Icertis: Propelling CLM into rich contract intelligence

As Chief Evangelist at Icertis, Bernadette Bulacan says contract Intelligence is the future of contract lifecycle management, impacting revenue and costs

Samir Bodas and Monish Darda saw the untapped power of the cloud as an opportunity to enable businesses with real-time data, helping them to move faster, smarter, and more efficiently. What started in 2009 as a vision to deliver transformational technology that brings more trust and certainty to the world has evolved into Icertis, an analyst-validated leader in Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and the pioneer of contract intelligence – a unique category of software that leverages AI to turn static documents into strategic advantages.

Icertis’ journey to transform the foundation of commerce through contracts has since evolved to establish the company as the preeminent innovator in AI-powered contract intelligence. Icertis has boldly pursued the vision of enterprise-wide contract transformation for over a decade and continues to build momentum as the world’s most iconic brands – 30% of Fortune 100 companies – look to increase revenue, reduce costs, ensure compliance and manage risk with Icertis.

Such immense figures are testament to Icertis being, beyond mere software, a virtual movement in the CLM world. And every movement needs an evangelist.

Enter Bernadette Bulacan. Bulacan is Chief Evangelist at Icertis, responsible for sharing contract management best practices with legal and procurement teams – and evangelising innovative technologies like AI, ML and blockchain.

A brief history: prior to her role at Icertis, Bulacan was the Co-Founder and Assistant General Counsel of Serengeti Law, which created a leading e-billing and matter management platform. 

Her career has seen a trajectory of different technologies, helping legal teams cogitate over how to leverage tech to augment both the practice and business of law. Currently focused on digitally transforming enterprises with CLM, Bulacan dives straight in to the newest wave:

Where CLM and AI meet, contract intelligence is born

“Contracts are the foundation of commerce, and play an essential role in every company’s digital transformation,” she says. “The data from contracts offers one of the largest untapped opportunities to positively impact revenue, costs, compliance, and risk – vital outcomes in the current business environment.

“CLM technology continues to gain widespread adoption; however, forward-looking businesses are moving beyond simple CLM into contract intelligence, which applies AI to structured and connected contract data, and integrates that data with major software systems like a company’s ERP to go beyond pre-signature efficiencies in terms of value.”

Contract intelligence connects critical data processes that drive strategic outcomes across the enterprise and ensures the intent of commercial agreements is fully realised. 

Icertis differentiates itself from traditional CLM by combining purpose-built AI with the industry’s largest and richest enterprise contract data lake of 2 billion metadata and transactional elements. “This creates meaningful value for enterprises across contract efficiency, insights, and intent realisation,” she says.

How Icertis solves common contract challenges 

Limited visibility and transparency, slow contract turnaround times, contract noncompliance, lack of standardisation, and mismanagement of contract renewal and expiration dates present common challenges for today’s businesses.

Additionally, a lack of connectivity between contract data and major software systems responsible for customer data, supplier data, and enterprise resource data can impact efficiency and strategic outcomes across the organisation. “This is where contract intelligence presents a golden opportunity for demonstrating value,” says Bulacan.

The Icertis Contract Intelligence (ICI) platform is built to address these challenges, and to meet the complex requirements of large-scale enterprises that manage thousands, if not millions of contracts.

Leveraging its proprietary AI models and the largest contract data lake in the industry, Icertis breaks down silos and surfaces unique insights to turn contracts into a powerful lever for risk avoidance, increased efficiency, and quantifiably enhanced performance. 

CLM’s role in achieving ESG targets

Heightened expectations around Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) measures are driving companies to commit to more socially responsible approaches to commerce, and improve their ability to demonstrate compliance as new regulations become increasingly widespread.

For example, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is transforming sustainability reporting for companies headquartered outside the EU which are conducting operations or business activities within its region.

While there may be regulatory penalties associated with noncompliance, an even greater threat for organisations is the reputational risk for failure to comply or, worse, allegations of green-washing.

“Contract intelligence can identify and extract obligations at scale, to help businesses improve the visibility and transparency of supply chains, embed ESG requirements into customer and third-party contracts, and ensure compliance with ESG goals,” she says. 

“A recent Economist Impact survey sponsored by Icertis found that 70 percent of companies consider contract language an effective tool in enforcing ESG standards, including climate commitment.

“However, manually extracting and monitoring obligations from these agreements is often labour intensive, and hidden in dense legal language. That’s why it’s imperative for businesses to begin integrating contract intelligence into their enterprise technology stacks now, in order to prepare for what lies ahead.”

Icertis’ contract intelligence: The fifth system of record

Bulacan says when selecting a CLM solution, companies should look for functionality that’s more than just a document management system. Features that enable deep insights into contract data, scalability, and out-of-the-box integrations with other systems are also important to meet the needs of the business. 

“Traditional CLM is focused on pre-signature contract efficiency, but Icertis is uniquely positioned with contract intelligence to help businesses realise greater value by connecting contract data across the enterprise, and integrating it with major software systems.

“By incorporating contract data into the processes it powers, contract intelligence becomes the fifth system of record, equally as essential to a company’s core operations as its ERP, CRM, HCM, and SCM solutions.”

Icertis also differentiates itself with enterprise-grade capabilities, security and AI innovation backed by partners like PwC and Microsoft

According to Patrick Reymann, Research Director of Procurement and Enterprise Applications at IDC: “Icertis was early to adopt and infuse AI capabilities in its platform and is viewed as an industry trendsetter with respect to advanced-level discovery and data mining capabilities.”

Positioned as a leader, Icertis is “taking contract management beyond efficiency and visibility to reimagine the impact of every commercial transaction, enabling customers to tap into contract data as one of the largest strategic resources of value for their business”. 

Mercedes-Benz: An Icertis CLM success story

German automotive manufacturer Mercedes-Benz operates in an industry that is constantly evolving with new challengers, regulations and technologies.

To stay ahead of these changes, the company needed to rethink the systems that run their business and approached Icertis to digitally transform their contracts. Their primary goal was to establish a single source of truth for all contracts, obtain data insights across all agreements, and guarantee supplier compliance.

With Icertis, Mercedes-Benz decreased its contract turnaround time by 83%: from six weeks – to just one. The company also centralised data from over 500,000 suppliers, and connected that data across enterprise systems to support critical outcomes around revenue, savings and risk. The numbers speak for themselves.

Forecasts: Bernadette Bulacan’s vision of the coming CLM world 

Asked about the future of CLM as she sees it, Bulacan highlights that AI is certainly having its moment as businesses consider the benefits of using large language models to change the way they work. 

“Icertis was early to adopt and infuse AI capabilities in its platform, and is continuing to explore how innovations like generative AI can help businesses increase revenue, reduce costs, improve compliance and eliminate contract-related risks,” she says.

Icertis ExploreAI – a next generation AI-powered contract intelligence partner recently announced by Icertis – is just one example of how the company is leveraging its proprietary AI, enterprise data, contract data, and its own data lake to enable material value that supports business growth for customers both now and into the future.

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