Seal Software and IBM Emptoris enter partnership on contract management tools

It is a while since we featured Seal Software (an Associate Sponsor of Spend Matters here and in the US). But the other day we saw what might be a very significant move for them, as they announced a partnership with Emptoris, now part of IBM of course. The deal;

“will allow IBM to utilize Seal's unique, automated Contract Discovery solution to strengthen the IBM Emptoris Contract Management offering. Customers will benefit from automated legacy contract and agreement discovery across the enterprise, enabling rapid migration to Emptoris. The solution will also improve contract analysis, providing accurate prioritization for deeper contract review”.

To recap – Seal market one of the few software products in our industry that literally made me go “wow” when I first saw it a couple of years back. As I have told quite a few senior procurement folks, it seemed almost like magic. The solution trawls through an organisations systems and servers and finds contracts, through a very sophisticated search engine that recognises  words and combinations of words.

So the typical client who thinks that there are 1000 live contracts held by their organisation runs Seal – and finds that there are actually 2,000! The tool can also then identify all contracts expiring shortly, for instance, or all contracts that include certain onerous terms perhaps.

Here is what my business partner Jason Busch had to say in the press release.

"Contract management is being extended beyond authoring and active management of current supplier, customer and partner agreements. This is a significant trend that is fast becoming a best practice in many of the largest and most successful organizations around the world," said Jason Busch...  "By partnering with IBM Emptoris, a contract management market leader, Seal gains a force multiplier effect on its ability to influence a broad set of companies with its truly unique contract discovery capabilities. In Spend Matters' opinion, Seal's approach has already shown us that the path to the next level of contract management excellence involves tightly embedding contract discovery, analytics and compliance within contract management suites."

This certainly strengthens the Emptoris portfolio, which does already include a contract authoring and administration tool. It will open the door, we might think, to many more clients for the Seal product. Might it lead to an eventual acquisition? Seal is still small by the standards of IBM’s usual targets, I guess, but if the partnership proves to be a success, we’ll see.


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