Author Archives: Nick Heinzmann



Malbek: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview for Contract Management, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Competitors, Analyst Insights

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Malbek and its solution for contract management.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but rarely in the competitive world of software development do people get a chance at a do-over. Malbek, a 4-year-old contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution, may just be the exception. Many of the New Jersey-based vendor’s current and founding employees are alumni of prior CLM vendors, and these CLM veterans have brought to Malbek a set of insights about how to “reimagine” their space.

The resulting solution is not one that aims to blow up CLM as we know it and upend the typical features. In the view of Malbek, the foundational aspects around contract modeling, portfolio management, authoring workflows and the like are all relatively sound. Rather, the aspects of CLM that Malbek wanted to reimagine was the approach to deployment, integrations, system upgrades and end user configurability. And while that may sound less “sexy” than cutting edge, AI-based features — which, for what it’s worth, Malbek also supports in many areas — these emphases give Malbek a compelling case for being able to address key pain points for CLM prospects, especially in the middle and enterprise market segments.

The brief explores the concept behind Malbek; the platform, application and supporting services the vendor delivers; a verified customer reference analysis; and a competitive market analysis, complete with key analyst takeaways.

Parley Pro: Vendor Analysis — CLM Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses, Company SWOT, Tech Selection Tips

Parley Pro, a contract lifecycle management provider that’s the subject of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, aims to move CLM beyond the category’s current concept.

Historically, many CLM vendors have focused on maintaining a repository of agreements for customers to help them better manage post-signature lifecycle events. Indeed, centralized storage and renewal management formed the main value proposition that most early CLM vendors competed on, with standardized authoring as an added benefit.

Parley Pro wants to change that.

The Los Altos, California-based vendor represents an emerging class of CLM solutions that aim to streamline and improve the upfront creation and negotiation process.

That’s not to say Parley Pro skimps on the traditional CLM requirements: It checks all of the expected boxes across repository setup, searching, template management, post-signature tracking (e.g., renewals) and reporting.

But where the vendor differentiates — and wins in competitive scenarios — is on its ability to optimize digital or online negotiation workflows, both internally and with the counterparty.

This one-part Vendor Analysis includes an overview of Parley Pro’s CLM solution, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a tech selection checklist for organizations that might consider the vendor.

Trakti: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview for Contract Management, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Competitors, Analyst Insights

labor

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Trakti and its solution for contract management.

With the rise of the contract lifecycle management (CLM) market, contract management has slowly become more digital. The same cannot be said, however, of contracts.

The contracts that CLM solutions deal with are in practice electronic versions of prose. A few more advanced vendors venture into the electronic representation of contract elements, but as a rule most aspects of a contract are either included in an attached document or modeled as metadata tags with the system.

Trakti, in contrast, is a step toward CLM that is digital native — that is, agreements modeled and managed in a fully electronic format. Via a combination of contract management expertise and targeted use of blockchain technology, Trakti offers smart contracts functionality in an end-to-end CLM system it has applied across enterprise use cases, at real customers, at supply chain scale.

The brief explores the concept behind Trakti; the platform, application and supporting services the vendor delivers; a verified customer reference analysis; and a competitive market analysis, complete with key analyst takeaways.

Pactum: Vendor Analysis —  Solution Overview for Long-Tail Negotiation, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Pactum Competitors, Analyst Insights

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Pactum and its solution for long-tail negotiations.

It takes two to negotiate, yet more often than not negotiations are one-sided. Depending on the scenario, one party usually has a stronger position than the other.

But asserting power over another party for a preferred outcome isn’t the point of a negotiation — at least, not in negotiation theory, anyway. If you ask an academic, there’s actually a range of outcomes that maximize value for both parties, and a truly successful negotiation is one that reaches the sweet spot, the Pareto optimal. Simply put, win-win deals are usually the best outcome, rather than, say, a steep price cut that later contributes to supplier insolvency.

Delivering these optimized, win-win deals is how Pactum, a one-year-old vendor out of Mountain View, California, approaches negotiation.

But outcome optimization is only one part of Pactum’s value prop. The other is that it has developed an AI system that can negotiate with a human supply-side rep to deliver savings and execute a contract. And it can do this for tens of thousands of vendors without any procurement involvement.

This Vendor Analysis also explores the concept behind Pactum; the platform, application and supporting services the vendor delivers; a verified customer reference analysis; and a competitive market analysis, complete with key analyst takeaways.

Agiloft: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 3) — Agiloft Competitors, SWOT, Commentary, Tech Selection Tips

contract

The third and final installment of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis looks at Agiloft’s competitors and provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider.

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology market is highly fragmented today, with customers having significant choice between broad-based suite providers and independent vendors. Within this mix of full lifecycle solutions — from analytics to authoring to compliance — there are also specialized providers that stand out for unique capabilities, specialization or unique technology approaches to CLM. One CLM provider that is differentiated from other options — owing both to its business rules and business process management (BPM) foundation and to its adjacent capability in asset management and related areas — is It’s also at the forefront of contract and commerce lifecycle management (CCLM), which means putting contracts at the center of numerous digital business processes. Spend Matters calls this area commercial value management (CVM).

Part 3 also includes provider selection guidance, recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Agiloft’s capabilities, and a summary analysis. Part 1 provided an in-depth solution overview of Agiloft’s offering and a company profile. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of Agiloft’s solution strengths and weaknesses as well as a review of the user experience.

Agiloft: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips

digital signatures

This installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis explores Agiloft’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis of its solution to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface.

Most procurement organizations have only started to explore the full set of capabilities that integrated contract lifecycle management (CLM) capabilities can bring. Yet in most cases today — outside of procurement organizations deploying integrated suite-based contract management technologies, many of which offer limited capabilities relative to independent CLM vendors — CLM remains loosely coupled from overall procurement processes, including sourcing, supplier management, transactional buying, contract compliance and risk management.

Agiloft, one of dozens of independent CLM providers in the market today, offers a means of creating a synthetic process-driven and data-driven “hub” beyond providing core contract management capabilities alone. To do that, the vendor uses a unique term to describe its approach to putting contracts at the center of numerous business processes: contract and commerce lifecycle management (CCLM). And it’s not alone in its thinking. What Agiloft calls CCLM we at Spend Matters call commercial value management (CVM), a concept of contract management where granularly modelled contract obligations form the basis for managing enterprise-wide value creation via a centralized CLM system.

Admittedly, CCLM or CVM is at this time more conceptual than actionable strategy. But we feel that the most mature organizations are moving in this direction with their contract management practices, and, perhaps as a proof point, Agiloft’s most advanced competitors each have their own version of the CCLM/CVM vision that they are articulating with their own roadmaps.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed overview of the Agiloft solution, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Agiloft in the CLM area. Next up, this series will offer a look at Agiloft’s competitors, a company SWOT analysis, user selection guide, and more tech selection tips.

Agiloft: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) market can have many inroads. Some vendors position themselves as fluent with the sales and CPQ world, basing their value props on enablement of frontline business users and acceleration of agreement execution. Others are buy-side specialists, prioritizing the ability to deeply model and track the quantities and conditions for manufacturing agreements to ensure continuity of supply. And still more are more legal specialists, built around the idea of empowering in-house counsel to become a trusted business partner and earn a “seat at the table.”

Agiloft, a contract lifecycle management vendor that has been operating since 1991, has never gone to market touting just a single set of use cases or a key department to enable. Instead, it has essentially turned this question around and asked, “What do you want us to be?”

This is because Agiloft, while used by more than 500 customers as a CLM system, is actually a no-code platform built upon a business process management framework that has been configured as a CLM application.

Said another way, Agiloft is like a LEGO set in which the code bricks have been assembled to deploy systems for CLM and asset management, among other use cases. This has allowed customers to collect, store and track any and all contract data and attachments that an organization might require, as well as design custom workflows that tie into other systems, making Agiloft both a CLM tool and a broader system for business process orchestration.

The potential for organizations looking to tap such powerful customization while obtaining core CLM capabilities are interesting, yet Agiloft, despite its age and consistently strong customer references, as illustrated its Value Leader ranking within our CLM SolutionMap, has never quite broken out as a well-known CLM pacesetter. Part of this has been a conservative approach to growth and investment — the vendor has historically focused its investment on product development, and it took on outside funding for the first time in 2020, nearly three decade after its founding.

But with a fresh round of external investment and a new CEO at the helm, is Agiloft positioned to break out of its no-code shell into a more widely acknowledged CLM pole position?

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, which updates our 2017 review, provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and partners make informed decisions about Agiloft’s CLM and related capabilities. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview. The rest of this three-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, a look at Agiloft’s competitors, a company SWOT analysis and tech selection tips.

Icertis: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 3) — Competitors and CLM Market Analysis

The third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Analysis provides a look at Icertis’s competitors and a market analysis of vendors in contract lifecycle management (CLM).

As contract management has become a hot topic in the B2B tech sphere, competition between CLM vendors has increased. Customers are looking for an expanding list of capabilities from their CLM solutions, to include not only core clause library and repository support but also automated contract data extraction and ongoing compliance management tools. 

Icertis has maintained a top spot in the contract management market due to its deep support for both the essentials and its continuing expansion of what a CLM platform can do. Organizations evaluating potential vendors will find that Icertis is a strong fit for many cross-enterprise use cases and that the firm does not shy away from complexity where alternatives might falter. At the same time, several CLM vendors are beginning to compete with Icertis on its key vulnerabilities, and a surge of investment in contract analytics, either via acquisition or native development, has kicked off an AI arms race with multiple fronts. 

Part 3 also includes an objective SWOT analysis of the provider, tech selection tips and a summary analysis. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Icertis as a technology provider and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of Icertis's solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

Now, let’s take a deeper look at the company and Icertis’s competitors.

Icertis: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis update explores Icertis’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor.

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology market is not one market. Rather, this technology comprises several subspecialties, each served by a diverse set of vendors with varying degrees of capability. Because of this, procurement, commercial, legal and other users have significant choice between broad-based suites and independent CLM vendors today.

Within this market, Icertis is one of the few providers delivering a robust enterprise-class CLM solution with significant depth across all functional areas of CLM that Spend Matters tracks. Moreover, Icertis takes a truly platform-based approach, rather than offering just a set of fixed modules on a menu. It’s also built on a modern technology stack and continues to adopt some of the latest tools to drive new innovations, particularly in the competitive realm of CLM-based AI. With powerful functionality comes challenges, however, as SolutionMap customer references indicate, with UX/UI factors frequently cited as an area of ongoing improvement.

Part 1 of our analysis provided Icertis's background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Icertis in the P2P technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Icertis: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

contract

This three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an update to our previous review of Icertis, adding new assessments of core capabilities and introducing new functionality in the Icertis Contract Intelligence platform that's relevant to buy-side and enterprise CLM use cases.

The technology providers that define the contract lifecycle management (CLM) space are the ones that have continuously pushed the boundaries of what such solutions can do. No longer simply concerned with document storage, search and standardization, leading CLM systems have evolved their focuses to include capabilities such as granular obligation modeling, performance management and AI-assisted process automation.

Icertis, one of the top-performing CLM providers in Spend Matters’ CLM SolutionMap since our vendor rankings began, is at the forefront of this development.

The vendor has for several years demonstrated deep support for advanced CLM use cases, from obligation management to multi-tier subcontracting support, many of which have set the functional bar within our SolutionMap evaluation process.

And in the two years since we published our last Vendor Analysis on Icertis, the product’s innovation vision has only continued to grow. Most notably, Icertis has released several AI applications designed to bridge the gap between the contract analytics space and traditional CLM, as well as a set of unique business applications that overlay distinct business processes on top of the contract-based platform, including an RFX application that enables contract-centric sourcing.

Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Icertis. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses; competitors and a market analysis; a SWOT analysis and tech selection tips.

ContractPodAi: Vendor Analysis — CLM Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses, Company SWOT, Tech Selection Tips

contracts CLM

This one-part ContractPodAi Vendor Analysis includes an overview of ContractPodAi’s solution for contract lifecycle management (CLM).

The overlap of markets for legal tech and broader CLM solutions market has created a unique subsector that serves legal functions first and foremost but extends their value prop across the entire enterprise.

ContractPodAi is one such vendor, claiming to be built “by and for lawyers” but also serving cross-enterprise use cases.

The comparatively young vendor, which launched its current product in 2015 and landed a $55 million funding round in 2019, offers a highly usable CLM solution that even extends into some more advanced use cases around obligation tracking.

And, as its name implies, it supports a concerted focus on applying artificial intelligence (AI) into its platform, using technologies from IBM Watson and Microsoft Azure as its backbone.

So how does this legal-first, AI-via-partnership approach stack up against CLM incumbents, particularly those taking a “grow your own” approach to AI model and capability development?

This one-part ContractPodAi Vendor Analysis also offers a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a tech selection checklist for organizations that might consider the vendor.

LogicSource: Vendor Analysis — Background, Solution Overview, SWOT, Tech Selection Tips

Oracle

The convergence of technology and services is a trend that’s hard to ignore in the procurement solutions market. Rare is the successful implementation story these days where a vendor deploys its software, trains the user and disappears until contract renewal. Rather, supporting services, including not only implementation and user training but also value-add activities like process outsourcing or digital transformation consulting, are becoming integral to creating satisfied customers. In fact, that’s why our highly technical SolutionMap evaluation includes both feature/function assessments of platform capabilities and requirements for services capabilities/customer feedback.

Perhaps ahead of this curve was LogicSource, a tech-enabled procurement business process outsourcing firm out of Norwalk, Connecticut, that offers services for sourcing and contract management alongside specialized tools for spend analytics, spend/savings tracking and P2P management.

Founded in 2009, LogicSource has its roots in the retail world, where the provider first focused on enabling direct and commercial print procurement. Today it has expanded its coverage to a slew of indirect spend categories, picking up BPO and tech-first clients like Rite Aid, GSK, The Hartford, Lululemon and Dish along the way.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis offers an overview of LogicSource, including quick facts about the provider. The brief also includes an introduction to LogicSource’s OneMarket solutions for spend analysis, savings tracking and P2P; an overall SWOT analysis comparing it to other procurement services providers; and a selection checklist for companies that may consider the provider.

Let’s take a look at LogicSource.