Backed by Azim Premji, ICERTIS is a SaaS unicorn that provides cloud-based solutions for contract management. They mainly provide cloud solutions for the contract management lifecycle. The AI-infused Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform is used by companies like Airbus, Cognizant, Daimler, Microsoft, and Roche to manage 6.5 million contracts in 40+ languages across 90+ countries.
Express Computer gets into a conversation with Monish Darda, CTO, and Co-Founder, Icertis. He shares some valuable insights about the role of technology in the legal sector and the benefit of the software, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.
How do you think technology will transform the legal sector?
Technology has swept into the core of every business, every sector and the legal sector is at the cusp of its transformations. The increasing complexities and changing dynamics are pushing legal professionals to adopt technological advancements and achieve better outcomes. The rapid adoption of AI/ML and cloud is shifting the paradigms of the sector and opening a new wave of opportunities. The accelerated businesses have laid unprecedented demands on corporate legal teams with reconciling, negotiating, and approving contracts in record time. Digitization has started the transformation journey of the legal documents– turning static documents into strategic assets. AI has the potential to bring these digital assets to life and make the rapidly increasing velocity of the business easier to manage. In forward-thinking organizations, AI is already turning physical items into data-driven assets that can interact with people and surrounding business systems such as ERP and CRM – ultimately making contracts an asset rather than a liability.
Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) presents a great opportunity for digital transformation across the legal sector. Contract management software is advancing to the point that legal departments can’t afford to manage contracts outside a CLM system. But legal operations teams should foresee what the technology can do for them not just for now, but also for five years down the lane. While contracts are the single source of truth for this information, many companies have no single system of record to reference to analyze these documents. With digitized enterprise contract management, everyone with proper permissions in a company can see any contract in its repository, breaking down traditional departmental and geographic silos that have historically hampered optimal contract management. Moreover, by harnessing AI, digitized contracts can be analyzed at scale to quickly surface risks and provide a holistic view on contractual relationships in ways that are simply impossible via manual review, thereby addressing complex questions specific to the company and the situation. From the point where we stand today, the technological advancement in the legal sector will enable the professionals to work faster, smarter, and more efficiently, with the visibility and insight to better manage risk and ensure compliance.
Please elaborate on your contract management software?
The Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform is an enterprise contract management software that transforms your commercial foundation and quickly turns contracts into strategic assets. It covers the full lifecycle of contract management capabilities beginning with intelligent contract setup and then continuing with authoring, approvals, negotiations, and all other aspects of ongoing contract operations. Our AI-infused platform unlocks the business value of your contracts to increase revenue, reduce costs, accelerate cash flow and minimize risk.
ICM is used by companies like Airbus, Cognizant, Daimler, Microsoft and Sanofi to manage 6.5 million contracts in 40+ languages across 90+ countries. Today, the analyst-validated industry leader serves 5 of the top 10 most valuable companies, 5 of the top 8 pharmaceutical companies, 4 of the top 7 software companies, 3 of the top 5 manufacturing companies and 4 of the top 8 consulting services companies.
How does your software benefits businesses particularly during this pandemic?
While the COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the businesses on a large scale today, it has also brought to surface the value of properly managing the most important assets of your business – contracts. Contracts have emerged as a critically important business asset that’s required by executives to be able to respond coherently and comprehensively to the disruption caused by the pandemic. In response to the pandemic, enterprises need a streamlined view of their contracts and obligations to fully understand and address the commercial implications from COVID-19. The Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform is empowering companies to achieve enhanced visibility of their assets, mitigate the impact of supply chain disruptions, and develop a roadmap for managing cash flow and risk.
CLM software is proving to be a blessing to seamlessly meet the needs of the businesses at this hour. For example, Icertis has been extending its services to one of India’s technology major, KPIT, to enable seamless contract accessibility in order to continue business as always despite lockdowns. The teams at KPIT, saw an efficient legal functioning and are able to able to access all their contracts, at any time to cater to the needs of the business in these difficult times.
Additionally, Cognizant, a multinational IT Services company, also recently leveraged ICM to better “understand the scale of the pandemic”. With all of their customer-facing contracts in one place, teams at Cognizant can dynamically search contracts for key words and phrases which in turn help them to acknowledge the magnitude of the pandemic on their operations and make informed and timely decisions to focus on mitigation efforts much more effectively.
We’re even seeing contract management solutions play a supporting role in the acceleration of COVID treatments and vaccine development as they enable pharmaceutical companies to onboard vendors, partners, and trial participants quickly and with confidence that their contracts are properly managing risk.
What technologies are you using? How is Icertis managing work from home?
At Icertis, we are leveraging technologies like AI, Cloud, Blockchain to ease our process and optimise our operations to be prepared for the crisis. Initially, we had to prepare the business and the workforce for the sudden remote working situation and align our business continuity plans accordingly. We were looking to have adequate bandwidth across different areas and high bandwidth for workloads like our source code control system. We deployed the Microsoft Azure infrastructure to manage safe and risk-free remote working. We enabled Azure Virtual Desktop Infrastructure with Point-to-Site VPN for everyone and switched fully to Microsoft Teams. This empowered our more than 1000 workforce with more than 400 engineers to seamlessly adapt to remote working and deliver high performance. This approach helped us, our customers and our employees to maintain the continuity and combat the crisis.
Are you using Blockchain, since immutability is a must-have for any contract to run its course?
Icertis is everyday moving toward expanding its portfolio and providing our customers with the best of our ability. With the Icertis Blockchain Framework, companies can seamlessly deploy innovative contract solutions based on permissioned, standards-based blockchains. Our customers are leveraging third-generation distributed ledger technology to address real-world business challenges, such as ensuring sustainability across global supply chains, maintaining compliance with complex supplier diversity programs, or even making true outcome-based pricing a reality.
We are working with customers on solutions that will allow them to utilize smart contracts that use a consortium blockchain to create an immutable ledger of transactions. This ensures tracking of commitments across a consortium of suppliers, enabling a new level of commercial collaboration, visibility, and accountability. To ensure sensitive information is not exposed, visibility of contracts in the chain are restricted based on privileges that allow only contracting parties to see their contract, preserving the sanctity of the supply chain.
What makes ICERTIS unique from its competitors?
At Icertis we believe in our approach of FORTE- Fairness, Openness, Respect, Teamwork, Execution, and hence we aim to unlock the full business value of the contracts for our customers. Our platform is the clear leader when it comes to contracts with flexible, powerful tools and features that can help every department involved in any contracting across the enterprise. The ICM platform is easy, intelligent and enterprise-wide, meaning it can be adapted to suit any business and every user. With intelligent workflow and built-in analytics, ICM provides ongoing contractual insights and best-of-breed contract management. Our Business Applications help customers address specific business requirements and maximize the value of their investment in the Icertis platform.
Our platform’s ability to bring AI and blockchain together to solve some of the most intractable governance and compliance problems makes it unique. We are also consistently innovating our core platform and releasing new capabilities to stay ahead of the curve.
How important do you think relying on technology has become for the world?
Throughout the world, there is increasing adoption of exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT). This mainstream adoption of exponential technologies is transforming the way businesses are managed and also creating new sources of revenue and new business models. Not only businesses, but technological solutions are shaping up almost all spheres of our lives. It’s making communication, traveling, work and studies more effective and productive.
Taking the example of the current COVID crisis – People and communities have moved to remote working and homeschooling, while businesses across all industries are now forced to innovate and digitally transform on an unprecedented level to ensure continuity. Governments and healthcare authorities are relying on cloud to continue to operate as well as track the spread of the disease, monitor outbreaks, and develop vaccines. The world has seen its largest-ever transition to virtual work, where technology is helping millions stay connected, collaborate, and be safe.
It is safe to say that technology-based tools are increasingly becoming more and more important to the world.
What do your immediate milestones look like? Will there be any updates?
Our most immediate goal is to enable our business, our employees, our customers, and our community. The times are difficult, and we are working tirelessly to empower everyone to walk towards a brighter future with Icertis. We are extending all possible support to our customers, partners, employees as well as our community. The CLM market is massive and growing rapidly with a total addressable market (TAM) of over $20 billion, with SaaS CLM growing at a 31% compound annual growth rate. All of these factors have contributed to us growing at 125% CAGR over the past 4 years or so and becoming the first Contract Lifecycle Management company in the world to be valued at north of a billion dollars. We are hoping for continued growth in the future as well.
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