Information Services Group (ISG) a Nasdaq-listed technology research and advisory giant with revenues of $0.28 billion, has acquired automated contracting solution Agreemint in another example of ‘Big Tech’ moving into legal tech.
Agreemint was founded in 2018 and helps ‘procurement and legal teams transform the speed of how they create and negotiate contracts using a combination of drag and drop ease, smart redlining, and pattern capturing AI’. They even have a US patent related to this.
Although this is a relatively small company, with just five staff listed on LinkedIn, the acquisition of the contracting capability by ISG is noteworthy, and follows other moves such as DocuSign expanding into the CLM and doc analysis fields; Google developing doc AI capabilities for legal; and also ServiceNow expanding its workflow offering to inhouse legal teams.
In short, Big Tech is getting seriously interested in legal tech. In this case it’s contracting software, and ISG, which provides both advisory services, rather like Accenture, and also some of its own software solutions, is looking to provide a better contracting offering to its corporate clients….which inevitably means bumping up against legal tech companies.
They say of themselves: ‘As the global leader in sourcing advisory, we know how to orchestrate solutions that accelerate growth. We have advised on more than half a trillion dollars of technology, business process and digital sourcing transactions.
‘Our SaaS-based GovernX platform has been one of our fastest-growing areas over the last two years, especially as large organizations seek to control costs and mitigate risk from their ever- expanding supplier ecosystems.’
They explained that the deal is about taking the contracting platform and linking it with ISG’s GovernX vendor compliance and risk management solution, where it ‘will be used by ISG to add value to future platform solutions now in development’. I.e. there is still more to come…
Michael Connors, chairman and CEO of ISG, commented: ‘Our SaaS-based GovernX platform has been one of our fastest-growing areas over the last two years, especially as large organizations seek to control costs and mitigate risk from their ever- expanding supplier ecosystems. Our acquisition of Agreemint creates the ultimate platform for enterprises to accelerate time to contract, keeping pace with their speed of technology adoption and partnership formation.’
The acquisition, Connors added, is part of ISG’s overall strategy to ‘develop or acquire innovative SaaS-based platforms to complement its advisory business, bring more value to clients, and achieve consistent, double-digit recurring revenue growth’. So, perhaps there could be more legal tech deals as well in the future for ISG?
As for Agreemint, it delivers automated contract authoring through a repository of legal positions to accelerate speed to contract. ‘Its patented AI-powered smart functionality enables clients to negotiate better contracts by suggesting language proven to be legally compliant, governable and agreeable to both parties based upon analysis of previous contracting efforts. The software also anticipates language sticking points and includes a clause library that proposes pre-approved clause alternatives,’ they said.
ISG knew the company already as it has partnered with Agreemint since 2021 on solutions for ‘several blue-chip ISG clients’, they said.
Agreemint founder Peter Graham, who is joining ISG in an executive role, concluded: ‘Getting to ‘yes’ on a contract faster and more efficiently is what Agreemint is all about. Agreemint’s AI-powered negotiating and contracting tools, coupled with GovernX’s extensive vendor compliance and risk management capabilities, makes GovernX the most complete solution for contract lifecycle management on the market today.’
Is this a big deal? Not in terms of the deal amount, which was likely not massive. But it’s the bigger picture here that matters. Very large tech companies, including ones that are centred around corporate IT advisory work, don’t necessarily think in terms of legal tech. They see corporate clients, they see sales and procurement teams, they see CFOs, and they see contracts as business documents first, legal material second.
But, they’ve been working their way across the enterprise and now they are here – at legal’s front door, or at least the side door….
As noted above, more large tech companies are inevitably finding that if you want to discover parts of the market to improve with enterprise software then legal and contracting is one of the last areas where you can really still make a big difference.
If this trend continues it suggests that traditional ‘legal tech’ companies will be increasingly competing with ‘Big Tech’, at least on the inhouse side of the equation, and especially around contracting needs.
And that raises the next question: what will be the next target for a Big Tech acquisition? We shall see, but there is certainly a market trend emerging here.