2023 in review

2023 in review: Genie is out of the bottle

By Amit Garg

The preceding year witnessed a confluence of remarkable advancements alongside continued uncertainty. On the one hand, the explosive growth of generative AI accelerated digital innovation, effectively ushering in technology’s next chapter. On the other, harsh economic outlook, geopolitical conflict, and other disruptions forced businesses to make tough decisions.

One approach preached over the last many decades is leveraging this time for fundamental transformations – both culturally and digitally. And that is exactly what unfolded as business functions performed daring feats – setting ambitious mandates for Generative AI and building real use cases that have tangible benefits. Even for those of us pushing the boundaries of AI, the shift is palpable. Having worked towards this reality for years, we believe this is a once-in-a-career phenomenon.

The maturing CLM market

Eleven years ago, we first played around with the idea of CLM when we developed a bespoke solution for a client. This idea went on to become a full-scale product called smartContract CLM in 2018 as we recognized the need for better tools to manage contracts. More than a decade later, this need continues to grow aggressively as more and more companies are realizing the cost of gaps in contract management, further exaggerated by uncertainty in the external environment.

This year’s look at the CLM market reveals a significant upturn—probably the best in over a decade—due to an increasingly mature customer base and digital innovation. CLM has now become a cornerstone of the tech stack in organizations and is poised to play a leading role in advancing the journey of digital transformation. Generative AI has been on top of the minds of legal professionals in ways unmatched in other business areas. Given the relatively low tech adoption and prevalence of text generation and reviews as the core tasks, legal departments are uniquely positioned to leverage AI advancements.

Another welcome development (and outcome of a maturing customer base) is increasingly thought-through implementations that set the foundation for long-term success. Not all contracts are created equal, not all companies are at the same place in their digital transformation efforts, and for a dozen other reasons, one-size-fits-all solutions just don’t work for something as complex as contracts. At the end of 2023, companies are looking for solutions that offer flexibility to shape the technology to fit their needs and preferences, rather than the other way around.

What we were upto

In line with the world around us, Generative AI was among our top priorities this year. We intend to leverage the tremendous opportunity that Generative AI provides to create maximum value for our customers.

Since inception, smartContract CLM has been at the forefront of AI innovation, empowering clients across diverse industries, including aviation, pharma, automobile, IT services, and more. With generative AI, we have entered a new era by offering a holistic suite of AI features spanning the complete contract lifecycle. Our product can now help users to automatically identify risks, highlight critical clauses, monitor compliance against benchmarks, and much more with generative AI.

Strategic moves:
Throughout 2023, our entire leadership team participated in the Seed Transformation Program by Stanford Graduate School of Business – a program tailored for companies like ours to help unlock the next level of growth. During the intense program, we looked at our company from different lenses with the most prominent being a customer lens. It enabled us to craft a holistic transformation plan empowering us to scale without compromising on our customer-first DNA.

Besides, 2023 has been a breakout year for partnerships at smartContract CLM. We forged new partnerships, strengthened existing ones, and delivered innovative use cases – all of which helped create meaningful relationships. At the same time, there’s a lot more that we plan to achieve with our partners, by empowering them and collaborating in creative ways.

Key improvements:
Further validating our dedication to customer success, Tata Play and Trend Limited won awards for their CLM prowess at a renowned industry event in India this year. Tata Play was awarded for their continued commitment to achieving excellence with CLM technology while Trent Limited was recognized for showing exceptional vision in implementing CLM.

To ensure we continue creating maximum value for our customers even as we grow rapidly, we have restructured our Customer Support to allow for a seamless experience delivered by smartContract CLM experts. Alongside, we have significantly ramped up our quality control capabilities. We are investing significantly in holistic product testing, covering both functional and non-functional qualities to deliver regression-free and flawless new feature increments.

Following the market need, we have also introduced an internal tool to supercharge implementation through low-code/no-code technology. This change has enabled our implementation teams to ensure the system is being configured in the best possible way. They can now zoom out much earlier in the implementation process and begin to visualize the bigger picture, resulting in extremely sophisticated product delivery.

Looking ahead

As we reflect on the invaluable learnings of this year, they have shaped a more forward-looking approach to our business. The trajectory of technological evolution appears poised for further acceleration, and our commitment to staying at the forefront of this dynamic landscape remains unwavering. We are on a path to scale aggressively, ensuring a broader adoption of CLM technology globally. Centered around customer success, we aim to grow sustainably, making a lasting impact in the market. The journey ahead promises a seamless continuation, marked by advancements and collaborations, all geared toward delivering unparalleled value to our customers.

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