K2 Partnering Solutions is a worldwide specialist at the forefront of technology and talent for over 20 years. K2 offers consultative solutions that deliver productivity and innovation to clients, placing both permanent and contract consultancy positions with companies to help them transform and achieve the fastest path to success. Additionally, as a partner of Salesforce and SAP, K2 provides expert in-house training for these solutions.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the leader in consultative staffing for transformation saw great potential in bringing the pieces of its own business together with a contract lifecycle management system. Its chief goal was to ensure that countless contractual interactions with internal staff and clients flowed efficiently. It chose DocuSign CLM from the DocuSign Agreement Cloud™; a providential decision that’s taken the business from strength to strength.
Agreements: Lifeblood of the Business
Sofia Dias Warburton is the Global Compliance Practice Leader for K2, and the business project manager responsible for the implementation of DocuSign CLM. She explains:
With this mindset, K2 Partnering began its journey into CLM, starting with Compliance.
The Compliance Challenge
That nature of K2’s business demands some very specific conditions in the contracts it enters into with clients. These need to be mirrored in consultants’ contracts; and everything properly tracked. “With a large European client-base, GDPR compliance is also an important factor,” explains Sofia.
One way to drive compliance is through standardisation. Therefore, Sofia’s team spent countless hours setting up contract templates, manually. When the time came to scope the requirements for automation via CLM (contract lifecycle management), Sofia was shocked to discover the company had accumulated more than 300 template types serving the core business. There were 200 more relating to the engagement and management of candidates. Continuing manually simply wouldn’t be viable.
More pressing was the need to introduce greater control over contract risk exposure. Within the existing process, Sofia’s team would spend days chasing internal colleagues for the current status on contract risk and payment terms. The business was reliant on Excel spreadsheets to deliver this information, which made it near impossible to gain full visibility and accuracy at a single point in time.
DocuSign CLM provided a solution in the form of automated templates, responsive to user input. Using these dynamic documents, pre-defined clauses drop into user-generated contracts to meet the terms and conditions of individual engagements. Additionally, Salesforce integration via DocuSign APIs allows for the auto-population of these contracts with data from CRM records. Everything is written back into Salesforce on completion, eliminating the need for re-keying. It’s changing the game, in terms of compliance.
Embedded eSignature, also from the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, triggers the sending of contracts from inside of Salesforce at the click of a button, which impresses the sales team. For recipients, the experience is equally improved; they have the ability to tap-to-sign their paperwork from a mobile device.
In terms of GDPR, DocuSign CLM is GDPR compliant and offers K2 a safe place to store its data. It has moved all corporate governance information and documentation to a designated folder within its CLM system, which users now access via Salesforce. This setup provides the reassurance of strict security around who has access to what information, and what they can do with it.
Better Visibility and Risk Control
Beyond workflow acceleration, an invaluable gain to K2 is the ability to properly manage risk. Where previously contracts would go out to clients, suppliers and internal colleagues with no indication as to whether they had received them, much less reviewed them, history tracking in DocuSign now shines a light on all contract-related activity. It’s driving 100% document visibility. “We can see exactly when a client has received an agreement, and when they have opened it, so, we’re able to make more accurate predictions around contracts,” says Sofia.
Her team completes monthly reports on risk exposure across all contracts in minutes, which allows Chief Compliance & Legal Officer Simo Kubheka to report accurately to the K2 Board on total exposure to liability.
DocuSign CLM provides the compliance team with another favourite feature: attribute location within agreements. The team runs regular reporting showing contracts signed in the previous month, including risk attributes: “We can easily look at things like indemnity penalties in assessing total risk, whereas before it was a much harder task.”
Payment terms are equally easy to track in DocuSign. Compliance reporting for the Global Finance Team outlines all payment terms accepted in the previous month. “We have unprecedented control; we are no longer steering the business around unknown events,” Sofia says.
According to Simo, K2 is infinitely more aware of the risk presented to and currently impacting the business, which is particularly important in expanding the business geographically and vertically;
This has given the group a centralised structure, ensuring better controls, quality assurance and visibility of key information. Further to this, K2 have now have built standard operating procedures in various areas of their Legal, Compliance and HR departments.
Automating the Onboarding of Talent
With a proven technology for modernising its system of agreement, K2 looked for other contract-heavy-areas within the business that might benefit from DocuSign CLM. Human Resources, with its multitude of contractor employment agreements, was the ideal place to expand.
K2 defined templates to automate candidate interactions for everything from letters of engagement to onboarding packs. “When a new employee starts, onboarding agreements are sent directly from Salesforce and automatically received back there” Sofia says. “Before, they had to be emailed out and copied back into Salesforce manually.”
The process to manually update client templates before was so time consuming and cumbersome that was easily one of the least favourite tasks of the compliance team, recalls Sofia. “It would involve downloading the current version, working on it in Adobe Acrobat Pro, which allowed editing but only to a limited extent. Then you would hope your changes would require pushing text to another page. Finally you would upload your new template into Salesforce.”
These days, updating templates online happens in only a couple of minutes or less, without downloading, or worrying about formatting (as templates are based on MS Office Word). Equally, version tracking is no longer a challenge.
The business is seeing notable productivity gains, of up to 50%, in the contract review process through the application of an eSignature workflow. From the clients’ viewpoint it’s shaving valuable days off the delivery of much needed contractor, at incalculable value.
“We’ll aim for a 100% productivity gain, of course,” states Sofia, adding that change management is a key component in continually driving adoption. Now, with contractor agreements flowing far more smoothly through the business, K2 is expanding its HR implementation to include the systematic communication of internal policies to all staff.
Learning & Development
Now with two successful applications of CLM under its belt, K2 strode confidently towards its next opportunity for updating agreement processes. This was with the Learning & Development team. Having witnessed the reduction of risk in the compliance business, this team was keen to explore DocuSign CLM for bringing down the risk associated with access to company IP within learning materials. These were previously stored and managed in Google Docs, which while versatile, gave rise to concerns over access and version control.
Moving learning materials into DocuSign CLM has resolved any such concerns. “This was an important juncture in our adoption of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud,” explains Sofia. “It’s the point where we found ourselves no longer pigeon-holing DocuSign CLM as a contract management tool. We began to see its true potential for managing enterprise data.”
Newly onboard is the Operations team, taking advantage of CLM for managing and storing all content relating to vendors. Accessing vendor information from the same location as deals helps with cross-checking, and drives both accuracy and efficiency.
Most recently the marketing department has been introduced to CLM. “The marketing team was won over within the first 5 minutes of systems training by my team,” states Sofia, who is in the process of overseeing the migration of marketing data from Google Drive to a DocuSign CLM content library. The security assurances of GDPR compliance and IP management were a big factor. As was version control and the ability to store data-heavy media like video.
According to Sofia; “DocuSign CLM can do so much more than people imagine. Whenever a data management challenge arises, we ask ourselves first whether we can resolve it using our existing DocuSign CLM implementation”.
To underline this, she shares that the organisation is now looking at how DocuSign CLM might be applied to reduce friction within Finance, through integration with K2’s payment solution.
Global Enterprise Data Solution
Ultimately, Sofia envisages DocuSign CLM growing to become the de facto enterprise data solution for the entire business, connecting with every core business system to support the preparation, execution and management of documents across departments and geographies.
The API-first design of the DocuSign platform supports this strategy, as Sofia can attest as her team managed the implementation of DocuSign CLM itself, in only three months. “It’s intuitive and built to integrate easily with both back and front office environments,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons why we’ve replaced our existing Adobe eSignature solution with eSignature from the DocuSign Agreement Cloud; it gives us far more flexibility in how we execute contracts across the business.
With DocuSign CLM, the sky is the limit for K2.