You’ve probably heard that we’ve recently released the M-Files Contract Management solution! I thought it would be interesting to sit down with M-Files Product Manager, Frank Taliano, and ask him a few questions about it.
Why did you choose to build-out the contract management process for the next M-Files Solutions App?
We picked contract management to be the next solution app for a few reasons. First, when I was a solutions engineer, this was a process a lot of our clients wanted to automate—therefore, it seemed organic to package it as a solution. Secondly, if you think about it, contracts are how all business relationships are managed, so it’s really important to get it right. Thirdly, it’s in our wheelhouse in regards to the flexibility of M-Files. The contract management process serves as a layer of compliance for organizations, and M-Files handles this type of compliance (with milestone management), really well. Additionally, on the buy/sell side, contract management protects revenue by preventing maverick spend and mitigating inadvertent renewals and non-renewals. Because it performs both compliance and revenue functions, I think M-Files Contract Management is a powerful solution for many organizations.
Who was the client you had in mind when building the product?
Initially, I had corporate legal departments in mind. Specifically, I was thinking about the attorneys drafting and managing versions of contracts as they route through an approval process. Eventually, I broadened my thinking and realized that M-Files Contract Management could be useful to purchasing departments (buy side) for managing active and inactive contracts as well as for sales departments (sell side) to control pricing, terms and conditions. The fact that one product can fit the needs of many job roles and processes speaks to the configurability, flexibility and scalability of the M-Files platform.
What are the three coolest features/functions of M-Files Contract Management?
I only get three? Ok, then.
- Mobility: It’s crucial for attorneys, purchasing agents, sales managers, etc. to be able to work from home or on the road. Picture corporate counsel sitting in an airport waiting for a flight. She gets an email notification on her phone (or tablet) that she’s got a contract draft waiting for approval. She clicks on the link in the email and can review and approve the contract.
- Workflow: Contracting is a process, so a robust workflow is fundamental. Out of the box, the solution can perform both sequential and parallel processing. Sequential workflows have a definite beginning and end. Mostly the process goes from the first activity to the next, one after another, until the end is reached. For example, you have a list of contract reviewers in an assigned order, workflow sends review notifications to the reviewers in the pre-determined order. No reviewer can start their review unless the previous reviewer approves the contract. With parallel workflows, you can assign a contract review cycle so that multiple people can review the same document at the same time.
- Milestone Management: Milestones are actions that are required to take place on a contract. Milestone tracking is especially useful for the buy/sell sides. In M-Files Contract Management, you can track and report on milestones. I think this is super slick because we can track three types of milestones: expiration, standard and periodic. Expiration milestones track the contract expiration date and post-actions. Standard milestones track all contract events that are based on due dates, for example, project delivery. Period milestones track recurring events such as a quarterly payment obligation.