In a year where the demand from users has been more simplicity and to be able to work in their system of choice, Agiloft arguably took the biscuit with its Winter 2021 release, which sees far greater integration with Salesforce and a new Microsoft Teams app. A redesigned contract assistant also means users can create new automated document templates, potentially driving towards greater standardisation.
The release focuses on helping corporate users to leverage Agiloft from within the application in which they want to live. Given the flight to Teams during the pandemic, it is perhaps no surprise that Agiloft has added an integration to Teams, so that users can, for example, receive updates on a contract from within their channels.
If you haven’t already, it is worth watching this 10-minute product walkthrough by Agiloft’s chief product officer Andy Wishart, who co-founded Contract Express/Business Integrity, which was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2015. Wishart speaks to Legal IT Insider editor Caroline Hill about the new integrations and functionality.
Wishart is widely regarded as a visionary in the contracts space. He is driving towards reinventing digital contracts, which are often thought of as a dead-end digital representation of paper contracts. In the walk through he says: “We are now reimagining contracts as a digital asset and the DNA of the business, defining every one of your business relations, whether inside or outside of the company.”
He added: “A critical part of this release marks that transition and Agiloft is shifting from legal technology to enterprise technology. We are delivering the connected experience so that people in our customers’ organisations and their partners, customers and suppliers are working on contracts in the tools that they trust. That is what the connected experience is all about in this winter release.”
Our in-depth summary is below.
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In a demonstration of the new release given to Legal IT Insider, Wishart talked us through the processes taken by a fictitious company called Vivatech, which is working on a high value deal with Biosphere.
It starts with a request in Salesforce, and in the new release, customers can more easily deploy the Agiloft app into their Salesforce environment. Agiloft has long had a Salesforce app but according to Wishart, the new release means that you can get a new matter up and running in Agiloft within 15 minutes of installing the app. Any permitted person in the business can initiate a contract.
After the contract request is submitted, Agiloft generates a draft contract from a template.
A contract assistant provides easy instructions to populate the contract.
The assistant, located on the right of the screen, also enables you compare clauses in your current document with your library to speed up any changes you need to make. To ensure relevance, Agiloft uses a semantic similarity AI module (advanced search) to surface the most relevant contracts that contain similar clauses.
While high value, complex deals will require lawyers to be involved, Agiloft envisages that specially trained people in sales or procurement will be empowered to undertake an increasing chunk of contract exchanges, freeing up the legal team to focus on more complex matters.
Microsoft Teams App
The new Agiloft for Teams app means that users can receive Agiloft notifications within Teams, such as when a contract has been approved. Notifications can be pushed into specific channels and users are able to view or approve a contract, potentially saving a significant amount of time. The notifications are dynamic, and if the contract is approved, everyone involved receives notification.
In the demonstration Wishart said: “Vivatech have, like many of us living in Teams, created a dedicated channel for Biosphere. Instead of asking the general counsel whether the deal has been signed, now Agiloft for Teams users can get notification directly if the contract needs approval, signing, or in this case, when the deal is done. It helps keeps the team on the same page.”
In order to improve corporate counsel’s ability to track clauses, Agiloft has improved its Tableau integration. This makes it easier to identify which clauses are negotiated most frequently, meaning that those clauses may need to be rebaselined. It is hoped that easier visualisation will help create efficiency and potentially drive standardisation.
Wishart said: “The data itself is so important. At Agiloft we are really focused on elevating the contract from a collection of data to digital assets. The data held in our CLM is incredibly rich, not just about the parties or transactions but the clauses that have been used and changed.”
He adds: “Our Tableau integration is important because it gives you the ability to visualise, analyse and leverage that data. If we have strong data and we can measure the contract performance throughout its lifecycle, then if a supplier is underperforming, the system will alert users to that. It’s part of us helping our customers to be more proactive about understanding the impact of internal or external events.
The final tool is a template designer that enables users to rebaseline clauses. Wishart says: “The final connected experience brings us back to Microsoft Word. We have a new tool for creating and codifying templates – a new template designer – that links to Adobe Sign. It means that lawyers are even more empowered. They can rebaseline clauses but keep the guard rails on. This is a big step for Agiloft in the generation of contracts. Previously we had a more complex, scripted approach to creating a template, now you can point and click.”