Sirion is a global leader in Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software and the company’s end-to-end enterprise-grade CLM solution drives digital transformation across the entire enterprise. Sirion’s AI-driven CLM technology is trusted by some of the world’s most successful organizations to manage over 5 million contracts worth over $450 billion across 70+ countries. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Sirion co-founder and president Kanti Prabha.
Formation Of Sirion
After completing a master’s degree from IIT Bombay, Prabha joined Evalueserve where she led and trained a team of professionals in patent services. “But it was during my stint developing techno-legal solutions for large enterprises at UnitedLex that I met Ajay, who at the time was planning to build an innovative contract lifecycle management (CLM) startup. After a few years of working together, Ajay asked me to join him in launching Sirion, and I was interested,” said Prabha. “Our first customer, Hewlett-Packard, had just been through a large acquisition and wanted us to find a technological solution to storing thousands of contracts in one place. We developed our own platform to solve this problem, creating a centralized contract repository for HP. The experience of working on this project helped us see that a repository was only the beginning of a much larger solution to a lot of problems that enterprises face. This common belief inspired us to build Sirion, a full-stack CLM solution that was not only capable of storing contracts but could also help enterprises create contracts, negotiate better terms, and harness the full value of each agreement they sign.”
What are some of the challenges Prabha faced in building the company? Prabha acknowledged:
I think, right off the bat, one of the biggest headwinds we faced was changing the way enterprises looked at CLMs. This was a time when CLMs were limited to having a repository with document management capabilities, primarily catering to the legal department. But we were quick to realize the applicability of a CLM outside of the legal use case. What we were building was an enterprise-wide AI-enabled solution that would enable teams like procurement, sales, and finance to leverage the data stored in contracts to drive greater value, even after a contract has been executed.
We wanted to build a complete solution for every customer, and every department, that could potentially benefit from a CLM as opposed to what the enterprise expected out of a CLM. This, obviously, was a difficult thing to achieve. We were not simply proposing a change in the concept of CLMs. Customers had to be trained in CLM best practices and the broader definition and application of CLM that we were evangelizing.
Finally, to truly build such a CLM, we had to ensure that the AI that powered it was capable of scaling to meet customer needs – after all, the core objective of the solution was to enable growth for our customers through contract management. This was more of a technological hurdle: we did not want to create something based on conditional rules and robotic processes. From the very beginning, the intent was to build a true AI engine, powered by deep learning and machine learning models, that would grow organically and cater to virtually any use case that could be catered to using contracts.
What are Sirion’s core products and features? Prabha explained:
Sirion is a full lifecycle CLM solution. This means that for any given contract, Sirion helps with drafting, negotiations, execution, managing performance, and renewal, where the process starts again. The product’s features can broadly be classified into pre-signature and post-signature.
In pre-signature, Sirion provides several features that multi-language extraction of contracts and contract data from legacy enterprise systems, centralized contracts repository, automated redlining, collaborative editor tool, risk analytics, and e-signature. The goal of pre-signature is to simplify how legal, procurement, finance, sales, and other enterprise teams can collaboratively author, negotiate, and sign compliant contracts with embedded risk control while leveraging AI-led contract intelligence at every step of the process.
Post-signature, on the other hand, is where Sirion’s capabilities extend beyond the scope of most contemporary CLM tools. Once a contract has been signed, Sirion offers the tools needed for a business to gauge how well each contract is performing. It integrates with external IT systems to extract performance data to flag unmet contractual obligations, identify remedial measures, and use this contract performance intelligence to manage spend and drive incrementally stronger, more accurate contracts every time.
Evolution Of Sirion’s Technology
How has Sirion’s technology evolved since launching? Prabha replied:
The engagement with HP had been a learning experience for us. We realized there was a gap in the traditional approach to building a CLM tool. So very early on, Sirion invested in building extensive performance management capabilities. The idea was simple – using performance data from external systems to automate obligation compliance and service level fulfillment monitoring. This performance data, when mapped back to contracted rate cards, would translate to validating supplier invoices to identify discrepancies and subsequent hard dollar savings.
Over the years, Sirion has grown into a complete end-to-end CLM solution that has equally strong capabilities in the pre-signature process. We’ve developed a strong AI engine that has been trained on data from millions of contracts. This is a core component of Sirion CLM. It can analyze contracts in multiple languages to find hidden risks and legal blind spots and strengthen the contracting process.
The recently launched automated redlining feature takes this ability one step further, using natural language understanding to identify biases and deviations from standard positions and suggesting replacement clauses that are appropriate from a legal context. What sets Sirion’s AI apart is that it can do this independently, without a playbook or a set of conditional rules to guide it, getting more accurate with every contract it works on.
This approach has seen Sirion emerge as a pioneer in full lifecycle contract performance monitoring and be recognized by analysts like Gartner, Spend Matters, IDC, and Forrester as a leader in the CLM domain.
What have been some of Sirion’s most significant milestones? Prabha noted the following:
— Most recently, Gartner named Sirion a leader for the full lifecycle CLM use case in their 2022 Critical Capabilities report for CLM and recognized us as a Customer’s Choice company in 2023. We were also recently named a Leader in the 2023 IDC MarketScape for Buy-Side Contract Lifecycle Management.
— Awards and funding aside, we acquired Zendoc in November 2022. The acquisition helped us set up a UX center of excellence (CoE) in Nice, France.
Customer Specific Stories
Upon asking Prabha about customer success stories, she cited EY. “As customers move up the CLM maturity curve, they discover that the benefits of our platform extend far beyond merely streamlining approval workflows to include auto-extraction and collaborative performance management,” Prabha highlighted. “For example, within six months of implementing Sirion’s platform, EY was able to identify millions of dollars of invoice leakage. Sirion also helped Qantas to identify millions of dollars in invoice discrepancies and performance credits during the pandemic when airlines worldwide were hugely affected. This enabled them to build on their relationships with strategic suppliers while simultaneously managing spend.”
The company raised an $85 million dollar Series D funding round led by Partners Group in May 2022. And in January, that round was extended with an investment from Brookfield Growth, bringing the total value of the Series D funding to $110 million.
Total Addressable Market
What is the total addressable market (TAM) size that Sirion is pursuing? “The TAM for CLM is expected to reach $30 billion by 2026,” Prabha assessed.
Differentiation From The Competition
What differentiates Sirion from its competition? “What sets Sirion apart from other CLM players is our contract performance management capabilities,” Prabha revealed. “Moreover, our deep AI capabilities allow enterprises to enable self-service contracting. This, in turn, helps non-legal business teams to generate contracts within minutes. This feature has led to an effective reduction in the first draft turnaround time by up to 90%. Sirion AI is also capable of offering risk scores based on clause-level comparison to simplify the negotiation phase of a contract.”
Future Company Goals
What are some of Sirion’s future company goals? “Currently, one of the most exciting milestones on the horizon is our AI R&D Center of Excellence in North America. The objective is to combine the expertise and niche cognitive capabilities of Legal AI with the natural language processing power of large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT,” Prabha concluded. “LLMs and their natural language processing capabilities are the new buzz when it comes to generating contract drafts or reviewing contracts. But from where we stand today, LLMs are not there yet. They are not capable of preserving the legal context when creating or redlining contracts. That’s where Legal AI steps in, providing the subject matter expertise required for the contracting process. Bringing these together will pave the way for autonomous, fully computable contracting.”