Linking Contracts and ERP

diCarta launches solution to integrate contract management solution with enterprise resource planning systems

San Carlos, CA  May 7, 2003  Contract management software provider diCarta today released what it said is the first packaged integration solution for major enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

diCarta's Contracts for ERP solution includes the provider's Contracts application, Integration Server and Enterprise Adapters for major ERP systems, including SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle.

Adapters for more than a dozen leading enterprise applications are also included, and the offering includes a graphical integration toolset for creating custom integrations.

"diCarta Contracts for ERP frees paper contracts long locked away in filing cabinets and makes them actionable; ensuring that the transactions in operational systems comply with the terms spelled out in a company's contracts," said Mike Kaul, CEO at diCarta. "The CEOs and [chief financial officers] we work with are excited about having an out-of-the-box solution that drives compliance and profitability."

The solution provider, which recently released version 4 of its flagship contract management offering, says its Contracts solution gives companies the visibility and control they need to eliminate expensive and potentially crippling risk at every stage of the contract lifecycle, from contract creation and negotiation, to obligations management and compliance enforcement, through ongoing analysis.

Andy Kyte, vice president for technology consultancy Gartner, pointed out the apparent disconnect between ERP systems and contract management. "It seems like there is the world as understood by ERP, and the real world where contracts are negotiated and executed," Kyte said. "These worlds have been drifting further and further apart, and a lot of time and money is disappearing into the void between them. To be an effective real-time enterprise, you have to ensure integration of your content-rich systems like contract management with your data-rich systems like ERP."

diCarta asserted that while ERP systems are adept at handling structured information, such as purchase orders and line items, effective contract management requires sophistication in managing the unstructured information and complex terms found in most agreements. The provider said its solution provides structure to contract information, paving the way for operational ERP systems to be systematically driven by actual contract language.

"Contracts and the information they contain drive critical business decisions and processes," said Kaul. "The ability to have actual contracts systematically drive an ERP system and day-to-day operations takes these systems to the next level of compliance and profitability."

The provider said that the advantage of Contracts for ERP is that it enables actionable contracts that enforce contractual commitments across all operational systems, ensuring that day-to-day transactions are compliant with contract terms. This could empower companies to ensure, among other things, that they properly classify and recognize revenue, hold suppliers to their obligations, receive appropriate rebates and discounts, validate invoices and manage draw-downs against volume commitments.

"Making contracts actionable reduces legal and financial risk and lowers purchasing and operational costs through improved compliance," said Kaul. "diCarta Contracts allows companies to systematically enforce the terms of their agreements throughout all of their operational systems."

As for integration, frequently the bane of all things ERP, diCarta asserted that its new offering enables companies to integrate their diCarta contract management solution with other enterprise systems in just hours and days.

The Integration Server provides cross-application process flows, as well as out-of-the-box communications support, data transformation capabilities and transaction integrity and audit capabilities. The solution builds on diCarta's XML framework and includes graphical tools for modeling process flows and mapping diCarta Contracts objects to other enterprise systems.

The Enterprise Adapters offer pre-built connectivity to a spectrum of software applications for leading enterprise systems.

"diCarta for ERP, offers a quick, comprehensive and non-invasive way to insert the intelligence and controls of corporate contracts into ERP systems and operational applications," concluded Kaul. "This makes contracts actionable and takes ERP systems to the next level of compliance and profitability."

For more information on the potential return on investment in contract automation, see the February 13, 2003, iSourceonline article "The Quick Payback from Contract Automation."

For more information on contract management automation, see the article "Digging Out from the Contract Clutter" in the January 2002 issue of iSource Business.

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