Concorde Technologies: Contract Management is a Value Center, Not a Cost Center
Concorde Technology Group started off as Concorde Infomatics in 1985. Back then, it was primarily a box shifter. In other words, we built, sold, and shipped laptops and desktop computers to companies. There were neither annuities nor recurring revenue streams. But over time, that changed as the business steadily grew and we began to focus on contract management and its value.
Today, Concorde Technology Group is a company of four divisions.
Technology Solutions – providing laptops and professional services, and designing, building, and implementing technology
Communications – for hosted telephony, leased lines, and mobile phones
Concorde Cloud – providing private and public cloud, cloud-managed services, live monitoring, and systems health checking
Security – offering cybersecurity services, endpoint management, firewall penetration testing, and website monitoring
THE COMPLEXITY OF SEQUENCING
Ultimately, we think of the company as a four-cylinder automobile engine. Our four divisions are all aligned, thrusting the car forward. But each cylinder fires in a different sequence. In that regard, we have many contract types and agreements, which come in, are renewed, and are payable at different times. It is all part of running a complex, multi-unit business.
Now, take a moment to think about these four business units, with four identities, and four completely different sets of priorities and terms and conditions per standard contract. Over time, you start to build up an enormous library of contracts and related documents. Then, think about when someone makes a change. Revision control is an absolute nightmare when trying to manage all contractual information manually.
On top of that, think about the times when there is a change in personnel. What happens to the visibility of all of the start and end dates of each contract? Plus, when you grow this base by an average of 800 contracts annually over 35 years, what happens when you miss a renewal or two – or more?
CONTRACT MANAGEMENT VALUE SYSTEM OR BUST
The complexity of running a business like Concorde made us quickly realize that we needed a long-term solution beyond Excel and agreement filing cabinets. Yet, when we started looking for a solution, we were disheartened. Many systems certainly had some interesting attributes but generally left us short. There were many customization options, too, but we knew that they could lead to real headaches in the future, as code evolves.
However, we then found a system that was just right for us and added significant value to our contract management. Even at first glance, we could see the power of it, as it was truly designed for the legal market and legal departments, in particular.
OUR NEEDS: ADDING VALUE TO OUR CONTRACT MANAGEMENT
The right CLM gives you a contract management process to push your company forward.
Concorde needed a system with reliable notifications on contract renewals, autorenewals, terminations, and such. The system had to have a rapid API evolution cycle and be connected to Microsoft applications like Teams. It had to use an AI engine, like IBM Watson, that we could trust, After all, some of our contracts run 20,000 lines long. Plus, the system had to contend with the variability of third-party agreements, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), new customers, existing client addendum, and so on. Finally, we needed the security of knowing there was a team that was willing to work with us if we highlighted potential feature opportunities. We also wanted the ability to use electronic signatures and full contract automation to improve consistency and reduce the mundane, time-consuming contract creation work.
ContractPodAi provided all of this to Concorde in one end-to-end contract lifecycle management (CLM) system.
PANDEMIC DIDN’T CREATE A PANIC
We had already implemented our contract management solution more than a year before the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic struck. Yet, the decision to have my legal and contracts teamwork from home (WFH) was a relatively easy decision. In fact, my choice was made without the batting of an eyelid.
Our CLM is in the cloud and is a tight and secure solution. So there were no reservations about allowing our people to carry on working anywhere and anytime. With our contract management solution, their work is completely borderless.
LEARNINGS DURING THE CRISIS: CONTRACT MANAGEMENT VALUE
During the self-isolation and lockdown period, key learning by our staff was about being efficient – or ‘contract-efficient.’ This was made easier with contract management software that we could trust and access remotely. For example, my legal staff can now draft contracts more easily, while the sales team can draft a standard contract without involving our contract staff or attorneys. An electronic contract can then be electronically signed (e-signature). This means that we can send out contracts far more quickly. It also means that clients can sign and return them almost instantaneously.
All of this goes into an automated workflow. After a customer digitally signs and sends back a contract, a welcome letter is triggered and a package is produced for the customer. This gives them a sense of who their contacts at Concorde are and tells them how to escalate matters if needed.
When it is part of one single ecosystem, it is all done so easily – at the click of a finger. And with much of the work now completed by our staff in the business units, my contract staff has more time in its day. Contract management solutions are critical to any complex or large business.
LOOKING THROUGH A SINGLE PANE OF GLASS
Altogether, the right CLM solution gives you a contract management process that pushes your company forward. ContractPodAi lets our contract team look through a single pane of glass to find everything that the contract includes. If someone asks for details like expiry dates, they are readily discovered and summarized.
In the past, we used to have to look at individual documents. Was it signed or re-signed properly? Or was the service work signed, but the overall contract signature was missed?
Today, though, there is no need to search for these things in the contract, addenda, appendices, or associated documents. They are all in one place that is quick and easy to access.
DURING TIMES LIKE THESE, CASH IS KING!
Contract management solutions like ContractPodAi’s are critical to any complex or large business. Yet, beyond contract negotiations, approval workflows, standardized contract templates, or AI contract analytics, what they can do for your cash flow is exceptional.
With our new CLM, Concorde no longer misses an opportunity. Before having a CLM, it was not unusual to miss a renewal date and to invoice a customer 60 days afterward. Now, with automatic notifications, our invoices go out 90 days ahead of renewal. That means that we can bring cash in before the service starts on a renewal. And bringing cash into the company up to 150 days early can have an enormous impact on the business. So this is not simply a system that generates contracts for us. This is a system that impacts our bottom line!
Just imagine that: a legal and contracts team that can improve the bottom line, and add value to their contract management. At Concorde Technology Group, what most companies only see as a cost center has been viewed as a complete value center.
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