REVIEWER: Rebecca Cazares, associate director, contracts manager, Nektar Therapeutics.

BACKGROUND: Nektar Therapeutics is a leading biopharmaceutical company developing a robust pipeline of novel therapeutics based on its advanced polymer conjugate chemistry technology platform. Nektar also partners with the top biopharmaceutical companies to bring new products to market.

PLATFORMS: SharePoint Server 2007 and the Windows Server 2008 operating system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Our company deals with hundreds of complex supplier, partner and revenue contracts across our three locations in San Francisco, California, Huntsville, Alabama and Hyderabad, India. To manage contracts and associated obligations, we relied on manual methods. For example, Excel spreadsheets were traditionally used to track expiration dates, milestones and other pertinent information. Large revenue contracts were managed by the finance department, while business owners were responsible for managing their own contracts. In addition to being a time-consuming and inefficient process, it was extremely difficult to demonstrate compliance with governing policies and procedures. Since deploying the Matrix solution, we have greatly streamlined our contract management process, reclaiming valuable staff time. For example, previously the development of quarterly reports for the finance department was a laborious, time-consuming process. Employees from each of our offices would spend two to three weeks manually pulling and scanning documents, while I developed the reports. Today, it takes one person less than two hours. In addition to the significant time savings, the information provided within the reports is much more detailed, and we are no longer limited to quarterly reports. The Matrix Solution also alleviates compliance risks. With an automated process in place, we can quickly and easily demonstrate to auditors that every contract that is initiated and executed went through the appropriate approval process and that the persons who signed off has responsibility for that financial obligation.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Matrix application is very intuitive and easy to use. With a simple click of a button, contract owners and key stakeholders can easily access contracts and contract metadata. Effective dates, term dates, legal clauses, etc. are readily available. Utilizing the systems' automated alert feature, we have eliminated the need for manual monitoring of contracts. For contracts that require advance notifications to avoid automatic renewal, we have the ability to set proactive notifications to warn contract stakeholders in 30, 60, 90 or however many days in advance. This information can be captured and pulled into reports as needed. Proactive alerts can also be set to notify stakeholders when key milestones are coming up, when they have been met and when deadlines are approaching. The Matrix system also gives us the ability to quickly initiate a search and determine whether or not a contract is in effect. No more waiting for the person who is requesting the services to find a contract and mull through the details. This is a huge time savings for departments that span multiple offices and share contracts.

STRENGTHS: In addition to being very simple to use, the business intelligence gained is company-wide. Reports can be easily generated and include as little or as much detail as needed.

WEAKNESSES: The system’s reporting features, which are functionally effective, lacked a measure of graphical manipulation that would allow us to visually see the performance metrics across our portfolio.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our primary goal was to find a contract lifecycle management system that would provide a single, common repository to house all contract information. It had to be easily accessible to staff at each of our sites and allow for cross-company access and sharing of contract information. It also had to adhere to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance mandates. Because we deal with a variety of contracts, a solution that targets one specific issue (such as intellectual property or sales and marketing-related contracts) would not suffice. The Matrix system met each of our requirements while offering many other benefits, including the ability to customize our solution and integration with SharePoint.

DELIVERABLES: Because all contracts are initiated through the Matrix system, contractual documents and related metadata is captured and readily available for download. Key stakeholders in any of our offices can access contract information and pull reports at any time. Compliance is quick and easy to demonstrate routinely, or upon request.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The CLM Matrix team has been exceptional to work with. Having access to a technical support person during implementation was extremely valuable in ensuring setup was correct without the additional expense of requiring someone to be on site assisting with setup and changes. Given the complexity of the system we required (which included a complex cross routing processes for approval and a complex data management system), the tech support was very valuable in ensuring the system was configured correctly.

DOCUMENTATION: Individuals in our legal and finance departments and other key stakeholders can access contract information and pull reports at any time. Reports can be quickly and easily tailored to provide as much or as little information as desired.

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