Implementors are the forefront of client development with our contract management software, Contract Insight®. They work with clients daily to help configure, teach, and optimize each unique situation our clients present. That’s why I interviewed Richard DeMarco, CobbleStone’s Implementation Team Lead and Senior Implementor, about his experience working with CobbleStone users, important parts of the system, and what kind of benefits he’s seen clients receive from using our award-winning software, Contract Insight®. His knowledge from client experiences can help you understand the ease of implementation and what to expect when first starting to use Contract Insight.
An Interview With the Implementation Team Lead
What is the biggest ROI clients receive from working with a CobbleStone implementor?
Richard: A passing of knowledge, understanding the functionality of the system. Someone from outside the client’s organization who’s seen other client experiences can apply those situations and best practices to help optimize the system configurations.
What do clients say about Contract Insight when they first start using it?
Richard: Based on feedback from clients who have tried other systems, and have tried other manual methods of contract management, they said that CobbleStone is easy to use from day one. The ability to configure the system exactly how they want is something they consider a great benefit. Configuring other contract management systems may create costs for every additional configuration because of limitations in the software, or it may not even be possible to make the change at all. With our software, the configurations that can be made are just about endless. We have clients who want just a few changes made to their system on day one and others who choose to configure every aspect of their system.
Who do you suggest should work with the implementor to increase their knowledge of the system?
Richard: The primary contacts after kick-off are system admin(s). Their role is to support the administration of the system. As we progress through implementation, we may work with some of the end-users and, once the system is rolled out, they typically become the primary contact and expert.
What can clients expect from working with an implementor?
Richard: From day one, we’re the face and main contact of the company, helping you configure the system. The role of the implementor is to create a plan from beginning to end, including admin and end-user training. We can also help with planning out data management and answering any unique questions users may have about using the system.
From your experience, what part of the system do contract managers find to be most useful?
Richard: Alerts and reports. They allow users to understand when things are due, know what their approaching workload is, see reports updated daily, and see when things are up for renewal, which clients find to be of great benefit. This is, of course, aside from the contract repository, which is a huge benefit to all who use our contract management system. Once clients lay the foundation of our contract lifecycle solution, they can take advantage of more advanced features like Contract Insight artificial intelligence, cycle-time analysis, risk mitigation, and more.
From your experience, what part of the system do procurement teams find to be most useful?
Richard: It depends on what was purchased. If they purchased the eSourcing module, that will be their primary focus because they’re focused on bids and procurement. But if they don’t have that, they’ll be focused on contract management, contract records, contract types, etc. Procurement specialists love the easy requisition management and automated workflow built into Contract Insight, which provides self-serve procurement initiation.
Do you suggest clients using our software for contract management should also explore using it for eProcurement and eSourcing as well? If so, why?
Richard: Yes, especially if you utilize or have those needs within your organization – it keeps everything under the same umbrella. It’s better to manage your purchase orders, invoices, contracts, etc all in the same system for transparency and convenience without having to constantly transfer back and forth between systems. A fully integrated Source-to-Contract solution provides end-to-end procurement visibility.
Does integrated eSignature software benefit contract and procurement teams? If so, in what ways?
Richard: Esign tools help with housing everything in the same place. Any document uploaded to the system, or within the system, can easily be sent for eSignatures. If you’re generating documents from within the system it’s easy to just send the document without it ever leaving the system, but it also makes signing third-party paper easier to sign too. Users always know where the document is with easy to understand dashboards.
How can clients optimize a work session with an implementor?
Richard: By being prepared. In most cases the implementor will provide the client with best practice recommendations and will explain what topics will be discussed during the session. In contrast, the implementor will try to understand how the client intends to use the system to figure out what will work best for their team. CobbleStone clients have an advantage because of our 20+ years of implementing contract management software.
How long do clients usually use the system for before signing up for training?
Richard: Most clients choose training and it’s typically the first thing we schedule and complete after the kick-off. The relationship will extend from an account rep to an implementor at this time. The implementor will begin with a review session of the product as a whole, understanding the goals and next steps.
What would you suggest to a new CobbleStone client when they are learning how to use our software?
Richard: Depending on how you want to use the system, it can be as simple as a contract records management system, or as advanced as a full contract lifecycle management solution, managing contracts from cradle-to-grave. Clients should start out in steps to learn all areas of the system so they can take full advantage of it.
About the Implementor
Richard DeMarco has been a Senior Software Implementor and Team Lead at CobbleStone since 2015 with experience managing teams and projects. Outside of leading the implementation team, Richard works with clients during implementation and optimization sessions, handling about 10 to 20 unique situation each month. He finds Contract Insight’s Ad-Hoc Reports feature and Workflow Manager tool to be especially useful to the clients he works with since they are simple to understand but provide fast results and better transparency. He enjoys working with clients to help them take full advantage of everything Contract Insight has to offer.
For more real-life examples of implementation success at CobbleStone, check out the Implementor’s Story Blog Series.