How Cofense Achieved 100% Adoption and Found Contract Bliss
The Cofense legal team knew they needed a contract management system to modernize their time-consuming and cumbersome contracting process. But the adoption of their first CLM system only made matters worse. Since switching to Ironclad, however, they’ve achieved much faster turnaround times for Sales and Procurement, 100% adoption, and company-wide satisfaction.
This story is part of our ongoing Digital Transformation series, which explores how organizations are adapting their in-house legal teams amidst major changes in how we work. We hope that these stories provide actionable advice that can help organizations as they make their own transitions.
When Cofense, a Virginia-based phishing defense company, first rolled out a contract management system, the software was cumbersome and adoption was difficult. Heather, as a contracts administrator at the company, ended up spending much of her time fixing issues with a software that was supposed to make her life easier.
After about two years, Cofense had enough. The company pulled the plug on the contract management system and switched to Ironclad.
Today, Cofense has adopted contract management across the board. Teams from Sales to Procurement rely on Ironclad to fast track over 1300 contracts a year. For Heather, the contract process has gone from the biggest challenge at work to one of the aspects she enjoys the most.
“Our previous contract management system had all of these confusing and cumbersome parts, so people just didn’t want to adopt it.”
How did this happen? We sat down with Heather to get the full story. She shared with us insights into how different contract lifecycle management systems varied, the features most important to busy legal teams, and how Cofense achieved 100% adoption of contract management technology.
Why did Cofense look for a contract management system in the first place?
Before we had any platform, our contract process was entirely email-based. Our procurement team, vendors, and other partners would email us, and there would be a lot of email threads for the same topic. It was very time-consuming and not cost effective.
In terms of contract risk management, there were also risks for inaccuracy, like wrong versions of contracts. Another key problem was it was easy for email to get missed, and that could be a huge deal. At the end of a quarter, every minute counts.
“With our previous system… it took months to figure out simple tasks like getting a turnaround time. The system had a lot of redundancy and was generally hard to use.”
Given the volume we were working with, we knew we needed a contract lifecycle management system where documents were easily found and tracked. We needed to know what was in the queue and make sure things weren‘t being lost.
What was your experience with your previous contract management system like?
Working with that system was very challenging. For example, getting a contract template configured was very cumbersome. You had to use the design function, and you had to do XYZ in order to get that tab working properly. And if you made a mistake, it was very hard to fix.
Our previous contract management system had all of these confusing and cumbersome parts, so people just didn’t want to adopt it. It required our customers and partners to use the platform to access the document. As a result, many of our customers and partners ended up not using the system.
This became a big challenge for me, since I was the super administrator of the contract management system. Since our customers didn’t end up adopting it, they would send attorneys contracts via email, and the attorneys would then have to contact me because they were working outside the system. So I was going through this time-consuming process of manually overriding approval statuses in our system, emailing myself, and uploading contracts manually just to get them recorded in the system.
“Once I saw Ironclad’s demo, it was on the top of our shortlist. Nobody else was even able to say they could meet all of our requirements.”
I spent a lot of my time fixing issues with our previous contract management system. After a couple of years with it, our team decided we’re not fixing this system anymore. It’s broken, and we’re going to find something new.
Once your team decided to find a new contract management system, how did you evaluate the options?
There were a few steps. First, I searched for “contract management system” and “contract lifecycle management system” online. Then I requested demos from quite a few vendors.
Once I saw lronclad’s demo, it was on the top of our shortlist. Nobody else was even able to say they could meet all of our requirements. There were key features our teams needed to have. Can you accommodate these kinds of agreements? Do you have these integrations? Can you handle the volume?
“Ironclad… is so much easier and more efficient to use. Sales and Procurement are now a lot happier with Legal’s turnaround time and the visibility into their contracts.”
We had at least 3-4 demos with Ironclad, and they were awesome. After the initial demo with me, I brought in my team members for a second demo. For those who couldn’t make it, we had a third demo. Then we had a fourth demo for our procurement team. If I could‘ve chosen Ironclad based on its demos, I would’ve done it.
What have been the biggest differences between your life with your previous system and now with Ironclad?
I live and breathe Ironclad. It’s so much easier and more efficient to use. Sales and Procurement are now a lot happier with Legal’s turnaround time and the visibility into their contracts.
One of the things I absolutely love about Ironclad is the reporting function. We track many different types of metrics, like volume and the types of contracts we work on. With Ironclad, I put a start date and an end date, and it gives me charts and graphs that contain all the data that we need.
“One of the things I absolutely love about Ironclad is the reporting function.”
With our previous system, we could not get the data that we needed. It took months to figure out simple tasks like getting a turnaround time. They also only provided Excel spreadsheets, so I need to create my own charts. The system had a lot of redundancy and was generally hard to use.
How do you ensure widespread adoption after the difficulty with your previous contract management system?
We really work to make sure our Sales and Procurement teams are sticking with the Ironclad platform. I’m on Ironclad all the time, and I regularly train our teams to ensure the right approaches and steps are being taken. Today we have 169 active workflows. And we don’t have a problem with adoption anymore. Now, everyone uses lronclad’s workflows.