Recently Apttus announced its acquisition of Conga for $715 million. These are two of the largest players in Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) combining forces to, as they say, “create the leader in digital transformation for commercial operations.” This translates as both companies seeing a great opportunity in the sell side use cases for contracting. In addition, with both of them having a strong emphasis on Salesforce integration, this allows them to more easily rationalize their product offerings.
Looking at the other activity in this space, one can point to quite a few other transactions. For example, Coupa taking on Exari for $215 million or Docusign taking on SpringCM for $220 million and Seal for $188 million. Why is consolidation happening and what does it mean?
From Akorda’s perspective, it means there is still a big problem to be solved in contracting for all enterprises. Furthermore, we see needs coming from Sales, Procurement, and Legal. And depending on what a big CLM player is focusing on, we see the resulting acquisitions helping them fill gaps and provide more functionality across the CLM spectrum.
Working in CLM we see how broad the requirements can be for CLM solutions, so this consolidation makes sense to us. But it’s not only CLM pure play vendors who will need these kinds of functions. Vendors in related areas selling to these constituencies are seeing an opportunity to extend into the contract space as well. As clients ask for more integrated solutions, non-CLM vendors will continue to move into the contracting space. CLM is hot because every company uses contracts and the more successful a company is, the bigger the contracting problem becomes. Thankfully, their budgets become bigger too.
The one thing we see missing is Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Most of these acquisitions and most of the CLM offerings on the market lack any real AI functionality. If there is some, it’s far overhyped without any proof points to show it at work. Of course, this is understandable. As the market matures and as the basic building blocks are in place, more advanced functionalities take time to come to market.
Thankfully, we have been forging ahead with real and practical implications of AI that help Sales, Procurement and Legal. Like we did at Recommind, a prior company we founded, we are again using AI in a very real way to help people be more productive. Akorda allows for the streamlining and automation of the contracting process across the entire lifecycle. It allows people to do a whole lot more with less, rather than giving users more work to do, a common byproduct of deploying legacy CLM solutions.
If you want to learn more about how Akorda is using AI to supercharge the contracting process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at AI@akorda.com. Seeing how it works can help you understand what AI really is and how it can transform your business. And if you just bought an expensive CLM and are wondering where you begin, feel free to contact us too. Our rapid analysis of executed contracts can get you up and running with data-driven templates and playbooks in hours, not months.