In a recent legaltech implementation project, InvestCEE LegalTech Consultancy and our LegalTech Marketplace vendor Dealsign brought end-to-end digital contract management to a leading player in the CEE region’s online food ordering industry. Our team of lawyers and legaltech experts collaborated closely with the multi-disciplinary team on the client side: operational, legal, HR and IT departments of the corporation. The project focused on shifting from paper-based traditional contracting (with ink-on-paper signatures) to 100% virtual contract management.
This case study shares insights about the background, challenges, approach and practical results of using digital contract templates, advanced electronic signature and digital archiving — all on Dealsign’s collaborative virtual contracting platform.
In Hungary, the client’s legal team handles thousands of contracts and the legal needs for various business units that focus on strategy, compliance and risk management. The In-house Counsel was well aware that seamless digital contracting represented top priority for legal and business teams alike in their organization. He proactively aligned internal digitization efforts with InvestCEE’s advisory team in an effort to optimize the corporation’s contract flow with technology.
Challenge Accepted: End-to-End Digital Contract Management
Our client’s major struggle was managing thousands of contracts in a coordinated and collaborative workflow across several internal departments and with external business partners. According to the Logistics Director, the main purpose of transitioning to digital contracting was to holistically and more efficiently manage the company’s contract database. Given contracts were not within the ownership of a single team at the corporation, but they were typically multi-stakeholder business activities, managing contracts used to be a manual and highly administrative process. It usually required e-mailing across several business units, face-to-face meetings with hundreds of external partners, printing and signing thousands of documents and archiving in various physical and virtual locations across the organization.
Without a centralplatform designed for contracts and a standardized way (“playbook”) of managing all stages of the end-to-end digitalcontract life-cycle (pre-signing, e-signing and e-archiving), the internal logistics team found the contract team’s performance to be often disintegrated, or worse, inefficient.
Further aggravated by pandemic-related lockdowns during spring 2021, the business leaders needed a strategic transition to digital contracting. Also, process automation was increasingly becoming a priority instead of low-value manual administration. Overall, our client aimed to ensure seamless coordination of all contract related work while saving time on highly routine tasks.
The client’s project team and InvestCEE’s advisors agreed that optimizing contract management was about rethinking internal processes and deploying adequate technology. There was alignment that efforts needed to be invested in both aspects. Following weeks of first designing the digital workflow (deploying our process design services), the team moved on to testing the technology internally and then gradually rolling out the new digital contracting platform to external partners.
Because this client places such a high emphasis on internal collaboration, the HR Team Lead embraced Dealsign’s digital contracting platform early. The dashboard that provides access to template documents and an overview of signed and archived contracts, served as the foundation for overviewing the entire team’s efforts. Throughout the implementation pilot project, Dealsign’s dashboard provided an “executive summary” of all contract related activities.
Careful planning and step-by-step implementation paved the way to the roll-out of digital contracting to thousands of business partners. After implementing Dealsign, the client shared the following results about the transition:
The operational team has reduced a 32-step paper-based contracting process to only 5 steps on the digital contracting platform;
The onboarding of contract partners has become transparent and considerably easier to manage — the churn rate relating to the digital transformation was lower than expected and actually outperformed results from paper-based recontracting projects in previous years;
Digital contracting has eliminated lag times in the signing process. The old manual signing method would sometimes be backlogged by up to several weeks. Now, according to the Logistics Director: “The team can look at Dealsign for executed contract status on any particular day, and follow-up with contract partners as necessary.”
The contract archive has become complete and reliable, immediately available to all team members with access rights.
Internal collaboration among business units has significantly improved. This eliminated a considerable amount of stress previously resulting from lack of communication. According to the HR Team Lead: “Everyone understands their dedicated role in a certain stage of the digital contracting cycle and how that fits into the bigger picture. Ultimately, this adds to their confidence and motivation as a valuable member of the team”.
The legal department uses Dealsign to keep the contract templates up-to-date and compliant at all times for the business units. The client’s In-house Legal Counsel said that before Dealsign, he knew “intuitively” that maintaining contracts consumed a lot of time, but it was hard to separate legal advice from administrative tasks, while keeping colleagues informed about contract status. “Now, when we manage contracts on the same collaborative platform, I have a lot more confidence that my colleagues are accessing the right document templates and our contract database is holistic and systematically updated.”
In this project, we helped our client use the Dealsign platform as the foundation for digital contracting at scale and in alignment with their corporate environment. Given leadership and the decision-makers needed to see data in action, Dealsign’s dashboard made the legal and business team’s job easier with not having to run analyses through spreadsheets, but immediately accessing the list of contracts awaiting e-signature and the archived list of executed contracts. Also, this project provided a highly relevant context for InvestCEE services aligning legal and business efforts towards shared digitization goals.
Overall, contract related work streams for our client have become more timely, accurate and actionable compared to the paper-based process. Their business units can now wisely focus on where to apply valuable human capacity, time and energy when it comes to managing contracts.
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