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A Case Study in Making the CLM Switch


Alice Alfano

January 25, 2021

Many people who are on their first CLM solution, sometimes referred to as first-generation CLM users, struggle to take the plunge and switch from their out-of-date current CLM to something modern and functional. The decision can be overwhelming and even paralyzing.

Although it can seem like a huge undertaking, changing your CLM doesn't need to be scary. In our most recent webinar, Demystifying the Fear of Changing Your CLM: A Case Study in Making the Switch, we speak with Struan Erlenborn, Associate Director of Contract Management at ExecOnline, about how his organization made the switch.

Waving Goodbye

The first step in switching is knowing when to say goodbye. And for first-generation CLM users, that can be hard to identify. Lack of support, having limited integrations available, or excessive costs are all signs that an upgrade may be needed.

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When polling the audience about what their primary technology challenge is with their current CLM solution, the overwhelming majority of participants (discounting the ones who did not have a CLM solution in place) answered limited integrations with other systems. If you are experiencing this, it is a warning sign that you might need to switch.  

For Struan, the warning sign was that his old CLM was not keeping up with the growth of his company. He needed a solution that didn't require an army to update contract templates and could keep things going at high speed. And through Malbek's self-service tools, he knew he had to make the switch because the old vendor didn't allow flexibility to make changes easily on the fly. 

Knowing What You Need

Take a step back and look at the business. Look at what you need and see if something can be engineered anew rather than making a suboptimal jump just to keep an old technology. For Struan, Malbek had all the items that he needed like AI capabilities to streamline the process and dashboards for monitoring legal operations. These were things that were holding him back because his old vendor's options were sub-par. 

Knowing what you need in order to grow is key for knowing which vendor to choose. It's a process with a checklist that is catered to what you do on a daily basis with your CLM. If something isn't working, there needs to be a fix in your new CLM solution that benefits all the cross-functional groups within the organization. Cross functionality and making sure that integrations are strong and benefit more than just the legal team is a principle that Malbek is founded on. No silos, just ease of communication and use for all parties that are involved. 

Making the Switch

To make the switch as painless as possible, Struan recommends that you map out as much of the process ahead of time. This includes how authoring will be done and by whom as well as what the clause library will look like. Keeping a handle on every aspect is key to making the switch stress free. 

Having the right implementation partner makes all the difference too. Struan was able to implement Malbek in just three months because of the pre-planning and mapping he did beforehand as well as the relationship he had with his implementation partners.

Having a flexible and agile system is also important for this. Being able to make a change yourself with Malbek's self-service tools or add a connector with a few clicks turns the switch from a painstaking process to something you have full visibility and control over. 

The Malbek Difference

The feature that was unique to Malbek was the self-service configurability. Struan celebrated that having the reigns in his hands for his Malbek system was like night and day. Not having to talk to someone in IT and spend hours just to update a template or create a workflow streamlined his contracting process and made all the difference to his productivity and efficiency. Less time spent on making the solution work means that there is more time to get business done. 

Another positive feature that made all the difference is Malbek's integration with other business applications. Struan explained that Malbek acts like a living entity within Salesforce and allows procurement and finance to work together as one. This sort of cooperation has made comprehensive approval workflows a breeze.


Want to see the full webinar? See it here:

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