Taking accountability: How one European company increased compliance and operational efficiency

Learn how European pharmaceutical company Norgine increased compliance and operational efficiency with Agiloft CLM.

It didn’t take long for Michael Lee, Senior Director of Patents at Norgine, to know he had a problem on his hands. 

Outside investors had recently become involved with Norgine, a leading European specialist pharmaceutical company, and the investors had a lot of questions – questions Norgine couldn’t easily answer. 

Questions like: “What are your material contracts, and when do they expire?” Or “How many contractual relationships do you have with organizations in Egypt?”  

Because Norgine didn’t have a contract lifecycle management solution or even a centralized document repository in place, these types of queries were nearly impossible to answer, requiring hours and hours of manual work and employees’ historical knowledge to sort through documents saved in emails, file cabinets, and more. In fact, it was so difficult to locate the current version of contracts that Norgine even found itself in the “embarrassing” position of asking counterparties for copies of their own agreements, Lee said. 

And that wasn’t the only problem. Investors had incredibly strict compliance standards that were even more stringent than the compliance measures Norgine was already taking. 

“We’re a pharmaceutical company, so we’re very heavily regulated anyway. We always thought ourselves as being very compliant, but nowhere near compliant enough for [our investor],” Lee said. “They ask us all sorts of compliance-based questions where we need to dig into our contracts.” 

Their queries quickly “exposed a huge gap,” Lee said in a recent virtual wine and cheese tasting event hosted by Agiloft. 
“I’m confident that had we had a fully integrated repository, we would’ve been able to make that process much, much more efficient, and answer the questions much more readily.”  

With that realization, the search for a proper CLM was born. 

Making a business case

Because the decision to pursue a CLM was made mid-quarter, the lack of assigned budget posed a challenge for Lee and his team. They had to find an effective way to outline the immense need and business justification for purchasing a solution. 

“This was ultimately an unbudgeted project that came at the time when the organization was already going through a corporate transformation in readiness for growing the organization in the way that [the investor] wants,” Lee explained. “So, getting the business case put together and approved was a significant challenge.” 

He continued: “Demonstrating the need to prioritize the investment over the other hundred competing projects … was difficult and perseverance is certainly key. But for me, understanding what we’re trying to achieve was critical.” 

Three pillars of transformation

Norgine identified three main pillars to drive the transformation of its contract management processes: compliance, risk reduction, and efficiency.  

1. Compliance: Given the pharmaceutical industry’s stringent compliance requirements, Norgine recognized the need to improve its compliance standards. The lack of systems and processes had resulted in areas where compliance fell short of expectations. This became a powerful lever to build a business case for the implementation of a centralized contract management system.  

2. Risk Reduction: The fragmented nature of contract ownership and the absence of a central repository posed significant risks for the company. Legal teams often struggled to access the latest versions of contracts, leading to delays and potential legal issues.

3. Efficiency: While driving efficiency was a key objective, quantifying the potential cost savings proved challenging. Norgine recognized the transformative potential of contract management tools in streamlining processes and reducing manual efforts.  

Assessing and implementing Agiloft

During the selection process, Norgine considered four vendors. Price and functionality were key considerations for Norgine, and Agiloft stood out as the preferred choice, Lee said. 

“There [are] so many players out there and I think you have to look at everything from what you want to achieve, how much do you want to invest, what’s your roadmap, what’s important to you,” he said. 

Agiloft’s licensing model, combined with its comprehensive functionality and excellent flexibility, made it a more powerful option. Agiloft’s consistent recognition in G2 and Gartner reports further solidified their decision, he said. 

To help the organization “sign on the dotted line,” Norgine conducted a “pilot” phase to demonstrate Agiloft’s capabilities and to gain broader support from the organization. 

In this “Phase 1,” Lee’s team worked closely with Agiloft’s Professional Services and Implementation teams to configure a basic Proof of Concept (PoC). For three months, 25 end users were given access to the system for the purpose of providing feedback and further aligning the solution with Norgine’s business processes. 

“We knew it was an imperfect sort of configuration, but it gave us the ability to both promote the project within the organization, but also get some feedback about what was working, what wasn’t working, what did people find that they liked,” Lee said. 

Following the three-month PoC, the team has moved into “Phase 2,” digging deeper into the configurations and Agiloft’s “out of the box” functionalities to custom tailor the solution for their needs. 

Looking toward the future

Norgine is currently focused on completing the rollout of Agiloft and migrating roughly 3,000 to 5,000 agreements to their CLM.   

They plan to leverage Agiloft’s integration capabilities to establish connectivity with other systems, such as ServiceNow, to ensure data consistency and reduce duplication. They also hope to utilize Agiloft’s Clause Library and AI functionalities.  

“I think one of my key learnings with this is you have to start small, but have bold ambitions, but start small and be realistic,” he said. “Otherwise, you’ll never get the thing off the ground. So never say never, but we’re not trying to rule the world and take over all systems with Agiloft on day one.” 

Lee said he plans to use a “carrot and stick” approach to get user buy-in across the enterprise. 

“There was quite a lot of appetite to make some change and I think a lot of people see the need, but everyone’s overworked. Everyone’s got far too many things to do in their day,” he said. “So it’s about trying to make the process as easy as possible and reduce the burden on individuals. But there is some heavy lift and we are looking to use technology as far as we can to support that migration process.” 

Although Norgine is still early in its rollout, Lee said he is enthusiastic about the future of contract management at Norgine. 

“We are on our journey, we’re not complete yet, but I’m convinced that this is going to be really transformative,” he said. 

Do you need help answering difficult questions about your contracts? Learn more about Agiloft CLM by booking a demo today. 

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