Business growth comes with risk. More customers mean more contracts to juggle, more obligations to meet, and deadlines to track. First and foremost, if your contract management processes can’t scale up with the business, there is a genuine risk of sleepwalking into mis-approvals, missed billings, and a host of other negative impacts.
This was the challenge from Fiorenza Provenzano, International Legal Counsel for life sciences software & consulting specialists, N-SIDE. She knew the potential benefits of CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) technology for streamlining processes and managing complex obligations. However, for a legal professional with no prior experience in software implementation, taking the lead on a whole new system was daunting.
Following a successful implementation, Provenzano linked up with Ash Finnegan, Digital Transformation Officer of Conga CLM, and PhiX’s Director of Lead-to-Ledger, Justin Wheatley, to explain what went right.
The webinar (available here) is a must-watch for any business seeking to overhaul contract management. As a taster and based on N-SIDE’s real-life experiences, here are some essential tips for success.
Define the ‘as is’
“I need to see what’s happening today, to understand what needs to change.”
For N-SIDE, contracts were all over multiple locations. Along with critical information in various Excel files. Subsequently, the company was looking for more efficient ways to create and manage those contracts throughout their lifecycle. It also needed clearer visibility to minimise the risk of obligations not being met.
What exactly could they do better? To understand this, map out your current contract lifecycle. Define each step (e.g. creation, negotiation, approval, fulfilment, closure) and the processes, people and distinct tasks involved.
From here, you can identify the shortfalls and inefficiencies that you might address with the right technology. For N-SIDE, contract authoring was one such area: Provenzano realised that a single hub for commonly used clauses could streamline the creation process significantly.
Define organisational requirements
“Bring people on the journey. They’ll see things you don’t see”.
What are your organisation’s criteria for a new CLM system? To determine this, get key stakeholders around the table. People from sales, customer accounts, service delivery and finance can all offer valuable input on what features should be included.
Contract management processes typically straddle multiple departments. A great CLM solution will help you automate and manage various business-related tasks. Rather than presenting the business with new tech out of the blue, getting relevant parties involved from across the company also helps ensure successful adoption later on.
Conga Webinar: Commercial Operations Evolved
Choice of technology
“Stay focused on the business outcomes and don’t get lost in the features”.
Technology can be noisy. When weighing up providers, it is easy to be swayed by an impressive-sounding spec list and lose sight of your needed capabilities.
Provenzano avoided this by being absolutely clear on her buying criteria. For N-SIDE, must-have requirements included the ability to integrate third-party documents into the system (rather than just those based on the company’s own templates). It’s one of the reasons why the company chose the Gartner-recommended Conga CLM solution. It’s one of the reasons why the company chose the Gartner-recommended Conga CLM solution. Its Intelligent Discovery add-on means that contracts can be seamlessly imported into the CLM repository, regardless of format or source.
The value of implementation expertise
“I felt like they were part of my business”.
N-SIDE’s choice of PhiX Technologies as an implementation partner was a natural one. The company has over ten years of experience in simplifying complex billing, contract, and other financial requirements. More specific to the project in hand, PhiX is also a member of Conga’s select network of recommended commercial operations transformation experts.
For any implementation partner, inside-out knowledge of the software should be a given. But a great partner offers much more than this. Provenzano describes how PhiX quickly became an extension of the N-SIDE team, getting to grips with the customer’s way of working, ensuring set-up was tailored to the company’s requirements, ironing out any difficulties and helping to ensure swift, successful user adoption.
Thanks to clear goals and the right choice of technology and implementation support that fully aligned with what the business was trying to achieve, N-SIDE could reap the benefits of its new CLM system.