May 4 by Sally Hereford
In case you missed it, Apttus wrapped up Accelerate, the Quote-to-Cash event of the year, a few weeks ago. We were incredibly fortunate to host a number of great speakers during the event, including Ines Gonzalez, Director of Legal at LinkedIn. As part of our Legal Luminaries speaking track, Ines provided an expert overview of how her team leverages internal data to measure the impact of Apttus’ Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solution on their business.
Impact at LinkedIn
LinkedIn implemented Apttus’ CLM solution about two years ago, and this was the first time that they had ever had access to metrics and data around their contracting process. They were excited to have this information at their fingertips because LinkedIn is a large company, so everything needs to be measured and tracked, functionality that they lacked with their old contract management system.
Despite their initial excitement about their ability to use this data, they soon realized that they had virtually nothing to compare this data to, and could not figure out the message that they were trying to give using this data.
Ines presented carefully designed reports and dashboards to their legal department and key stakeholders for the CLM project; however, she was shocked to find that these people were unable to understand the value that Apttus had brought to the organization. Not long after, Ines realized that this feedback was coming from her inability to demonstrate the amazing amount of traction that they had gotten using Apttus. The data that they had gathered had no context and was, therefore, meaningless.
This post will discuss how Ines learned how to overcome this challenge by accurately outlining the specific value that Apttus’ CLM had delivered to LinkedIn.
Get to know your data
Before LinkedIn implemented Apttus’ CLM solution, their legal team reviewed every single procurement contract that came into the organization, from hotel blocks to multi-million dollar software agreements. Because they were paying contract attorneys by the hour to review these contracts, it was not a very cost-effective process. LinkedIn soon realized that they required a change that would enable them to get control over this process and the spend that went with it.
When the opportunity came for them to implement Apttus, they decided that it was time to develop some real business processes around how agreements flow through their organization. They gathered all of their key stakeholders and discussed where their processes are today, and what they wanted to see moving forward. The group determined that low risk agreements would be reviewed and approved by procurement rather than legal, enabling them to make less use of contract attorneys, saving them a huge amount of money.
By reviewing and updating their processes in a more cost-effective manner, LinkedIn was able to save $2.37 million on contract attorneys in just over two years using Apttus. Ines was extremely impressed by this number, and so was her General Counsel.
Ines continued with this process improvement by working with the end-users. Her mission was to find out how people who use the Apttus CLM system are using the data that it captures. Upon working with these users, Ines was horrified to see how much of this was done manually, and/or offline. She focused then on providing a solution to ease their pain points by changing the process, providing more training, or making changes to their system. She also took that opportunity to speak with her end-users in depth about what outcomes would be important to them. By doing so, she realized how much value can come from getting familiar with your data, decluttering it, and using it to tell a story.
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Use your data to tell a story
The moral of Ines’ story with Apttus’ CLM solution is that data without context is meaningless. Ines recently heard a speaker present a data visualization guide for legal professionals; he was outlining how to use data to show information and to tell a cohesive story. She took this speech to heart and eagerly applied the metrics that the speaker discussed to her own work at LinkedIn. Doing so enabled her to put together some metrics that blew away her General Counsel. Specifically, she discovered that, by adjusting their process and using Apttus, they had saved over $2.37 million in contract attorney fees.
Ines also realized that they have had a 27% increase in contracts moving through their organization in 2015. This metric is likely due to acquisitions; however, their new process kept up as they began looking into new ways to scale their influx of sales agreements. One of the most successful things that they did to help scale, without increasing headcount, was that they built new templates that were as reasonable as possible. The idea here is to get the customer to sign without having to send for legal to review. Now, only about 5% of their sales agreements are non-standard and have to go through legal for approval; this has saved them millions of dollars in contract attorney fees, and has enabled a much faster turnaround on these agreements for their customers.
There are a few key takeaways from Ines’ journey with LinkedIn and Apttus. First, take some time every year to declutter your data. Finding out what messaging lies in your existing pool of data will enable you to discover the valuable information available, so that you can effectively present it to your audience. Do not make your end users or leadership team work for this messaging (because odds are that they won’t). It is up to you to feed it to them in a way that clearly and concisely outlines the specific value or messaging that you want them to take away.
This point goes hand-in-hand with Ines’ next recommendation, which is to use your data to tell a story. Once you have discovered the important messaging in your data, weave it into a clear story that will resonate with your audience. Doing so makes your data infinitely more valuable to the entire organization.