How CDW went global with Agiloft’s modern contract system

Widening your CLM’s reach can maximize the benefits of its intended use, but also comes with many challenges.

Measuring the success of your Contract Lifecycle Management system doesn’t stop after its launch.  

In today’s global economy, business needs continuously change and a modern contract system must nimbly accommodate those demands to ensure user buy-in and high utilization that goes beyond borders.  

Whether as part of a project plan or through business growth, integration of business segments and processes into your CLM is essential for successful global expansion. Widening your CLM’s reach can maximize the benefits of its intended use, but also comes with many challenges.  

This was one of the topics of discussion at January’s Agiloft Summit, held in Las Vegas. In his mainstage presentation, Shawn Luedde, CDW’s Senior Manager of Service Contracts and Vetting, shared CDW’s approach to a global, enterprise expansion of Agiloft CLM, their path to success, and how to avoid potential pitfalls along the way. Read along to learn more. 

CDW’s path to CLM selection

As a global IT reseller with more than 300,000 customers spread across 150 countries, CDW is an internationally-known business with a massive and complex contracting arm – servicing more than 21,000 U.S. SOW requests last year alone. 

When CDW decided they were ready to implement a sophisticated CLM system back in 2019, they first did what most companies do: They formed a wish list of features and capabilities for their future solution in the form of an RFP

For CDW, that list included: 

  • A central contract repository 
  • Process flow 
  • Automation 
  • Version control 
  • Actionable analytics and reporting 
  • Contract management 
  • Artificial intelligence 

The next step was one that anyone who has implemented a new technology is all-too familiar with: change management.  

Shawn said CDW’s approach to change management was to target the lawyers and attorneys from CDW’s UK team and convince them of the benefits of CLM and the need for Agiloft. 

“We went to their leaders, we showed them the benefits of what we were seeing in CDW US. We got them to say, ‘This is something that we want,’” Shawn said. 

CDW’s approach to a global expansion of Agiloft

Through the RFP process, CDW ultimately chose Agiloft, going live with their first implementation of the platform in August 2019. The company then chose to stagger out a handful of other go-lives across their various verticals, spreading nearly 15 different implementations across the past three years. 

“We took what I call a foundational iterative approach to contracting,” Shawn explained. “We started with our largest user group, SOWs, and we thought that the best approach would be to start there and then expand onward.” 

Shawn spends about 75% of his daily duties running a global instance of Agiloft, often thinking about things like:  

  • How do I maximize my use of Agiloft?  
  • Are all of my contracts really inside the system, and is it truly a single source of truth?  
  • Is my data being fed by all sources available and is it as useful as it can be?

“I think of Agiloft as kind of the house and home for all of our contracts. And that’s what I’m trying to focus on achieving. But that house is under construction and we’re living in it,” Shawn said. “So as we’re living in this house, how do we get to where we want to go? We’re not maximizing the benefits that we’re seeing here. And really what our goal is, and really the primary focus, what I’m trying to get to with CDW, is completing that house and really having a comprehensive contracting solution.” 

Avoiding potential pitfalls along the way

Shawn said his first takeaway from CDW’s experience was to consider your organization’s IT resources and determine whether they are equipped to fully support the global expansion of a technology solution – both the development and the support

“What we learned from our experience was we had IT support both leading our development and expansion and supporting our current users. Don’t do it. It’s not helpful,” Shawn said. “What ends up happening is they focus on the development and the support goes sideways or the development goes slower than it’s supposed to. I would really recommend keeping those separate if you can, or at least having dedicated resources and allocating them appropriately.” 

Another lesson learned? Have a “flexible timeline,” Shawn said, and don’t introduce a new technology solution to a group of users if it isn’t fully ready. 

“First impression is incredibly important when it comes to CLM, especially when you’re looking at groups that aren’t used to using one,” he said.  

Such groups unfamiliar with CLM, for CDW, included some of the smaller businesses they have recently acquired. Getting those subsidiaries on board with a contracting solution was a challenge at first as many smaller businesses “view CLM as an impediment,” Shawn said.  To convince them of CLM’s benefits, Shawn and his team showed their peers data representing the “urgency” needed in their SOW processes. 

“We went to their leadership. We showed them the time. How much faster you get an Adobe Sign or DocuSign document back, it’s exponential. I mean, it’s like 10 days to one. Once the leadership saw that, there [were] no more questions, we got buy-in.” 

By additionally identifying and communicating with detractors, CDW was able to achieve user “buy-in” with these smaller subsidiaries ultimately embracing Agiloft. 

“Detractors can really make an impact on the success of your expansion and your integration. So we identified those. We talked to the leadership and said, ‘Who doesn’t want to do this?’ And the list was kind of long,” Shawn said. “But we went on a roadshow, we met with them. We met directly with their teams, we talked to their leaders, and then we got them involved in their training. We picked those people to train their peers, and it was incredibly successful for us.” 

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