How Intercom Reduced Their Contract Process From Days To Hours Using Ironclad
Ironclad enables us to manage contracts in a fast, controlled, and collaborative way. It means so much less traffic and bottlenecking for our legal team and business partners.
Challenge: Cumbersome contract management processes reduce capacity and productivity
Before Intercom implemented Ironclad, contract management was a painful, unsolved problem.
To operate successfully as an exponentially growing organization, they needed to be able to launch and approve contracts within hours. But, in reality, it was taking days of manual work and endless back and forth between departments to get even a single contract buttoned-up.
This was particularly problematic because the business has multiple types of contracts to manage—from NDAs and MSAs to procurement, consultant, and recruiter contracts. To make it even more complicated, each contract type has its own range of stakeholders, variations, and challenges to manage.
Intercom’s analog contract management process put an increasing amount of pressure on the legal team, as every single contract passed through them for negotiation and review. This created a huge barrier to productivity and efficiency, and kept them from the more high-level tasks that truly require their expertise.
Of all the contracts taking up legal’s time and resources, NDAs were the most demanding.
“Our process before Ironclad began with an email from the relevant stakeholder in the business to our legal team,” says Senior Contracts Manager Ken Hoang. “Even when the NDA was approved, we’d have to wrestle with DocuSign and then manually save the contract into a repository. There were so many manual steps in how we managed contracts. It was a big drain on our capacity.”
In fact, Ken says each NDA could involve two or three days of back-and-forth just to get a single contract over the line.
These slow and disjointed processes extended to every other contract type, too.
Whether it was sales, procurement, marketing, or HR needing to launch a contract, every step of the old process was manual, slow and sticky. Negotiations relied on the painfully slow process of email response, and approvals, signature, and storage happened within the inbox as well.
Without a centralized or automated process for managing contracts, Intercom opened the door to further challenges.
“Completing contracts efficiently relied on collaboration between the relevant business departments and legal,” says Ken. “But because communication was done via scattered email trails and other disconnected channels, this blocked rather than enabled our ability to get things done quickly. And without a single source of truth, it was sometimes difficult to know whether we were seeing the latest information. All of which created more wasted time and inefficiency.”
Ken was determined to bring Intercom’s contract management process up-to-speed with the ambitious, dynamic, and digitally focused standards of the rest of the business.
There were so many manual steps in how we managed contracts. It was a big drain on our capacity and productivity.
Solution: Digitizing the contracting process to make it more efficient and scalable
Intercom was determined to find a contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform that met the diverse demands of its business and enabled them to execute better agreements faster.
Ironclad was the only CLM in the marketplace that was flexible enough to handle every type of contract workflow through a single platform, including sales agreements, complex NDAs, and HR contracts.
Intercom was also reassured to learn that innovative companies such as L’Oréal and Mastercard were using Ironclad to improve collaboration on contracts, accelerate contracting, and transform contracts into powerful business intelligence. Intercom had no doubt it was the best solution.
One of the hesitations of implementing a CLM for many businesses is that it will come with a steep learning curve and be resource-heavy to roll out. With Ironclad, it wasn’t like that at all.
“Implementation of Ironclad was easy,” says Ken. “Our dedicated support team walked us through every aspect of the platform at the start, and we found its tools and features simple and intuitive to use at every touchpoint, which ensured people would really use it.”
Other departments bought in just as quickly. To get up to speed fast on the software, new users accessed Ironclad’s large and easily searchable library of support articles and videos, plus additional ‘cheat sheets’ provided by the legal team.
The first tool that Intercom put to use was Ironclad’s Workflow Designer.
Without any technical or coding knowledge, Intercom used the tool’s drag-and-drop interface to create standardized NDA templates, pre-approved by legal, along with an automated workflow that covered every step of the contract lifecycle.
Almost immediately, they transformed frustrating manual contract workflows into automated journeys that could be launched and approved in minutes.
Ken explains: “Business users simply fill out the required fields on the NDA, and then go step-by-step through the workflow to obtain the necessary approvals—all via the platform. As long as all conditions are met and counterparties are happy with the terms, the whole workflow can go through without touching our legal team.
“By automating a lot of the process and having everything in one place on Ironclad, it means so much less traffic and bottle-necking for both legal and our business partners to get contracts though,” he adds.
After success with automated NDAs, Intercom repeated the process with MSAs used by the sales team and procurement contracts.
As a result, each department can now launch agreements on their own within compliant guardrails—without bogging down legal at all.
Another robust function that Intercom quickly made use of was Ironclad’s Dynamic Data Repository.
Previously, Ken and his team spent hours each day organizing, saving, archiving, and logging contracts manually.
Now, Ironclad’s Dynamic Data Repository automatically captures and secures completed agreements in a single, central location on the cloud.
As well as saving the team a ton of time, having this single source of truth means they can respond to queries on contracts almost instantly. Even better, because all their contract data is in one place, they can analyse and leverage it to reduce risk and uncover new opportunities.
Because the entire contract lifecycle is now managed from Ironclad’s centralized platform, collaboration across functions has become friction-free.
Ironclad’s integrations also make it easy to sync with other platforms and systems they already use, like Salesforce.
Ken explains: “The Salesforce integration makes it so easy for our sales team, because they can automatically populate a workflow with information, which makes launching workflows quicker and easier.
“It makes cross-functional working easier, because everyone has transparency through the platform about where the contract process is at any given time, without the distraction of constantly having to check in with each other.”
No surprise then that collaboration is now frictionless and productive—and contracts are being completed at lightning speed.
Ironclad makes cross-functional working easier, because everyone has transparency through the platform about where the contract process is at any given time.
Result: 70 contracts executed flawlessly every month and NDAs completed in hours—giving legal more time to strategize
Since implementing Ironclad, Intercom has streamlined collaboration across functions and unlocked efficiencies throughout its legal department and wider business.
By using Ironclad to accelerate the contract creation and review process, they now finalize NDAs in hours, not days.
Plus, by giving business partners the ability to self-serve, the legal team gains back valuable hours each day. As a result, they can service the legal needs of 700+ employees with a lean team of just 5.
With increased capacity, the legal team is freed up to provide greater value to business partners. Instead of getting bogged down in day-to-day contract management, they have time to strategize on how to tackle risks thoughtfully—and move the business forward.
By creating a more efficient and scalable process with Ironclad, Intercom has completed 382 contracts in total since implementation. They are currently averaging around 70 completed agreements every month. Previously, a single contract took 3 days to complete, but now they’re finalizing 2 every day.
Ken says these volumes wouldn’t have been achievable under the previous manual process.
“Without Ironclad it would be too slow and clunky, because a lot of our workflows don’t involve just one approver, but three or four across IT, security, finance and more,” says Ken. “Ironclad’s activity feed provides us with a centralized place where we all collaborate. So everyone has transparency, decisions can be made faster, and the contract lifecycle can be completed so much quicker.”
Intercom recommends Ironclad to any business where contracts are blocking, rather than enabling, their success.
“Ironclad is very forward-looking and always developing new capabilities to help us manage contracts in a fast, controlled, and collaborative way,” says Ken. “Their support team is incredible and always quick to find a resolution to any issues or questions we have. We look forward to using Ironclad to solve our current, as well as our future problems.”
Ironclad’s activity feed provides us with a centralized place where we all collaborate. So everyone has transparency, decisions can be made faster, and the contract lifecycle can be completed so much quicker.