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Start Smart, Scale Fast: How One Company Nailed Its Global CLM Rollout

By Bernadette Bulacan

BeiGene dreamed big, started smart, and scaled fast in its global implementation of Icertis Contract Intelligence.

In my last blog, I discussed how BeiGene has supported its global mission to fight cancer with a contract intelligence platform that can handle the complexities that come with contracting across borders—namely, the Icertis Contract Intelligence (ICI) platform.

But while I’m always excited to highlight how Icertis’ technology delivers business excellence, what I find most interesting about the BeiGene story is how the company worked internally to craft a contract lifecycle management (CLM) rollout plan that will deliver value for years to come. Leave it to a company tackling something as complex and challenging as curing cancer to be really smart about implementing new tech.

Too often, companies embarking on a CLM journey choose a rudimentary solution that can be stood up fast, avoiding a comprehensive solution they perceive will take years to implement.

BeiGene’s story demonstrates why this is a short-sighted choice. When it set out to choose a CLM, it did not just look at what it needed in the immediate term, but took the time to scope out what it ultimately wanted from the solution in the years to come. It crafted this ambitious plan by bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders: What did the clinical trials team need from a CLM? What about compliance? What about the marketing team that engaged doctors to speak on behalf of their therapies?

“There is nothing more important for us than making sure those clinical trial agreements are operating smoothly. And so I brought in people from the clin-ops team who are working on those clinical trial agreements to work very closely with us on the design to help us to develop the requirements,” Eric Ortman, senior director of legal operations at BeiGene, told me during World Contracting & Commerce's 2020 Vibe Summit. A recent study conducted by Forrester Research validated the benefits of this approach, finding "that firms who involve coalitions of C-suite stakeholders in CLM decision-making and have more fully integrated solutions are better prepared and more confident in managing rapid change."

Notwithstanding this benefit, managing a large coalition of stakeholders can sound daunting and unwieldy, raising the specter of project scope spinning out of control. Yet BeiGene was systematic in its approach, knowing that while a solution should be able to address needs across multiple functions, deployment of solutions would be incremental, with firm priorities and milestones. They broke the deployment into stage gates that have enabled them to iterate and create champions as they expand to more departments and agreement types—with learning and feedback occurring throughout.

At Icertis, we call this the “think big, start smart, scale fast” approach, and BeiGene exemplifies why it can make such an impact at an organization.

Immediate benefits of the platform have included faster supplier contract creation—thanks in large part due to the integrations the procurement team identified as a priority for them. They can also respond to data calls from regulatory bodies much faster now—if the FDA wants to know who its suppliers were for a particular study, BeiGene can now cull that data in hours, not days, and can be sure the data they are providing is complete.

And, again, there is still so much runway. Because of its thoughtful implementation, BeiGene doesn’t need to worry about requiring new technology—leaving them more time to focus on how they’ll beat cancer.

Want to hear more? Stream my conversation with Eric on-demand here.