The move is another formalised venture into the legal tech space, following KPMG’s high profile partnership with Thomson Reuters’ Marketplace in November last year.
That said, the formal alliance with SirionLabs builds upon an existing relationship and it will also keep working with other CLM companies as well. A KPMG spokesperson told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We are tech agnostic when it comes to clients selecting CLM systems, so [the choice of CLM system] will be based entirely on a client’s requirements. Our Alliance simply means the team can build the technology for clients if they choose to purchase Sirion.’
The KPMG spokesperson added that the Big Four firm also has a similar alliance with Microsoft.
And in terms of how this fits into what KPMG offers already, the firm added: ‘The Legal Operations & Transformation Services Team (LOTS) at KPMG works with all of the major tech providers. Around technology we offer a number of services:
- Help define requirements, run an RFP process and choose most appropriate provider – in this instance we’d be tech agnostic and match against clients’ specific needs.
- We can help with the operating model around the tech – design (looking at processes, roles, controls and reporting) and change management.
- For clients where we have an Alliance we also have solution architects that can [implement] the technology [for the client].’
The KPMG-SirionLabs alliance will help clients ‘drive rapid digitalisation of the complete lifecycle of supplier and customer engagements …. and help our clients deliver a more cohesive enterprise by enabling visibility, alignment and collaboration across major functions including legal, procurement, commercial, sales, delivery, and finance’ the professional services giant said.
SirionLabs was formed in 2012 and now has around 500 staff, with its HQ in Seattle. It works with a number of leading companies such as Vodafone, Unilever, BP and Fujitsu. By coincidence, a few months ago SirionLabs appointed Mark Voytek as Chief Customer Officer. He had previously worked at EY and KPMG.
As is increasingly the case, SirionLabs and other CLM companies, are embracing the benefits of NLP technology to help extract key data from contracts to provide companies with both legal and business insights. This makes the overall CLM proposition more valuable to corporates. Companies such as ContractPodAi, Agiloft, and Parley Pro, are all using NLP tech in some form in conjunction with a range of CLM offerings.
Nicola Brooks, (pictured), Head of Contract Management Transformation for KPMG Law, said: ‘We see Contract Management as a strategic enterprise capability that delivers commercial value. All too often we find that contracting is siloed and an administrative burden on sales, procurement and legal. We challenge leaders to think about contracting in a new way. We’re excited to announce that ‘there is a better way’ to approach managing contracting with our relationship with SirionLabs.’
While Toby Yu, KPMG US’s Contract Management Services Leader, commented: ‘Sirion’s … AI technology offers significant advances. It unlocks our human potential by giving us instant access to critical data, automating non value-added tasks, and driving behaviours that result in better contracting outcomes with your third-party relationships.’
Is this a big deal? When one of the world’s largest professional service providers signs a very public deal with you, then yes, that is a very big brand boost for SirionLabs. The challenge will be the level of uptake. Getting legal teams to put in place a whole new CLM system is not easy. That said, the above noted KPMG LOTS team helping out should improve things.
How does this impact law firms that also offer legal ops / tech consulting? It shows that they will have to keep upping their game to compete with the Big Four, who clearly have decided this is a space they really want to own a large part of. Can law firms compete? Yes. But, it will mean more investment. If you want to go head to head with the Big Four on consulting work then you really need to commit.
In conclusion, Amol Joshi, Chief Revenue Officer, SirionLabs, said: ‘Sirion CLM is uniquely positioned to help enterprises transform into agile, resilient, and cohesive businesses to effectively meet the threats and opportunities of the post-COVID world. As the go-to firm for business consulting, KPMG is the trusted advisor helping organisations navigate this journey to future-proof themselves. We are excited and proud to collaborate with KPMG and bring this unprecedented combination of technology and expertise to our clients.’