Today we are releasing the seventh episode of Icertis’ podcast series, “Contracts Over Coffee.” This series brings together the most influential voices in the Icertis Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) partner ecosystem to discuss all things related to contracting while enjoying a delicious coffee beverage.
In this episode, our senior director of partner marketing, Anne Baker, was joined by Ben Vanderberg, senior technical product evangelist for digital media at Adobe. Adobe and Adobe Sign are great partners of ours at Icertis.
Here are four takeaways from our chat:
1. Digitization Is a Generational Thing
Anne: What do you think is the biggest challenge with contracting today in particular?
Ben: One of the biggest is culture—decades and decades of people contracting a certain way. And not everybody always likes change. Although more recently, with things like COVID, it’s definitely been an eye-opener: “Hey, maybe we do need to change . Maybe we can’t depend on the photocopiers, print everything out and review that, walk over to someone’s desk. Maybe we need to find a smoother, more electronic way to work, especially if we’re not going to be able to be in the same place.”
Also, generationally things have been changing. Younger generations say, “Why are you giving me a piece of paper? Why are you faxing this to me? Why are you mailing this to me?” Those changes are helping accelerate some of those needs.
2. Digital Processes Make Companies Less Dependent on Institutional Knowledge
Anne: So to follow up, where do you think contracting is headed?
Ben: We’re going to find less and less people signing on paper. [Digitization] makes it easier for them to track things. When you’re working with contract management, it’s not just that point, it’s every step before that and every step afterwards and every step going back and repeating itself. With digital, you don’t have to depend as much on institutional knowledge for your business continuity. So I think that one big trend is making sure the entire process end-to-end is digital: redlining, contracting, negotiation, renegotiation during renewal.
3. Change Starts With Challenging Convention
Anne: What do you think people would be surprised to know about contracting?
Ben: Just how much people are old-school. I have spent the last several years working with large enterprise companies, and the biggest thing I’ve always found is that there are still a lot of people that work with paper. But a lot of times people don’t ask, “Why can’t we do something different?” It is amazing how much difference asking that question can make. I think that’s the biggest surprise—there are always things that make you go “Huh! I thought fax disappeared 20 years ago.”
4. Only You Can Cure Technophobia
Anne: So what is one contracting tip you wish everybody knew?
Ben: If you’re not using electronic signatures, then you’re missing out on all that time. You could be spending time at home with your kids instead of having to stress about that phone call of someone saying “I signed it” or watching that FedEx tracking to make sure that the contract is there.
Also, be an advocate, because change doesn’t happen overnight. You have to get other people to work the same way as you do. Even something as simple as going, “Hey, why don’t we try this out? If you’re not comfortable, we’ll slow down a little bit.” And then people can internalize that. It’s the same thing with redlining or any other steps of the contracting process. And that starts breaking down that technophobia.
Ben and Anne wrapped up this episode with a little personal history, revealing that he became a history buff after growing up in Vienna, and telling us how that historical outlook gives him a whole new perspective on the wonders of innovation, from e-voting to online learning. Make sure to listen to the full podcast to hear more about that—and also about how Adobe joined Icertis and other companies for a “virtual coffee shop” roundtable .
Want to read more? Check out our eBook below, produced with Adobe, Microsoft and PROS below, or visit adobe.com.