Icertis vs Ironclad vs Zycus iContract – Choosing A CLM Vendor

Icertis vs Ironclad vs Zycus iContract – Choosing A CLM Vendor

Selecting a contract lifecycle management (CLM) vendor for a company is a crucial decision that can have a profound impact on the organization's operations and overall success. As such, it is imperative that companies invest the necessary time and resources to thoroughly evaluate potential vendors and select the one that best suits their specific needs.

With a plethora of vendors to choose from, the selection process can seem daunting. In this article, we will compare three of the top CLM vendors, namely, Icertis, Ironclad and Zycus iContract to simplify this process and go into depth about what kind of unique contracting needs each of them are best catered to serve.


Icertis vs ironclad vs Zycus iContract – Core Offerings, Features and Integrations

Icertis’ core offering is the Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform, which is a cloud-based software that automates and streamlines contract management processes. The ICM platform helps along with all aspects of contract management, from authoring and negotiation to execution and compliance.

  • What stands out is that the platform is designed to be highly customizable to the specific needs of different industries, such as healthcare, finance, and construction. They serve unique use-cases by customizing their core code base for individual clients.
  • Icertis has built-in integrations with leading vendors of sell-side solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce and buy-side solutions such as Coupa Software and SAP Ariba. Additionally, it also integrates with Workday.

Along similar lines, Ironclad is also an end-to-end CLM cloud-based software with their main offering comprising of standard modules a good CLM solution provides – covering everything from repository and authoring to negotiation and collaboration.

  • Their core contract creation feature is what stands out to legal teams as they are built directly on Microsoft Word code base.
  • Ironclad integrates with a variety of systems including ERP, CRM, AI-based document processing platforms, external workflow and BI apps. It also integrates external data sources and e-signature tools.

And finally coming over to Zycus, their core offering is iContract – an enterprise grade, AI-powered CLM software that facilitates the entire contracting journey, from initiation, through to collaborative execution, and right up to post-award contract management.

  • What stands out is the strong, natively built artificial intelligence capabilities, such as an AI bot for contract language discovery that uses extracted metadata from contracts to trigger relevant actions.
  • In terms of integrations, Zycus iContract can integrate with a variety of systems and platforms, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, e-sourcing platforms, spend analysis tools, salesforce, MS word, and external data sources like supplier information databases. iContract also integrates with e-sign tools, including their in-house solution Certinal.

Top strengths and cautions to keep in mind

Now that basic features and integrations are out of the way, let us move on to some noteworthy strengths and cautions of these three vendors.



A big strength for Icertis is their large customer base. They serve a broad category of contracts which are used across functions and teams. Beyond this, they have strengths across all areas of contract management including contract creation, contract repository and analytics, supported contract types, contract management, and technology aspect.

The core offering addresses basic contract management needs, and they expand on this by providing built integrations with SAP; this is born out of part ownership and joint development – making it a robust integration. Icertis is also a Microsoft partner, and their solution is deployed on the Microsoft infrastructure along with a complete Office 365 integration.

Some issues listed in analyst reports caution users of long implementation cycles that are largely costly and complex to carry out. This may be owing to multiple factors including but not limited to the fact that a large part of the implementations is partner led, they do a high degree of customizations based on unique needs from clients, and lastly because of their existing large customer base of high-profile and large companies their implementation resources are stretched.

Another coin with two sides is their industry- and vertical-specific solutions. With special sub-vertical focus on a group of industries, they offer useful extensions that cater to nuanced use cases. This is a newly launched offering and analysts suggest caution and careful evaluation.

It is worth noting that they start off with a base implementation and later build out any customizations or industry specific use case-based applications. It is important for the enterprise deploying the solution to be mindful of the assumption, scale, timelines and finally the cost of implementation from the get-go.

To summarize:

  • Icertis caters to a diverse and broad set of contract categories with a robust solution that has strong integrations.
  • They provide tailored and customized bolt-on cases. This may come at the cost of long, costly and complex implementation.
  • Their vendor support and implementation services may have room for improvement.


Ironclad has been a popular choice of CLM solution in the tech sector, primarily serving mid and small-sized companies located in the US region. Their large pool of small and medium-sized clients has afforded them a lot of breadth in use cases and types of contracts they serve. Ironclad is also one of the few vendors who have a peer community for experts to collaborate and learn about their core offering. Their peer network with multiple users, a digital library and best practice tips and content builds trust and strong community between legal users.

In addition to this, as briefly stated earlier their biggest strength lies in the contract creation i.e. drafting and automation stage.

The solution gives good competition to many players in the category with above average ratings for usability and vendor support (as per Forrester). Being a relatively new vendor, and just beginning to shit from their own resources to those of partners, Ironclad’s solution proves its merit on several counts.

Some issues that analyst reports highlight are – that their reporting and analytics abilities can be improved upon, especially when compared to more advanced solutions in the category. It is also worth noting that most of Ironclad’s customer base and subsequently their partner and support base is limited to the United States.

Their AI strategy is a product of Google AI offering, Kira systems and their own in-house R&D. Advanced AI-powered features including risk scoring, contract intake, smart negotiation, etc. are in their nascent stage. These key features are important for a future-proof and future-centric solution, so any improvements in this area are worth following closely.

To summarize:

  • Their robust contract drafting, and automation features are a key drawing factor along with expertise across a broad range of contracts.
  • Reporting and analytics, as well as higher order artificial intelligence driven modules have room for improvement.

Zycus iContract

Zycus is a good fit for large, global enterprises in industries such as manufacturing, financial services, retail, and other sectors that are on the lookout for leading-edge artificial-intelligence-based functions in their CLM solution. Merlin, the vendor’s native AI technology suite, is built for providing higher-value CLM intelligence and assistance across the contracting lifecycle. These products help Zycus’ clients identify and assess contract risks, extract and apply metadata tags, identify force majeure and maximize rebates.

Its users give it high scores on usability and simple workflows, including simplifying the contract’s movement from request to completion. Zycus further bolsters their performance via extensive analytics capabilities to provide customers with business insights across their integrated solution suite.

As per Forrester, the vendor also garners top scores in the categories of contract creation and import; an AI bot for language discovery that can spot inconsistencies; In addition to this, the vendor stands out in terms of implementation, deployment and support with high user ratings in these categories as per review sites online. They have a strict no-broken-windows policy, and this expedites vendor support and significantly reduces bug resolution time.

Analyst reports call out the industry agnostic approach as a caution, as Zycus is one of the few vendors with a horizontal platform approach. The vendor is addressing this with the help of AppXtend - a simple way to extend their technology to cater to industry specific use cases with pre-built Zycus and 3rd party apps that integrate easily with SaaS products.

To summarize:

  • Zycus’ strength lies in their in-house AI suite merlin, which provides higher-value CLM intelligence and assistance across the contracting lifecycle.
  • Their vendor support, implementation and deployment stand out in the category
  • They are still building credibility in vertical/industry specific customizations

If you would like to learn more about what Zycus iContract can do for your contracts, book a call with our solution experts today


Exploring fit and use cases

  • Icertis is a robust, heavy-duty tool with a multitude of features and customizations. For industries with a highly complex and high-volume contracting landscape – where it is the need of the business to opt for very tailored and customized contract management solutions that serve very specific business uses – Icertis makes a for a strong contender. It is also worth noting that customizations of this nature are likely to be cost intensive and have a long and complex implementation journey.

    ‘In essence, the Icertis platform is more well suited for larger businesses that require and can afford the wide range of customization the solution offers. Or, for those organizations that are on the lookout for a CLM solution with multiple bespoke and diverse integrations and hardcore usage.’
  • Time and again, Ironclad is recognized as an ideal solution for SMEs – owing to its breadth and variety in serving this segment. As per Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contract Life Cycle Management, Ironclad users have voiced that the solution’s dashboards, reporting and analytics capabilities still have some room to improve. More advanced capabilities, like AI-powered contract intake, risk scoring and smart negotiation, also fall into this category.

    ‘All in all, Ironclad is an efficient yet simple tool, grounded in the basic strengths of contract management that a small to mid-sized company can fully utilize.’
  • Zycus is an industry agnostic, enterprise grade CLM solution, best suited for organizations that are looking to implement an end-to-end and robust yet relatively uncomplicated and easy to deploy solution. The reported high adoption of the tool among users and easy UI/UX with perks like a mobile app make it a good choice for high usability across the organization mid-sized to large enterprise. Further, the solution has an edge when it comes to implementation and support, with a strict no broken windows policy. And lastly, their in-house AI suite Merlin, offers a range of strong features that enjoy high adoption among users.

    "To conclude, Zycus is an ideal choice for companies on the lookout for a robust, easy-to-deploy and easy-to-maintain and upgrade solution that is well adopted and widely used across the enterprise. Additionally, companies that prioritize AI based innovation in their tech stack may also go this route.”

Which is the best CLM Solution for you?

The contract management software market is highly competitive, with a wide range of options available for organizations of all sizes and industries. Icertis, Ironclad, and Zycus are among the top players in the market, each offering their own unique features and capabilities. In most cases, there is no one-size fits all answer. It is important to have a clear understanding of your unique goals and needs for choosing the right vendor for your organization.

PS. If you are in the process of evaluating vendors, here is a free-to-use, editable RFP template with:

  • Relevant features to assess contract management RFPs objectively
  • Ability to assign feature weightages based on requirements
  • Automated scoring of vendors based on their ability to meet requirements

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