabilities.

Icertis’ dominance and innovation pace in CLM is so great, in fact, that we believe it has led one of its competitors to not yet participate in SolutionMap because the process could expose its relative capability gap compared with Icertis. Moreover, Icertis continues to add new capabilities into its platform, including recently incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Here’s where Icertis excels in SolutionMap:

Setting the Bar for Best-in-Class CLM Functional Support Overall 

  • Icertis delivers top-tier performance in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap benchmark across all CLM requirements. This includes all process-oriented aspects of the CLM lifecycle, such as:
    • Contract Creation and Authoring (including Search/Discovery, Legacy Contract Upload/Conversion, Clause Extraction, Classification and Harmonization, Survey Integration, Contract Import from E-Sourcing, Ability to Manage Counterparty Originated Contracts, Amendment Creation)
    • Contract Collaboration and Implementation (including Word Integration, Core Workflow and Approvals, Contract Negotiation, “Collaboration” Support, Sub-Contracting Support, Guided Contracting (e.g., user questionnaires), Contract Implementation and Contract Performance Management)
  • Icertis also delivers top-tier performance for contract modeling and analytics across all ranked fields, including the ability to model pricing, categories, general risk, commodity risk, supplier/partner risk, regulatory compliance, projects, assets and all other rated fields
  • As noted previously on Spend Matters PRO:
    • The platform not only models and manages the relationships between clauses, templates and agreements, it also can relate contracts to each other (e.g., buy-side contracts that are linked to sell-side contracts)
    • Most important, users can apply business rules to dynamically and programmatically assemble contract clauses, allowing them to combine input factors like category, contract amount, vendor type, service type, location and user-provided answer choices to diagnostic questions that determine which clauses to assign. These business rules can be complicated in buy-side sourcing processes but even more complex in sell-side services and software deals, as we discovered in our customer reference calls

Top-Tier Configurability and Flexibility  

  • Configurability is a central strength of the Icertis solution. It is tied for the highest scoring overall in the Q3 CLM SolutionMap in this area overall
  • In specific scored fields, Icertis exceeds — and often leads — the functional benchmark average for all areas, including core CLM Configuration
    • This field includes customized CLM process configuration, as well as both basic and advanced workflow configuration (based upon an evaluation of the strategic nature of the contract the dollars involved, the industry or regulatory controls that need to be adhered to)
    • CLM Configuration includes users, departments, commodities, roles, content groups, approval steps, delegated approvals, custom fields/requirements and accounts
  • Other scored fields for configuration where Icertis delivers standout performance include Business Rules, Globalization and Multi-Lingual Support
  • As noted previously on Spend Matters PRO:
    • Icertis’ rule creation capability — which can be used to select templates, define approval workflows and trigger events — is both easy to use and comparatively powerful. For example, the “if-then” rules can work on any defined field, support basic operators on numeric and string values, can support multiple clauses built up using standard Boolean operators, and then trigger one or more defined actions (e.g., approval requirements, alert triggers, emails). Plus, there is a built-in rules simulator that allows rules to be tested before they are committed to. The net effect is that this makes rule creation not only easier but also friendlier, as the contract manager doesn't have to fear making a mistake since everything can be tested in simulation mode first
    • The rules, and actions, can be conditional on, and tied to, supplier, commodity, category, geography or clause, and the options available during rules creation are always appropriate to the type of data, or contract transaction, being affected. Of course, the platform also supports a rule library, which often allows a contract manager to just select the relevant rules, rather than creating them from scratch, making makes rule creation even easier. Icertis’ wizard-based workflow, combined with easy yet powerful rules creation, is a real strength of the platform compared with other contract management solutions and, in particular, many suite-based solutions

Beyond CLM: Extended Supply Chain Contract Support and Risk Management  

  • A specific area where Icertis stands out in the Q3 2018 SolutionMap benchmark is its ability to manage the extended supply chain through its platform-based approach to managing contract data and metadata. This includes:
    • Support for complex modeling of relationships (including counterparties, legal entity structures and supplier/customer linkages)
    • The ability to expand and extend its contract model to support complex value chain models such as multi-tier value chains and multi-tier contracts/sub-contracts
  • More broadly, extended supply chain contract modeling is only one area where Icertis blurs the line between delivering what is expected under “core CLM” and extended areas, which can deliver additional value streams (something other best-of-breed contract management competitors have not yet pursued). This includes supply risk management tied to contracts. As previously observed on Spend Matters PRO:
    • The risk checks that are to be made can all be configured against the contract template, and all kicked off at the appropriate time — such as during creation, negotiation, amendment and quarterly review — either automatically or manually, using rule-based actions
    • Risk can be grouped into categories, each with its own set of measurement criteria. The calculations for each risk are driven by associated tasks and custom calculations, which takes place on the back end. The calculations are done on the assessment of clauses, performance data, survey data and third-party data brought in via the API to the data store. At present, there is no interface that is exposed to the user, for this and all risk model specification and configuration must be done by Icertis personnel
    • Beyond associating risk models to individual contracts, the platform allows users to model and manage risk across all associated contracts for the same supplier, providing risk visibility into the overall relationship

Top-Tier Performance 

Based on the Q3 2018 CLM SolutionMap benchmark featuring 13 providers, Icertis scores in the top tier in the following areas:

  • Core Contract Modeling (all areas)
    • Enterprise Contracts Support (beyond buy side)
    • Richness of Contract Level Data Modeled
    • Templates
    • Clauses
    • Performance specifications and deliverables
    • Obligations
    • File Attachments
    • Document Linking and Integration
    • Access Control
    • Auditable, Unalterable, Messaging
    • Version Control
  • Extended Contract Modeling and Analytics (all areas)
    • Pricing
    • Categories
    • General Risk
    • Commodity Risk
    • Supplier/Partner
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Financials
    • Projects
    • Assets (e.g., software licenses)
  • Contract Expiry and Renewal Management (all areas)
    • Contract Actions, Renewals
    • Contract Expiration (non-renewal)
    • Status Updates
  • Contract Creation and Authoring (all areas)
    • Search/Discovery
    • Legacy Contract Upload/Conversion
    • Clause Extraction, Classification and Harmonization
    • Survey Integration
    • Contract Import from E-Sourcing
    • Ability to Manage Counterparty Originated Contracts
    • Amendment Creation
  • Contract Collaboration and Implementation (all areas)
    • Word Integration
    • Core Workflow and Approvals
    • Contract Negotiation
    • Collaboration Support (which extends across contract lifecycle)
    • Sub-Contracting Support (where it scores a “5”)
    • "Guided Contracting" (e.g., user questionnaires)
    • Contract Implementation
    • Contract Performance Management
      • Compliance Management
      • Financial Management
      • Corrective Action and Conflict Resolution
  • Analytics (all areas)
    • Performance Management Analytics
      • Contracting Reports and Analytics
      • Contract/Commercial Performance Analysis
    • Knowledge Management and Expertise
      • Knowledge Beyond Technology Applications
      • Community Knowledge
      • Value Creation Methodology and Approach
  • Technology and Configurability
    • Core Technology Platform
    • Fine-Grained Role/Data/Action-Based Security
    • SaaS/Cloud
    • On-Premise Software Option
    • Mobile
    • Intelligent Applications
    • Personalization
    • Open Standards
    • CLM Configuration (where it scores a “5”)
    • Business Rules/Workflow
    • Multi-Lingual
    • On-Premise Software Option
  • Services
    • General Services
  • Customer Survey
    • Recommend This Provider
    • Level of Value Perceived
    • As a Technology/Solution Provider
    • Quick Deployment
    • TCO
    • Process Expertise
    • Compliance Expertise
    • Best Fit for Cross-Functional Needs (legal, supply chain, etc.)
    • Category Depth/Support
    • Modular Capability/Feature/Functionality
    • Innovation
    • Ability to Handle our Company-Specific Needs
    • Configurability

Best-Fit Customer Scenarios

Icertis is a recommended fit for all Spend Matters SolutionMap buying personas for CLM. Best-fit shortlist scenarios will include:

  • Any procurement, legal or commercial team considering standalone contract management software (based on scoring in the Value Leader quadrant for all four CLM SolutionMap buying personas)
  • Best-in-class functional technology capability is needed
  • No CLM weak spots are important — Icertis scores above the benchmark for every rated field (the only vendor to do so in the Q3 2018 CLM benchmark)
  • The “uber CLM toolkit” is desired ‚ the most flexible, configurable platform that can be tailored to just about any possible current or future requirement
  • The ability to model and associate targeted contract components, data and metadata (e.g., pricing, compliance, projects) is valued
  • Best-in-class workflow and business rules capability is a consideration

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