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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Ulf Zetterberg, CEO of Seal Software (Part 2)

Posted on Thursday, Sep 4th 2014

Sramana Mitra: Let’s put this in an ecosystem map. The contract management part of the business has quite a bit of activity. One that comes to mind is Aptus.

Ulf Zetterberg: They ride on the wave of Salesforce. Contracting has typically been driven by different departments. There hasn’t been any system for enterprise contract lifecycle management. Customers want to have one single system that they could use, but it never happens. Procurement tends to use its own system that is very much driven out of a supply or procurement system. You have contracting as a function there. Sales side usually is the back-end of the CRM system.

These two are never connected. When you want to search across enterprise for specific relationships, you have to go through a minimum of two repositories. Sometimes, they fix one of the problems. Sales side is the burning issue and they have a highly focused approach. Aptus is clearly successful adopting the usability of Salesforce. They sell into the Salesforce platform primarily. That’s their market play.

Sramana Mitra: You’re not doing Aptus contract management system. You’re doing a specific play for that?

Ulf Zetterberg: When a customer decides to put in a contract management system, they try to collect all the old contracts and try to find them. We discover them in that case. We have the customer find all the contracts and reformat everything in a usable format, because most of contracts in a lot of enterprises are image files that can’t be read or understood by an application. We reformat everything to be usable and we also extract the key metadata. We have pre-built rules. We can find renewal days, termination days, jurisdictions, etc. Based on that, we can populate the contract management system.

Another challenge for customers is that many customers do not author all the contracts, which means that once you accept somebody else’s paper, that’s like a third-party paper. There hasn’t been any method on how to take those contracts, which once again come as a PDF file or image file, and ingest them. That means that most companies can operate with part of the contracts in the system, but majority of the contracts are not searchable because they reside in file shares, PCs, or printed copies, and have not been authored by the customer. We round out their system and increase adaptability and speed of deployment as well as completeness by being able to track down third-party papers.

Sramana Mitra: On that vein, let’s take a couple of your customers and walk us through the workflow of how this is done.

Ulf Zetterberg: Initially, the customers know roughly where most of the contracts reside. We start with the discovery process. There can be known repositories. They know that some of the contracts sit in repository A, and it can also be in file shares. In most cases, the customers want us to do an audit to make sure that they collect all the contracts. We usually start the discovery process to grab all the contracts. After that, we can process the contracts and get them into a standard format. Once again, get rid of image files and make everything readable. As a part of that, we also extract the key metadata, which is the information that the customer wants to have around the contracts to make it easy to search and use them, or even populate other systems besides the contract management system. We extract that.

For customers with customization needs, we can also do specific metadata extraction as per their needs. Once that’s done, we ingest it to the application that’s going to manage the contract. Customers use Seal on an on-going basis for this discovery process, to take care of all the third-party contracts coming in, and to make sure everything gets captured and managed in the same way.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Ulf Zetterberg, CEO of Seal Software
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