Opportunities in automated contract lifecycle management

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Contracts and related agreements or terms and conditions are the formal basis of business and other relationships between people and organisations. For many reasons, the efficient creation and management of contracts is becoming increasingly vital. In particular, automated contract lifecycle management (CLM) - the entire process of formulating, executing and reviewing of contracts throughout their duration or lifecycle - is becoming essential for any organisation that needs to comply with proliferating legislation, changes in trading regulations and demands for better corporate governance.

Memba Ltd., is a specialist developer and supplier of CLM software applications. Its products and services are designed to help public and private sector organisations efficiently create and better manage all types of internal and external contract documents and related agreements. The company claims to be Europes only such developer and competes in a rapidly expanding, global marketplace, mostly dominated by North American vendors. Resellers are an important channel to market for Memba.

Jacques Chereau, founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Memba Ltd, talks about the company's channel strategy.


Q - What is Membas route to market?

A - Memba is developing a number of channels to market to meet a broad range of requirements from end users. First, it is championing the re-seller route by seeking and appointing those who can service a particular geography or vertical industry. To date this approach has been used for Membas Genesis contract authoring solution only, but is now expanding to include Membas Context integrated CLM system.

Second, it is appointing original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners who wish to add contract-authoring capabilities to their application suites. Some of these OEM partners market competitive CLM solutions, but they lack some of the expertise or industry specific applications offered by Memba. This approach helps the company gain market share in areas where otherwise it might not be represented.

Third, Memba sells its CLM applications directly to end users where they are either within one of Membas vertical market specialisations, such as the pharmaceutical industry, or where the end user has expressed a specific desire to work with the authors of the software.

Q - Why do you think partners and customers choose Memba? And, why should new partners choose to work with Memba?

A - There are several reasons why the partners and customers indicated earlier choose Memba. The first and most obvious reason is that the companys software fills a gap in these organisations current application portfolios. As demands on contract creation and management become an increasingly pressing issue that cannot be ignored, it is being recognised that any way to automate the process must be considered.

Some of our partners are established content management vendors. They also recognise that automated contract management is becoming essential in many organisations. The use of standard administrative software for contract authoring and management, such as word processing, spreadsheet and database applications, has substantial limitations and lacks specialised functionality. Writing a contract and its subsequent management needs specialised and integrated functions such as a contact directory, a catalogue of products and services, custom events (review dates, payment dates, etc.) and other dedicated features.

Membas CLM solution manages contracts as a set of linked documents, relationships and processes and enforces compliance rules across the entire lifecycle. This includes formation, execution and review of contracts. It lets standard administrative software be used where appropriate, such as Word and Excel, but provides a means to bridge the gap between these documents and records in transactional-type software, such as ERP systems. Thus, our partners may benefit by devising added value solutions and identifying new marketing and sales opportunities in their particular domains of expertise.

As well as earning a fee for every license sold, Membas partners have the opportunity to earn more revenue from such added-value services as template creation, implementation and training. Another benefit is the high level of support from Memba that our partners will testify to. We provide product training for all partners and work alongside them to help win sales. We actively generate leads for our partners and have developed programmes that share the cost of marketing.

Q - How do you support your channel?

A - We support the channel in a variety of ways. Our products are recognised as leading edge and offer tangible, measurable benefits to users, making the applications easier to sell. We provide partners with funds for marketing and lead generation to help promote CLM solutions. Examples include press relations and lead generation activities with re-seller partners such as breakfast seminars and interviews with targeted journalists. We train partners in the use of our products and work alongside them whenever required to help close business.

Memba invests in advertising, PR and tradeshows to raise awareness of the company and its products. The products are truly international, providing support for several languages and multi currency functions. Partners also have access to technical support via the telephone, e-mail and a dedicated partner web site. Through the web site they may leverage contact with other partners, as well as downloading Memba marketing and technical collateral.

Q - What benefits and incentives do you offer to your existing partners/new partners?

A - All partners are treated equally. We share license revenues fairly and strive to give as much exclusivity as possible for partners who are dealing within a particular geography or vertical market. We want our partners to be competing with rival products, not each other.

Q - At what times of the year do you recruit new partners?

A - We continually search for new, industry-focused partners throughout the world. Reseller companies who sell or support document management, office automation or ERP solutions, that want to extend their portfolio to include CLM, should contact Memba for further information. Companies who service pharmaceuticals, healthcare, finance, construction, document management, aerospace or government and public sector organisations stand to benefit from adding CLM to their portfolios.

Q - Do you want new partners now?

A - Yes.

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