5 tips for a successful CLM implementation in biotech and pharma

Learn more about Ikena Oncology's search for a CLM and the tips they learned for successful implementation.

When you find what works, stick with it – and refine it.  

Or, at least, that’s what a seasoned legal operations professional did when she took up her most recent position at Ikena Oncology, a Boston-based biotech company that develops novel cancer therapeutics across a wide range of mutations and patient populations.  

For many years, Ikena only had a limited, repository-style contract management system, managing all of its contracts through email.  

The legal operations team knew they needed to make changes and implement a more robust contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution – and luckily, they knew just what to recommend for the job. 
“I selected and wanted to bring Agiloft into this organization because I liked it so much at my previous company,” said a former Ikena legal operational professional in a recent webinar. “I have looked at other CLMs as well and I have enjoyed the flexibility of Agiloft.”  

Read on to learn more about Ikena’s search for a CLM solution and the tips their legal operations team learned for successful CLM implementations in the biotech and pharma industries. 

How to successfully implement CLM in biotech and pharma

1. Don’t be ‘pennywise and pound foolish’ when CLM shopping

“Think about your organization’s current needs and what the future may bring,” she advised. “Cheaper is not always better and that can be within anything. Sometimes you buy something from Walmart and it’s great. And other times, you should have went to Nordstrom. So it’s kind of the same idea.” 

2. Do the necessary prep work

“We did pre-work and got everything organized in the beginning. Looking back, I would do it again. It added so much value and made things much simpler for everyone across the organization. If you put in the time and effort at the beginning, you will reap benefits in the end,” she said. 

3. Think of others’ needs and get buy-in across the enterprise

“You can’t just look at it from one department’s point of view…Sometimes we forget that these types of systems also affect other areas such as finance or IT, and even the business units or the business owners. So it was imperative, and I think it was a very important decision, to bring in from the executive team at the top, getting that buy-in, explaining what the system was going to do, how it’s going to improve efficiencies and was going to help the company as a whole,” she said. 

“It’s really important that all of these departments felt like, ‘Okay, I’m being heard.’ This system’s not only going to help just legal, but it’s going to help finance, it’s going to help IT. It’s going to organize all of our agreements that we currently have in place and it’s going to make future agreements and future contracts easier to maintain and to store.” 

4. Import legacy data early in the process

When this legal operations professional implemented Agiloft at her first company, they took a “clean up as you go” mentality to their imported legacy data, resulting in headaches for her and her team. But with hindsight being 20/20, she chose to take a different approach during her second implementation at Ikena. 

“You think to yourself, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll go back to it.’ And the reality is we’re so busy that you tend to not have the time to go do it.” she explained. “So it was important. I knew this already and decided to try to approach it from the front end, rather than the back end…. it made life easier for those in the company across the business units that were looking for their contracts and looking to make sure that that data was imported correctly.” 

5. Provide adequate and continuous training  

Not only did the legal operations professional ensure all the current employees received Agiloft training at the beginning of the implementation, she also made sure the company’s onboarding process included CLM training for all new employees.  

Then, she offered what she called “continuous training,” checking in with department heads once a quarter to assess their needs, their use of Agiloft, and any questions or concerns they may have. 

“Along the way, we’ve been able to make various changes to the system to make it not only better for us, but better for them.” she said.  

Watch the webinar to learn more about how Ikena partnered with Agiloft to transform their contracting process.

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