Contract lifecycle management: its time has come

This blog was authored by Colin Masson, Director, Manufacturing Industry Solutions, Microsoft Cloud & Enterprise Group

People around the world regularly use one invention without realizing it faced huge criticism in its infancy: the light bulb. Despite being one of the most paradigm-altering inventions, the light bulb was criticized by scientist Henry Morton of the Stevens Institute of Technology to be “a conspicuous failure”[1]. Locked into the thinking of his time, Henry could not imagine how the world might change with a readily-available light. Truly paradigm-altering inventions are often so outside the realm of imagination, that their application is beyond the grasp of the establishment.  

Just as the light bulb opened a new world of possibilities, digitization is revolutionizing business relationships across industries. Manufacturing is no exception. Manufacturers must juggle new offerings—made-to-order products, products as a service, business outcomes as a service—all while delivering faster turnarounds for clients and juggling more suppliers and SLAs. Due to these new expectations, contracts are increasing in complexity every day and posing an increasing management challenge for manufacturers 

Two recent reports from Gartner and Forrester illustrate how the cloud is changing contract management, what companies are trying to do to make contract management easier, and who is leading the pack. 

Gartner says it’s time for ERPs to become “Postmodern   

In a recent report on the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market[2], Gartner acknowledged the shift to the cloud is fundamentally changing the way people think about supporting business processes. Up until this point, most companies have shopped for an all-encompassing ERP solution in an effort to drive consistency. Today, businesses are moving to modular cloud applications because they are easy to deploy and adapt over time. This doesn’t mean that large ERP solutions will completely disappear, but they are likely to evolve toward this cloud-based modular approach going forward.  

This shift should cause any manufacturer with a traditional ERP system to pause and reconsider if their ERP solution helps drive the right business outcomes. For most manufacturers, a CLM solution might be the perfect bridge between their current needs and digital transformation roadmap. For those who are looking to transform their contract management approach, Gartner cited the Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform as a solution to consider. ICM is the current industry leader, delivering an enterprise-wide product that is shaping the new “postmodern ERP” market[3]. 

Forrester helps manufacturers navigate the CLM space 

Forrester’s 2016 report, The Forrester Wave™: Contract Life-Cycle Management, examines and compares the top CLM vendors. The vendors were evaluated on the 5 key value functions CLM solutions provide 

  1. Accessibility of contracts for those who need them through an online repository. The resulting collaboration streamlines the process by decreasing rework and errors.  
  2. Visibility into reports and analysis that provide a complete overview of the contract portfolio. This then surfaces contract insights without all the digging 
  3. Empower users to create the right contract with solid legal controls. This enables more efficient drafting of contracts when all the correct legal language is already incorporated.  
  4. Integrate contract data to transaction systems, to support buy and sell-side commercial processes 
  5. Improve contract terms and the overall contracting process through contract optimization to make the overall contracting process as efficient as possible.

With these 5 key functions, manufacturers could save themselves time and money throughout the contracting process. 

Of all the solutions Forrester examined, they concluded that Icertis offers one of the best CLM products” on the market[4]. Icertis was the only vendor to score a perfect 5 in both the product strategy category and customer support category. Customers gave Icertis high rankings for configurability, workflow management, and integration with Microsoft Azure. Forrester summarizes the review by saying, Icertis CLM makes the most sense for large enterprise clients that are looking for an adaptable, standalone contract platform for all contracts.”[5] With the shift in manufacturing toward reliance on flexible new approaches, there is no better time for businesses to incorporate a robust CLM solution.  

Why Icertis is the right choice for the digital transformation 

Icertis is the leading enterprise contract management solution in the cloud that is helping manufacturers accelerate their digital transformation. The solution was designed from the ground up to address complex contract management challenges while prioritizing ease of use and adoption. This is one reason why Icertis is trusted by market-leading firms such as Microsoft, Daimler, and 3M to handle their contracts. Now that you have seen the possibilities, try Icertis, built on Microsoft cloud, today on Microsoft Appsource and experience what a robust CLM solution can do. 


[1] https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/articles/10-inventions-no-one-thought-would-be-a-success/

[2] Robert Anderson, Hai Hong Swinehart, Adam Woodyer, Chad Eschinger, Nigel Montgomery, Chris Pang, John Kostoulas, Market Opportunity Map: Enterprise Resource Planning, Worldwide, Gartner, December 23, 2016

[3] Robert Anderson, Hai Hong Swinehart, Adam Woodyer, Chad Eschinger, Nigel Montgomery, Chris Pang, John Kostoulas, Market Opportunity Map: Enterprise Resource Planning, Worldwide, Gartner, December 23, 2016

[4] Andrew Bartels and Charlotte Wang, The Forrester Wave™: Contract Life-Cycle Management, Q3 2016, Forrester, July 26, 2016

[5] Andrew Bartels and Charlotte Wang, The Forrester Wave™: Contract Life-Cycle Management, Q3 2016, Forrester, July 26, 2016