When thinking of markets on the cusp of disruption, legal tech — and especially contract lifecycle management — is not likely what comes to mind. But it should, and here’s why: Contracts are the heart and soul of commerce and business relationships. When the very nature of how businesses buy, sell, partner, hire, innovate, and facilitate growth changes, the language and mechanism for these activities must change too. Introducing The Forrester Wave™: Contract Lifecycle Management, Q2 2023, where we evaluated the most significant 13 vendors in this space.

Three Ways This CLM Wave Differs From Prior Art

If this latest contract lifecycle management (CLM) Wave looks different than those of years past, it’s because it is in several respects:

  1. It’s the product of two Wave evaluations in one. Historically, Forrester has published two individual Wave reports: one for buy-side CLM and a separate one for all-contracts CLM, both last published in 2021. Back then, this made sense because not all organizations had both sell-side use cases and buy-side use cases (buy-side contracts primarily support the needs of the procurement organization). Those that did require multiple contract types often preferred best-of-breed products that catered to the unique needs of users, whether they be legal, sales, or procurement. Today, we’re in a different business, economic, and digitalization environment where more organizations are leaning toward an enterprise approach to contract management. This year’s CLM Wave report acknowledges this shift and evaluates vendors on their ability to support an enterprisewide implementation.
  2. It leans into the speed of innovation and business agility. I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight how everything about doing business is different today than it was two years ago. Organizations and their technology executives have embraced digitization — some willingly, others out of necessity for resilience in the face of one crisis after another. The same is true for the need to quickly adapt and pivot the language and process of contracting in response to new economic factors, new regulatory requirements, and new technologies that offer unprecedented value but come with additional risk.
  3. Everyone is having to do more with less, including CLM pros. At some point in the future, we might look back and make sense of the economic roller coaster of 2023. In the meantime, budgets are leaner, and there’s more tech consolidation on the horizon. Businesses are still prioritizing the shift to digital, especially for legal tech, but budget cuts mean that leaders need to be more mindful about maximizing spending and not acquiring technologies with overlapping capabilities. Forrester clients are increasingly looking to standardize CLM on a single platform, and this report reflects that shift.

Use The Graphic, But Dig Into The Data

It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but to sum up nearly five months of research, including product demos, executive briefings, written responses, and customer reference feedback, in a single graphic would be an oversimplification of how far this market has come. This report highlights the most significant 13 vendors that offer a product in the CLM space and deserves contextual consideration. Read the full report for more details on selecting a CLM vendor. Also, schedule an inquiry with me for deeper insights into this market, to discuss your CLM program, or to get additional details about the process or findings from this research.