Finding a solution to what keeps CFO’s up at night might seem an impossible quest given today’s climate, but it’s one which Seal Software might just have the answer to. In the tangled world of contracts, Seal aims to represent the “single source of truth”. Curious to find out what that meant, APN sought out their VP Contract Strategy, Lloyd Alexander at eWorld in Westminster last month.
Lloyd explained that a global business needs to have instant access to their contracts, wherever they sit in the world, at any time and be confident that they contain the most up to date information. He went on to say that companies without codified contracts often flounder when an unexpected market event or disaster strikes, or when employees leave, taking their knowledge with them.
And this is where Seal comes in. The software has the ability to take all existing contracts and process them, using a series of algorithms so that they’re easily classified and searchable. This means that if you are an organisation with centres in 5 different locations worldwide, you can have immediate access to the information you need. As Lloyd explains, it’s essentially about putting the power back into the hands of those who need accurate information to form strategic decisions for the business.
On top of that, the deep value comes from being able to drill down into the contracts, and not just for procurement and finance, the same value could just as easily be uncovered for legal or HR. The software is able to extract over 50 key contractual terms and report against them, with the additional opportunity for machine learning too, so customers can refine policies that suit the business – say on contractual terms or clause combinations for example.
A contract will start life as a single document, where perhaps 10 or so different copies are made and distributed, some of which are subsequently updated. The end result is often fragmented data sitting in myriad systems with elements owned by different business centres, but lacking a complete enterprise view. To be able to create that manually can take weeks and even months, and even then there’s no guarantee that all the information is complete. It’s not hard to see that a business that has reporting capability across the different interested entities – legal sales, finance, procurement etc is going to be able to make informed decisions faster – incredibly important for any organisation, but particularly so if you’re a publically listed company.
Being able to accurately assess and forecast risk is business critical and the software lends itself well to the increasingly compliance led environment. So it’s no surprise that Seal lists a number of financial services clients among their customers. Financial services are hit with new regulatory requirements on a monthly basis and Lloyd highlighted a company in the US who had to review the same set of contracts 8 times as new requirements were implemented. In the manual environment they were in, the sudden increased workload meant that the workforce had to move away from their existing tasks, leading to inefficiency and increased costs. And if you scale that upwards, and you’re an organisation involved in a merger and acquisition or divestiture, accurate information and assessment of risk is imperative.
Give a CPO or a CFO a tool which can minimise risk, in a format which makes sense and a UI which is easy to use, you’ll go a long way towards banishing any lingering night terrors.