DocuSign CLM and Ironclad both offer features you need to manage contracts from start to finish. But which tool is right for your business? Find out in this post.
What is DocuSign CLM?
DocuSign CLM is one of the oldest CLM platforms on the market, dating all the way back to 2003. Formerly known as SpringCM, the platform was acquired in 2018 by eSignature giant DocuSign and rebranded to include the electronic signing feature.
Today, DocuSign CLM serves lots of big corporations with large legal teams, including Unilever, Santander, Barclays, and Toshiba.
What is Ironclad?
Ironclad is another contract lifecycle management tool serving legal teams in enterprise businesses. Ironclad was founded in 2015 and has built up a large client base since, with the likes of Mastercard, L’Oreal, Zoom, and Glassdoor using the tool. Ironclad serves similar customers to DocuSign CLM, which is why the two tools are often compared.
DocuSign CLM vs Ironclad: how do the tools compare?
To help you decide which contract lifecycle management tool is right for your business, this post compares DocuSign CLM and Ironclad across seven different criteria, including:
- Pre-signature functionality
- Electronic signature functionality
- Post-signature functionality
- Customer support
Let’s begin by comparing how users can create, edit and negotiate contracts in DocuSign CLM and Ironclad.
1. Pre-signature functionality
Ironclad and DocuSign CLM both offer the functionality needed to create contracts. Users set up contract templates and outline which fields need to be populated within the template. This then creates a form that users can fill out to generate an agreement.
However, both tools rely on a Word-based editor to draft contracts, unlike Juro.
This works for some lawyers that are averse to change and would prefer to keep their contracting workflow in Microsoft Word. However, it creates friction for users as DOCX files have to be moved between tools to make simple edits. This can slow contracting processes down and create friction for users, rather than making contracting faster and simpler.
This is something that Ironclad users can find particularly frustrating as it means simple changes to a contract template or workflow require a lot of admin work.
Here’s what Ironclad users have to say about the tool’s pre-signature functionality, according to G2 reviews:
For something as simple as correcting a typo, you have to download the template, correct it in Word, and re-upload. It feels unnecessarily cumbersome - Verified Ironclad user, G2
Editing contract templates could be much easier. Generally, you need to download them, edit in a Word doc, then reupload the contract, which can be risky - Verified Ironclad user, G2
In comparison, DocuSign CLM users complain about the template limitations associated with having this Word-based workflow.
In particular, DocuSign CLM users want more dynamic contract templates that allow for conditional logic and better formatting options. They also want to be able to redline in DocuSign CLM, rather than having to move their contracts into a Word editor.
Here’s what DocuSign CLM users have to say about the tool’s pre-signature functionality, according to G2 reviews:
We want more flexibility with the merge fields, specifically using ‘if-then-else’ logic to construct our templates more easily - Verified DocuSign CLM user, G2
There is no online redlining process. An online interface that negated the need for Microsoft Word would be perfect - Verified DocuSign CLM user, G2
Not all contract tools rely on Word for contract creation, though. Juro’s browser-based contract editor allows users to create templated agreements in seconds, with just a few clicks.
While it is possible to import and export contracts into Juro from Word, it isn’t necessary. Instead, Juro’s contract editor allows teams to quickly and easily create, edit and redline contracts without leaving the platform.
It takes the sales team four clicks to generate and approve a contract in Juro - Callum Hamlett, Senior Rev Ops Analyst, Paddle
2. Electronic signature functionality
Since DocuSign CLM is owned by eSignature giant DocuSign, it won’t surprise you to know that DocuSign CLM users can sign their agreements within the tool. This native integration means that users can sign contracts electronically on any device.
Ironclad, on the other hand, doesn’t offer native eSigning functionality. Instead, users will need to integrate the CLM software with a separate eSigning tool like DocuSign or Adobe Sign.
This means Ironclad users effectively need two tools, not one. This can make the Ironclad experience feel disjointed. Many businesses want an all-in-one solution like Juro that streamlines their entire contract workflow and removes this friction.
3. Post-signature functionality
DocuSign CLM and Ironclad both offer secure contract storage and a contract repository, making them suitable for post-signature contract management.
However, G2 reviews describe Ironclad’s search functionality as limited, with some customers saying that the repository’s limitations actually make for more manual work. This could be because DOCX files aren’t built as structured data so the information within them isn’t captured in full.
Below are some of the G2 reviews left by Ironclad users about the tool’s repository:
The search capabilities are really limited. You can only search by the title of the workflow. You cannot, for example, search by PO# or SKU#, which is extremely annoying - Verified Ironclad user, G2
Ironclad could improve upon its metrics. Because of the way our team has to download and re-upload our agreements to Ironclad, our data in the system is largely inaccurate - Verified Ironclad user, G2
Some of the limitations of the repository make for more manual work - Verified Ironclad user, G2
DocuSign CLM also offers a secure place to store contracts and their data. DocuSign CLM users can file, tag, and store their contracts within the platform, allowing them to keep a single source of truth for their agreements.
DocuSign CLM and Ironclad offer a similar experience when it comes to usability. Both are heavyweight, customizable solutions so users typically face a steep learning curve as a result.
This isn’t a big problem for large corporations that require this level of customization and are able to invest time in training to use the platform. However, it’s not ideal for midmarket or small businesses that want the tool to be adopted quickly and easily across their business.
For Ironclad users, the biggest difficulty is the fact that a lot of workflows require expertise to set up. This means that the users become dependent on Ironclad’s support team to build certain workflows, rather than being able to set these up themselves and amend them when they need changing.
Ironclad can also be particularly difficult for non-legal users to adopt due to how technical it is. This means that many businesses shy away from business-wide adoption and contracts remain legal’s responsibility instead.
This is distinct from more user-friendly and intuitive solutions like Juro that enable sales, HR and ops teams to self-serve on simple, routine contracts, giving legal more time back as a result.
Below are some G2 reviews about usability left by Ironclad users:
Non-legal background users have a hard time understanding the process. These process and system is very foreign to them and it doesn't resemble any other software that they use - Verified Ironclad user, G2
The part I dislike the most is the complicated logic that has to be manually applied when setting up workflows and triggers. It comes with a steep learning curve in that regard - Verified Ironclad user, G2
DocuSign CLM users find the platform difficult to use for different reasons. The most common complaint about DocuSign CLM’s user interface is that it’s outdated and clunky, which makes it difficult to navigate.
This is likely because DocuSign CLM is one of the oldest CLM solutions on the market, so the tool’s UI isn’t as clean and modern as some newer platforms.
G2 reviews from DocuSign CLM users support this:
The interface is dated and inconsistent. Icons are the opposite of intuitive, the sync application is buggy and error-laden - Verified DocuSign CLM user, G2
The admin user interface is not easy to use at all. I find myself struggling to figure out how to do simple admin things and where to find them within the menu - Verified DocuSign CLM user, G2
Again, this won’t matter too much for large companies that have enough time and resources to dedicate to learning the platform. But if businesses want to receive value from the tool quickly and across the whole business, a tool built for adoption like Juro will be more suitable.
Unlike Ironclad and DocuSign CLM, Juro is top-rated for ease of use. This enables the business to self-serve on contracts and reduces the time legal spends on contract admin. To find out more about how Juro could streamline contracting for your business, hit the button below.