In the lead, up to the Christmas break, Enterprise Times spoke to Simon Patteson, Vice President Sales EMEA at Icertis. He is responsible for sales across the UK, Ireland and the Nordics market and has a wider role with involvement in Marketing and is also looking for a new office location in central London.
“Contract Lifecycle Management to us is about how you can digitise, analyse and realise the intent of every agreement. This is super important because contracts are complicated; they are unstructured and govern every business transaction. Frankly, they’re very rarely managed well in an organisation. They are put in a filing cabinet and left there after a negotiation.”
On the market
What are your routes to market?
“At present, we sell our subscription service directly to customers. We have partners to help implement, a who’s who of SIs. We also have fantastic partnerships with Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce. They’re also a marketing and sales channel, and help us with delivery. Our solution sits on the Microsoft Azure platform, so although our route is direct, we are in an amazing place with support in the broader ecosystem.”
Talking of SI’s, Accenture recently announced it had extended its partnership with Icertis. What does that mean for EMEA?
“Accenture is a fantastic brand. They started as a customer, which is a great way to start a partnership. They know how the solution works internally. We expect that they’re going to be able to help us to expand our delivery capability. In this hot market, we need people that are experts and fully invested in ensuring our customer success, making sure that our customers are getting the outcomes they’re after.
“On top of that, we’ve got a huge brand helping us expand our reach—naturally sales and marketing partnerships. A really exciting partnership, we have many, but this is a fantastic expansion with Accenture.”
How do you see the competitive market evolving in 2021?
“The competitive market is interesting because more players are coming on board. My hope for that is it just helps to create more awareness. I welcome it. Overall, no one has the breadth of capability, particularly at the enterprise level that we do, and that’s absolutely where we’re targeting.
“Customers will get the best value out of CLM generally, and certainly with Icertis if they’re thinking about the end goal of having a single digital repository that can interact with all of those systems, buy-side, sell-side, corporate contracts, HR, etc..“
What did you achieve in 2021?
“We’ve built an amazing team. We’ve grown like crazy in my region, and we’re looking to go into next year with a fantastic team. In addition to that, we grew over 60% in our first half as an organisation.
“Our growth in employees globally is around 30%. Our success and ambition in this region are far greater than that. We are substantially above our global trends. In the UK and Europe, it’s been a little bit slower to adopt this type of technology, but the demand is amazing.”
What do you hope to achieve in 2022?
“The message that we are getting out there is starting to be heard more and more. If you haven’t digitised contracts, you haven’t really digitised your operations. We want to ensure that the true value of what Contract Lifecycle Management can bring is understood. If we achieve that, then our growth will be substantial.
“We know that the global market size is over $20 billion, growing at 30% per annum. In many respects, that number is based on the more traditional thinking of Contract Lifecycle Management. Instead, we see ourselves fit in this intelligence space and take it a step further, being integral and integrated into all operating systems and business transactions.
“If this is fully understood, then we’re really more like a BI or middleware, a far more business layered version of that, with access to unstructured data through the system. The potential is enormous for reducing revenue leakage, reduction in penalties, operating cost efficiencies, and alignment to sustainability objectives. That’s what we can achieve in this market.”
You launched the first vertical solutions this year. I’ve seen companies like Seal Software do that before their acquisition by Docusign. What’s coming up next?
“Yes, we’ve launched our vertical solutions. This comes from our confidence after ten years in business and our experience in each of these industries. We’ve looked at the industries where we feel we’ve already very strong knowledge of predefined workflows, some configurations elements, accelerating our AI capabilities, etc., and reporting.
“We started in CPG, distribution, healthcare, IT professional services, lifestyle technology. We’re going to continue to expand that. Healthcare is more of a US-centric approach. Financial services will be a fantastic next step for us as well in the coming months.”
Where are you getting the most traction for these solutions?
“The most traction is in professional services and life sciences. We’ve also had some fantastic distribution as well, this year in Europe.”
Icertis raised $80 million in March with a valuation of $2.8 billion. How has that made a difference?
“Financially, we’re not restricted. We can expand headcount and invest in marketing. It also drives our innovation where we’re investing a lot. We’re probably investing more in R&D than most of our competitors have in total revenue in this space. We’re pushing hard.”
What are your challenges?
“My challenge is all about the team. We’re onboarding new staff. We want to make sure that we keep the right culture and morale. I’m somebody who focuses on quite an open culture. I want people to feel comfortable, add ideas, and be listened to.
“I’m not a very hierarchical person. I’m not involved in product development, where this is also important. (For me) it is approaches to the market, ways of explaining our value proposition and how to more.”
Can you identify prospects by the challenges they face? And what are those challenges typically?
“There are two parts to that. It’s Icertis being a fit and just generally needing to do something within this space. I’d say there’s just such enormous change going on right now across the market. You can think of the supply side with labour shortages and automotive or semiconductor shortages. It’s very challenging. You have the impact of the pandemic and Brexit. You have changing regulations. That’s how we can help.
“When there’s change, there’s invariably going to be an impact to your relationships with suppliers and customers, and an agreement or contract governs that. How you can search through those existing contracts or really quickly accelerate a new relationship will be impacted by your contracting. Once you’ve agreed that, ensuring that you’re measuring its success and adapting quickly, it has to be managed for the contract. Change complexity is where we need to look.”
Those changes could include sustainability, environmental and data privacy. There are all substantial but not always in an agreement. Patteson added, “Managing those risks and preventing damage to reputation ahead of signing a contract is going to save so much more money than if you have to deal with these things in the future.”
The book question
What was the latest book you read, and what was your take out from it?
“I’m reading the final chapter of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ( by Stieg Larsson – Amazon Aus, UK, US). It’s been an entertaining read. I’m not sure that I have a take out from it, but it’s been a nice diversion from the intense days of 30-minute video conference calls?”