Conga Novatus: Automating the Entire Contract Lifecycle

Chris King, CTO and Doug Rybacki, VP-Product Management Today, efficiency is a necessity for implementing and main¬taining a foolproof Enterprise Contract Management (ECM) system–and doing so can re¬sult in substantial revenues and cost savings, while minimiz¬ing business risk. Businesses are looking to leverage smarter technologies in their contract management system to make it possible for teams to handle ever-expanding demands. With execu-tive teams typically hesitant to commit additional resources to contract management functions, CIOs need a cost-effective system that can allow lean teams to design the patterns of contract behaviors for repeated use without getting hands-on and knee -deep in every contract.

That’s where Conga Novatus comes in. The founders of Conga Novatus, a division of Conga, identified a growing need among enterprises for a configurable, scalable solution to help businesses manage contracts across any number of categories. A comprehensive ECM solution to administer all aspects of the contract lifecycle, Conga Novatus gets “smarter” based on the continued input of its users. The technology handles everything from the initial request from a business user who identifies a need, through document creation, negotiation and signature, and then on to long-term management of dates and contractual terms. Developed with help from the User Advisory Council, the company is looking to solve business challenges that complicate the contract lifecycle for customers like WD-40, Sony and HD Supply. Their customer-centric dashboard provides a real-time, personalized display of data and statistics, while a rapid implementation ensures customers’ contracts are on track quickly. “The technology we’ve created for Conga Novatus has unlocked new levels of innovation in enterprise contract management, helping smaller teams of contract managers facilitate large volumes of contracts,” says Chris King, Chief Technology Officer, Conga Novatus. “The system learns from customers’ contract patterns, and natural language processing and machine learning help the system to become more automated and effective.” In short, the system will ingest contract documents, understand the nature of the agreement, assess risk profiles, associate proper data indexing, and initiate the appropriate workflows.

Customized Approach for Customers and Partners

According to King, organizations are hungry for easily customizable solutions. Conga Novatus users–from the request only user to the enterprise systems administrator–are able to select their preferred features when using the solution, with settings that are customizable for the options desired. All screens, requests, fields and reports are configurable to individual needs. On top of that, the flows that drive the process of contract activation–including generation, approvals and signatures–are all flexible. The technology is configurable for every organization’s needs, from the data that’s imperative to capture, search and report on, to the workflows that enforce compliancy for the types of contracts managed.

ECM is complex and can vary significantly from sector to sector or even business to business

One company that implemented Conga Novatus was Hospice of the Valley, an organization with more than 25 locations throughout the Phoenix metro area with hundreds of vendors in its network. Hospice of the Valley was having increasing difficulty keeping track of and managing their contracts. The organization sought an automated system that alerted the right people at the right time when a contract was coming up for renewal to act as a trigger to notify the other party in plenty of time for review and negotiations. Conga Novatus matched the organization’s need for a fully-integrated contact lifecycle management system that allows for easy, on-time reporting for planning and evaluation. What’s more, the technology has been able to grow with Hospice of the Valley’s facilities and IT departments.

Conga Novatus’ partner programs are designed to help partners implement the technology in the most effective way. Conga Vice President of Product Management, Doug Rybacki explains: “The Conga partner community is a thriving ecosystem that enables partners to better meet customer business requirements in use cases across verticals from small businesses to global enterprises. Our ecosystem has more than 300 System Integration (SI) partners who recommend Conga to customers and perform consulting and integration services across our platform of solutions. We pride ourselves on providing dedicated business development and engineering resources to help onboard customers faster, and robust education programs including certifications, access to licenses, co-selling opportunities and more.”

Future Enhancements

Looking ahead, Conga Novatus is focused heavily on advancing its machine learning capabilities to help legal teams get quicker insights into contracts. Specifically, these new capabilities will enable legal teams to visualize their contractual data and gain insights into their contracting processes by surfacing trends in negotiations. This can help streamline and shorten negotiation cycles by addressing the issues in the templates or creating pre-approved language for those scenarios. Ultimately, they will be able to handle document-first profile creation, where much of the data can be extracted automatically by the system through uploading the document for analysis.

Following a much-anticipated rebrand that marked product line growth with a fresh brand design and website, Conga Novatus is wholly committed to providing customers with enterprise-grade infrastructure, security and products. Just after this rebranding, Conga Novatus announced a new product, Redlining–a standalone redlining tool on the Salesforce AppExchange that allows the Salesforce ecosystem to negotiate contracts without ever leaving Salesforce–which was unveiled in beta at Dreamforce this year. The proprietary email messaging tool tracks redlining communication and negotiation, and allows views of all changes directly in Salesforce without leaving the platform.
A unique tracking ID is inserted in email, and any attached documents are tied back to the original contract record.

“Many sales teams see contract negotiation as the slowest and most cumbersome part of the Sales process, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Rybacki. “Conga Redlining streamlines and accelerates contract negotiations so you can close deals faster, all without leaving Salesforce. You can send contracts directly from Salesforce and compare versions when they come back, maintaining a full contract history within easy reach in your Salesforce CRM. Salesforce users can easily view and approve changes to business terms, such as payment details and terms, with fewer approval hurdles.

"The technology we’ve created for Conga Novatus has unlocked new levels of innovation in enterprise contract management"

Redlining joins Conga in the top paid applications on the AppExchange; and, thanks to the combination of a team of engineers working with the latest technologies in contract management and a never-say-never customer focus, Conga Novatus is poised to lead the next generation of enterprise contract management, with a pivotal role in the Salesforce ecosystem as a Salesforce Platinum ISV partner.

“Conga is one of only 33 Salesforce Platinum ISV partners,” says Rybacki. “It is one of the top revenue generating partners for Salesforce, and, as we entered the Platinum tier, several new executives joined the company and we revamped our partnership with Salesforce to ensure our alignment was perfect. Salesforce provided guidance regarding the aspects of our roadmap that are vital to their customers’ processes as they relate to specific areas of the Salesforce platform, with the technical team supporting our efforts to best leverage our technology, including how best to launch Conga Redlining to facilitate Salesforce deals.”

Exciting Outlook for ECM

Moving forward, King and Rybacki anticipate a learning curve to master all ECM functionality that is available, but they are embracing this challenge.

“Everyone–ourselves included–has more to learn every day. We’ll learn more about the needs of our customers and partners, new technology, new regulations, competitive forces, and what makes our team happy and effective,” says King. “Contracts are core to all business: They drive the relationships that keep everything running. Gaining insights into your contracts to make sure to extract the most value out of those relationships and track deliverables while assuring milestones are met will help keep an organization running efficiently.”

“ECM is complex and can vary significantly from sector to sector or even business to business,” adds Rybacki. “Our goal is to make an intuitive but powerful platform since the users range from infrequent requestors of contracts all the way to the power users using the application every day. We try to eliminate the learning curve for those infrequent users and minimize it for the power users while still providing them the tools they need to be much more efficient.”

At the end of the day, Rybacki believes, “Take good care of your customers and your team. You're building a culture as much as you are building a product.”

Conga Novatus

Broomfield, CO

Chris King, CTO and Doug Rybacki, VP-Product Management

Provides users with the ability to satisfy a wide range of contract management requirements across unlimited use cases while supporting specific business needs

Whitepapers of Conga Novatus

Conga Novatus