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

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

In a world where everything that businesses purchase is increasingly consumed “as a service,” contracts are taking on increased importance as a commercial system of record for all transactions, processes and obligations that a company must manage.

This system of record includes not just basic facts and risk transferring mechanisms for contract parties but also cooperative elements that define how a relationship will generate value — from project milestones and contingencies to complex payment conditions.

And it extends beyond simple functional boundaries, too, putting contract management at the core of all enterprise processes, whether they begin in sales, legal, procurement or elsewhere.

This conceptual framework for contracts, which Spend Matters calls commercial value management (CVM), is an emerging ambition within organizations looking to raise their contract management maturity to new levels. But a major hurdle exists to doing so: Not all contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions have the necessary capabilities to support such a vision.

SirionLabs, a contract lifecycle and obligation management platform, is one of a handful of firms that can play in this new CVM space — while also maintaining a highly competitive position in the traditional CLM market. The Seattle-based vendor achieves both feats by infusing strong core CLM functionality with a unique set of surrounding capabilities for post-signature obligation management and AI-based content extraction.

Customers, too, cite many strengths in SirionLabs’ solution approach, particularly its commitment to driving fast ROI and continuous innovation informed by client needs. But where does SirionLabs stand out most and help “set the bar” in CLM, and why should this matter for businesses?

Let’s delve into our SolutionMap benchmark to find out where SirionLabs is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. The columns share insights from SolutionMap updates, which rank offerings from more than 65 vendors in 13 technology areas of procurement. The updates are released in the spring and fall. Based on SolutionMaps’ rigorous evaluation process by our analysts and customer reference reviews, these columns offer quick facts on the vendor, describe where it excels, provide hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and conclude with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Quick Facts: SirionLabs

  • Founded: 2012
  • HQ (and support locations): Seattle, U.S. (HQ); New York, U.S.; Toronto, Canada; London, U.K.; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Copenhagen, Denmark; Gurgaon, India; Singapore
  • Total annual revenue: Not disclosed
  • Customers: 200+ including Vodafone, Unilever, BP, Credit Suisse and Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)
  • Regions served: Global
  • Available modules: Sirion’s modules include Contract Authoring, Auto-extraction, Contract Management, Performance Management, Invoice Auditing, BuyerSupplier Collaboration and Advanced Analytics
  • Latest release version: 2.20

Deep, Intelligent Contract Modeling and Creation Capabilities

  • SirionLabs’ CLM functionality extends far beneath surface-level capabilities. It has a rich, flexible data model that it uses to organize the commercial knowledge of its high-end clients. This focus on granular knowledge management requires a commitment for the customer to invest the time to configure the system properly and to model and manage its agreements, but the results allow them to manage their partner relationships with rigor.
  • The Spring 2020 CLM SolutionMap illustrates this level of depth clearly, as SirionLabs posts top scores in the benchmark for richness of contract-level data modeled, as well as extended modeling of pricing, general risk, projects and financials (for which it received the highest score of any provider).
  • Further, this robust data model supports an intelligent approach to contract creation. SirionLabs offers full contract authoring capability, including clause and template library support and the ability to create specific assignments (both internally and for suppliers) from individual clauses or underlying data elements.
  • Beyond the basics, though, SirionLabs applies machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to its authoring/creation capabilities, giving it the ability to automatically:

◇ Extract metadata and obligations from contract documents written in natural language ◇ Pull related and alternative clauses from enterprise clause library into contract and perform easy replacements

◇ Read each clause in a contract and suggest a clause category, allowing intuitive update of the clause library with new variations, as well as comparison with existing variations in the same category

  • These AI investments lead the pack in the CLM benchmark: SirionLabs claims the uncontested top score for requirements such as metadata and obligations extraction and “intelligent apps” (i.e., use of AI techniques like machine learning within the native app or partner apps).

Strategic Post-Signature Contract and Supplier Management for All Supply Agreements

  • SirionLabs’ differentiating strength — no other technology provider we have seen is comparable — is as a post-signature contract management solution, based on sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) technology that supports intelligent ingestion and storage of contract terms, monitoring of contract execution performance, and management of variances and contract changes.
  • This makes SirionLabs an ideal fit for large organizations with costly and complex services (e.g., outsourcing, consulting, IT/telecom, capital equipment) where the contract is the heart of the commercial relationship in terms of obligations, SLAs, pricing, performance, issues management and risk management.
  • Given these areas of strength, it is unsurprising that SirionLabs delivers benchmark-topping scores in related requirements, including performance specifications and deliverables modeling, obligations modeling, compliance management and financial management.

An Elegant, Powerful User Interface and Experience

  • Contract management can be inherently complex to model in software, given its heavy reliance on natural language and the intricate workflows involved in their creation, approval and management. SirionLabs addresses this challenge better than perhaps any other CLM solution without sacrificing significant power under the hood (i.e., it does not sacrifice feature/function depth in favor of “dumbing down” the solution to make it more user friendly).
  • SirionLabs has created a toolset that is designed from the ground up to originate and then force the management of information that was not previously easily accessible. This begins with AI-based clause and obligation extraction from contracts and continues with the provider’s custom-built workflow and rules engine that specifically accommodates the requirements of managing a highly fluid complex-services lifecycle.
  • Analytics and reporting is front and center throughout the suite, rather than an afterthought. Everything contained in the system — from high-level dashboards that drill into underlying datasets and associated metadata to alerting, tasks and other activities — comes across in an elegant manner, in which only the right level of information is presented, in the most appropriate format, at the right time. Additionally, SirionLabs applies AI to its reporting approach to turn data into insights that provide analysis in the form of text snippets (rather than just tables and charts).
  • To wit, SirionLabs beats the benchmark in multiple general UX/UI requirements, including customization, collaboration, form support and view filtering, for which it claimed the highest score in the benchmark.
  • It also excels against the benchmark in reporting requirements, including top scores for dashboards/widgets, charting/graphing capability, formulas and third-party BI support.

Applicability to All Enterprise CLM Use Cases

  • While some CLM solutions have historical strengths in certain areas of contract management (e.g., sell-side linkages to CRM), SirionLabs is true enterprise CLM solution applicable to buy side, sell side and other legal department use cases.
  • In the CLM customer benchmark, SirionLabs beats the benchmark in key survey questions for enterprise use cases, including best-fit for cross-functional needs and category depth/support.
  • Customers cite its expertise in all of the “end-to-end capabilities across all pre- and post-contract management disciplines/steps” as a differentiating strength.
  • They also praise how Sirion’s management staff “is extremely knowledgeable regarding contract governance” and in driving greater contract management maturity across the enterprise (beyond just as a specific functional competency).

Ease of Adoption and Ability to Drive Fast ROI

  • Although SirionLabs is used to manage large and highly complex relationships, customers don’t find the solution itself cumbersome or difficult to implement.
  • As one customer put it, “Whilst the technology is sophisticated, Sirion’s project management has helped users of the systems adapt to new ways of working without significantly pulling them away from the ‘day job.’ This has allowed a smooth transition from managing contracts on MSExcel, to managing them in a systematized and robust way via the new software.”
  • This ability to bring new users into the system (and new ways of thinking) without overwhelming them in turn helped customers quickly drive value from implementing SirionLabs. • According to another customer, the best aspect of the implementation project with SirionLabs was “the quick implementation and harvesting of first savings. Being a SaaS solution the initial setup is very quick and easy, and low-hanging fruits can be harvested very quickly.”

Innovation Roadmap: A Collaborative Relationship

  • Beyond their satisfaction with SirionLabs in its current release, customers also commended the vendor for its empathy in developing the future product around customer needs and visions.
  • Compared with the CLM customer benchmark, SirionLabs well exceeds the average solution for its ability to handle customer’s unique needs and deliver innovation generally.
  • One customer cited the “ability to partner with the provider and influence the development of the product” as a differentiating strength.
  • Another customer noted how SirionLabs was “very pro-active in terms of taking our needs and suggestions into future developments and releases.”
  • Overall, the benefits of a collaborative relationship were clear: “Use them! Get in a tight relationship early. They are GREAT to work with,” one customer said.

Beating the Benchmark

Based on the CLM SolutionMap benchmark featuring 12 providers, SirionLabs scores above the Analyst (functionality) benchmark for 123 of 182 elements evaluated, handily surpassing the “average” CLM provider. It tied for the top score in 30 cases and posted the highest ratings of any provider in nine requirements, including metadata extraction, intelligent apps, KPI modeling and the ability to model complex financial information/structures within a contract.

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For customer scoring, SirionLabs again beats the benchmark, surpassing the majority of providers for overall average customer satisfaction scores. It exceeds the benchmark average in nearly all requirements (26 of 27 survey questions), mostly in its ability to handle a company’s specific needs, configurability, unique capabilities, industry expertise, innovation, ROI and process expertise.

Best-Fit Customer Scenarios

SirionLabs is a recommended fit for all four types of companies evaluated for Spend Matters CLM SolutionMap buying personas, placing it in the Value Leader quadrant (high analyst scores, high customer scores).

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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).
  • Top-tier functional capability is needed to support core contract modeling, extended modeling and analytics, expiration/renewal management, creation and authoring, collaboration, analytics and implementation, compliance and performance.
  • Best-in-class contract analytics, performance monitoring and reporting is an essential evaluation element.
  • Supplier management as an extension of CLM is valued.
  • Beyond “the contract” — the lifecycle management of contracted services/statement of work (SOW) agreements as an extension of CLM is valued.
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