SAP Ariba vs SirionLabs: Contract lifecycle management head-to-head technology evaluation and comparison


The contract lifecycle management (CLM) space is exceptional because best-of-breed vendors definitively define what leading functionality is. Whereas, in other areas, suite players often perform at parity or stronger than standalone vendors — and, in the case of sourcing optimization especially, outperform the market. In CLM, the standalone vendors are the ones that set the current “bar” for the technology.

At the same time, CLM is also a less fully adopted solution area, and the offerings available from suite and ERP vendors can still deliver strong improvements compared with using no system at all. Contract management maturity is a key consideration, as some organizations simply need to start or hit moderate maturity levels before they can even think about optimizing their relationships and contract language.

The question then becomes: What is the value of using the CLM module from a suite or ERP provider vs. a standalone specialist, and which option is the best for my organization?

A matchup that encapsulates this scenario well is SAP Ariba vs. SirionLabs. Indeed, many customers that provided references for SirionLabs said they often considered SAP Ariba alongside their current vendor during selection, and both vendors have experience serving enterprise customers with complex requirements. We feel that merits a round in the Spring 2021 CLM SolutionMap head-to-head evaluation ring for our content subscribers.

Not yet a Spend Matters PRO or Insider member? Here’s a preview of today’s comparison.

In multiple CLM categories — which include contract information management, contract process management, CLM analytics and underlying technology — SirionLabs comes out on top. But in at least one other, SAP Ariba provides an impressive counterblow. And in specific functional matchups, SAP Ariba comes out swinging with unique strengths that illustrate its ability to address specific customer types.

Spend Matters’ head-to-head columns share the insights of each fall and spring SolutionMap update. Subscribers to our PRO analyst content and SolutionMap Insider content can read the head-to-head columns, which provide comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data for two solutions. For each column, we provide comparisons against the S2P-wide benchmarks, comparative scoring of vendors across dozens of functional requirements, and our analysts’ take on how each solution holds up in the competitive ring.

SirionLabs: Vendor Analysis, 2021 Update (Part 3) — Company SWOT, SirionLabs’ competitors, tech selection tips, analyst conclusion

SirionLabs competitors

Last spring amid the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, SirionLabs announced it had completed a $44 million Series C round, an event that Spend Matters said signaled the vendor’s arrival at the CLM winners podium. Of course, from our perspective it had already been there for a bit, as Sirion has consistently placed in our Value Leader quadrant of the CLM SolutionMap since we launched our vendor rankings — a finding now shared by other analyst firms evaluating the CLM space.

But where exactly does Sirion differentiate from the competition, and which organizations will find the CLM vendor an ideal fit relative to a growing number of competitors for authoring and negotiation, contract analytics and end-to-end CLM?

The third and final installment of this PRO Vendor Analysis, 2021 Update looks at SirionLabs’ competitors and provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider. Part 3 also includes provider selection guidance, recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Sirion’s capabilities, and a summary analysis. Part 1 examined SirionLabs’ background and offered a detailed solution overview and a company profile. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of SirionLabs’ solution strengths and weaknesses as well as a review of the user experience.

SirionLabs: Vendor Analysis, 2021 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

SirionLabs strengths weaknesses

Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides a detailed assessment of SirionLabs’ strengths and weaknesses of its solution for contract lifecycle management (CLM) and supply management.

In many ways, the easiest method for differentiating CLM solutions comes down to two questions: How deeply does a system model the commercial aspects of legal language, and to what extent can the system facilitate the analysis, certification and management of that resulting contract data?

Some vendors go deep on the modeling of contractual information, allowing that commercial knowledge to drive risk and performance management with counterparties. Other — often newer — vendors take a different approach, optimizing the workflows of CLM such as contract authoring and negotiation as the path to fast system ROI.

SirionLabs is a helpful example in illustrating the first group of CLM vendors. Because its roots are in managing services agreements and the ultimate outcomes of agreements, its approach to modeling and managing contractual information embraces complexity — and as a result, it delivers insights about relationships that are uniquely valuable to customers.

Part 1 examined SirionLabs’ background and offered a detailed solution overview. Part 3 will cover Sirion’s competitors, a company SWOT analysis and tech selection tips.

Now, let’s learn more about its solution strengths and weaknesses.

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.


As part of the SolutionMap RFI process, Spend Matters continuously solicits customer references to determine a procurement technology provider’s placement on the ranking graphics. This is a Spend Matters curated summary of verified customer feedback for Sirion Labs, a SolutionMap-ranked provider.

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

Just when you thought the contract lifecycle management (CLM) software market fit within a neatly defined 2x2 graph, along comes a vendor that breaks the mold, offering top functional capabilities while also redefining exactly what a CLM provider is capable of.

Who is this vendor, you ask?


Although it is fully capable of competing in the “traditional” CLM sector, SirionLabs is a powerful, specialized CLM solution that organizations have used primarily to manage and optimize the performance of large, complex, often multi-year services contracts. The solution combines core CLM components with added supplier management capabilities, like  performance management, relationship management and risk management. And it works for contracts of all shapes and sizes, delivering Value Leader (upper right quadrant) performances across every CLM SolutionMap buying persona.

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap consists of functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 vendors within the procurement, finance and legal software markets. To date, Spend Matters’ analysts have evaluated 13 providers in the contract lifecycle management software segment, including SirionLabs. But where does SirionLabs stand out most, and why should this matter to procurement and legal organizations? Let’s dive into the CLM SolutionMap 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.

Vestas Meets SirionLabs: A Contract Management Case Study

wind power

What happens when a 120-year-old Danish wind energy company entrusts its contracts to a then three-year-old American solution provider? The companies in question are Vestas, which traces its lineage back to 1898, and SirionLabs, a contract management provider that goes all the way back to 2012. Last year, Jason Busch analyzed SirionLabs’ solution for Spend Matters PRO, and he concluded that the vendor would be a good fit for companies with “multi-year strategic supplier relationships encompassing complex services and solutions,” for whom “insufficient supplier governance is leading to lost savings and value creation opportunities.” This certainly sounds like Vestas’ situation before 2015, when the company implemented Sirion.

SirionLabs: The Technology Provider for Post-Signature Contract Management — Year-End Tech Review

This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review series, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. This week, we’re highlighting companies in the sourcing (including e-sourcing) and supplier management spaces.

As businesses, we are increasingly buying outcomes rather than widgets or labor. Yet the general market for procurement technology still reflects a world in which we source, procure, contract and manage supplier relationships based on models that track to underlying SKUs or hourly bill rates rather than partnership-based outcomes. SirionLabs is one of the few technology providers working to change this. It has built a suite focused on managing all aspects of complex supplier relationships after a negotiation has taken place, starting with contract authoring and proceeding to steady-state performance, relationship and risk management.

SirionLabs: Solution Review & Analysis

As businesses, we are increasingly buying outcomes rather than widgets or labor. Yet in many ways, the general market for procurement technology still reflects a world in which we source, procure, contract and manage supplier relationships based on models that track to underlying SKUs or hourly bill rates rather than partnership-based outcomes.

There are a few technology providers working to change this paradigm, including SirionLabs, which has built a suite focused on managing all aspects of complex supplier relationships after a negotiation has taken place, starting with contract authoring and proceeding to steady-state performance, relationship and risk management. Comparing SirionLabs with a traditional source-to-pay (S2P) technology suite or a vendor management system (VMS) provider with an SOW capability is like comparing boats, cars and airplanes. While all three provide transportation, they do so in environments that are foreign to each other and where hybrid approaches to date have amounted to compromises that few want to make.

This Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to the SirionLabs solution for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration and competitive alternatives.

SirionLabs: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Summary Analysis & Recommendations

When our most strategic suppliers truly become embedded in our business and the scope of the relationship involves specialized obligations and commitments centered on measurable outcomes that extend beyond quality and on-time performance alone, traditional indirect materials source-to-pay (S2P) and vendor management system (VMS) SOW capabilities may come up short. This statement holds true not just for managing business process outsourcing (BPO) and other services-centric relationships, but also the most strategic vendor partnerships with manufacturing suppliers as well. SirionLabs, a specialized procurement suite vendor, has built a solution that faces little competition in addressing much (but not yet all) of the lifecycle for managing the most strategic, outcomes- and obligations-based supplier relationships.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering SirionLabs offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other similar or related vendors that companies may wish to shortlist. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider SirionLabs.

SirionLabs: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses


Many procurement organizations looking at SirionLabs for the first time might be surprised at the level of depth the solution goes to around enabling better savings, outcomes and value centered on a single type of spending: highly strategic, highly complex and often highly fluid services relationships. Compared with other source-to-pay (S2P) solutions in which organizations engage and manage categories and spending across dozens, hundreds or even thousands of suppliers, some SirionLabs customers often use it for just a single supplier (although many use it for more than this).

For those that manage truly strategic services suppliers, this should not be a surprise. Just as there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy to achieving savings in procurement, there is not a one-size approach to managing suppliers that procurement can apply across the lifecycle of relationships from pre-contracting to post-contracting. Moreover, by the same token, the value levers that we can pull most effectively vary dramatically by category and spend/supplier characteristics as well.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores SirionLabs’ strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview, a SWOT analysis and a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider SirionLabs. The final installments of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.