Seal Software: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis

Spend Matters research suggests 2017 is likely to be the year that advanced procurement organizations generally start to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capability into targeted business processes. There are a number of reasons for this, primarily involving the maturity of different sets of technology and the increasing embedded nature of these underlying tools in broader solutions, ranging from real-time translation and chat to spend classification to guided buying to contract search, discovery and analytics.

Systems that learn and constantly get smarter are here to stay in procurement – and they can make us smarter as well. Such is the case of Seal Software when it comes to its ability to create a virtuous cycle in identifying, analyzing and ultimately influencing contract obligations and performance based on an underlying discovery and analytics foundation that complements contract lifecycle management (CLM) and other procurement technology investments.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Seal Software provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as substitute providers to Seal Software and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Seal’s capabilities.

Seal Software: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

What is a contract? Distilled to its essence, a contract is an agreement that defines one or multiple obligations between parties. A contract could be as simple as a standard mutual non-disclosure agreement or a relatively short agreement to purchase goods in exchange for a payment. In more complex cases, a contract could be a complex swap agreement in which cash (or credit) does not change hands but various good, obligations, raw materials, finished products, derivative products or other commitments do (trading companies are especially familiar with these types of scenarios).

All of these examples have one thing in common: they represent binding agreements between parties. Yet in most procurement organizations today, we are typically not aware of the majority of the contracts that we directly — or those in the business — have created.

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions can help bring certain contracts under management –– much as we bring “spend” under management from a purchasing perspective. Yet just as e-procurement solutions do not address the full continuum of spend, so too do CLM solutions fail to address all the procurement and third-party obligations that our companies have already created in the past, or may create in the future, outside a CLM tool. And this is why Seal Software, the pioneer of the contract discovery, search and analytics sector, presents a compelling case that all organizations, regardless of where they are in their digital procurement transformation journey, should invest separately in a contract intelligence strategy, alongside procurement technology suites and CLM.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Seal Software’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider this class of solution alongside other CLM, P2P and other procurement technology investments. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface.

Seal Software: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) –– Background & Solution Overview

Spend analytics tools generally stand alone from other areas of procurement systems. And so do contract analytics solutions from both procurement and contract lifecycle management (CLM) technologies. Yet contract analytics, when looked at from search, discovery, reporting and guidance angles, is arguably a much more menacing beast to tackle compared with structured procurement transactional data coming from ERP/AP, e-procurement, invoicing and card sources. And there are far fewer providers specializing in the market for contract discovery and analytics compared to spend analytics, which is no surprise given the complexity in the challenge. Seal Software is one of them and offers capability that is a complement to standard contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions in the market today.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Seal Software’s contract discovery and analytic capability, its suitability for specific contract lifecycle management (CLM) requirements, and other offerings that an organization may want to consider as an alternative (or alongside). 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 Seal in the procurement technology area. Part 2 and Part 3 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.