Expert Interview Series: Matt Lhoumeau of Concord

by Jaap van Duijvenbode on September 13, 2016

Matt Lhoumeau is the CEO of Concord, a company that is changing the way businesses create, sign and file contracts. Concord is on a mission to make sure no one ever has to manage contracts manually ever again.
Here Matt discusses the benefits of paperless contract management. read on:

Tell us about Concord. What services do you offer?
The idea for Concord came in 2009 when I was working at a previous position with the CEO of an important group. The CEO tasked me with renegotiating the terms of 500 vendor agreements, to improve the company margins. Although the importance of the responsibility thrilled me at first, I quickly realized how challenging of a task it would be. I spent my first month on the project digging through filing cabinets, only to find that many of the contracts were actually missing. It turned into six months in contract hell.

Over the course of this experience, I realized that contract management was not where it should be. I asked, "Why are we still stuck in the Stone Age when it comes to contracts when we have modern solutions to manage everything else in a company?" I knew that this was a huge problem that needed to be fixed, and that is how Concord was born.

I envisioned Concord as a means to take contracts out of the Stone Age. It is one of the few platforms to natively support the entire contract lifecycle from drafting, negotiating and signing, to managing executed contracts. No additional third-party software solutions are needed for e-Signature or storage, and there are no other extra costs.

Concord keeps contracts, and all the features needed to manage those contracts, organized in one single platform. With Concord, users can store, draft, edit and manage their contracts online in real-time, making drawn out back-and-forth email chains a thing of the past. To name just a few features, automated templates make drafting a contract simple and quick, native e-Signature allows contracts to be executed instantly, and automated deadline alerts remind all parties when important dates are coming up.

What are the most common pain points of your customers? How do you help them?
My experience managing contracts by hand was not an uncommon one. Ninety-five percent of all companies still manage their contracts manually, and these practices are slow and inefficient. People are frustrated when they can't easily do something as simple as locating their contracts. Another big problem is dispersed technologies. Businesses are frustrated that in order to manage a contract's lifecycle, they need subscriptions to an e-Signature tool, a contract management tool, and so forth, and then they use email to send the contracts back and forth.

Concord addresses the core of these issues. Concord keeps contracts organized and safe and provides the ability for our customers to find them instantly. It provides all the tools needed for the contract lifecycle and empowers people to be more collaborative when drafting, executing, and managing them. Concord provides online editing, a built-in e-Signature tool, online discussions, notifications, version control, track-changes, and more. All these features are aimed at simplifying contract management to the point that everyone can use our software with little to no training.

Why do you think it's time for businesses to change the way they manage contracts?
Contract management is where finance was 30 years ago. Contracts are the last sector in a company to be digitized, but now the technology is finally to a point that good software is being produced. Cloud technology enables users to edit and collaborate on contracts online in real-time, and execute those contracts with e-Signatures. Companies are also beginning to better understand the huge savings and increased efficiency that comes from contract management software.

How have collaborative file platforms changed the business world?
Collaboration software has made huge contributions to the way businesses stay organized. Good collaboration software simplifies the way people manage projects and communicate, both internally and externally. Simplifying and automating everything that can be is a key factor to staying competitive in today's fast-paced and ever-accelerating marketplace.

What are the benefits of collaborative platforms to businesses?
Collaborative platforms are transforming the way teams work together and stay in touch with their customers. Concord is an example of how collaborative software can eliminate the endless back-and-forth by email, which really helps keep things easy to find and transparent. Collaborative software also keeps teams connected at all times, allowing key people to have access to the information they need from any location and at any time.

What are some best practices for making the shift from managing processes via paper to handling them online - especially as they relate to business contracts?
When it comes to shifting from paper processes to paperless processes, there are three main things to consider.

What needs to happen first, is to analyze your current processes. Making sure that processes are clear before they begin to be translated online will help ensure a successful migration. Next, identify a pilot department. Choose a department of within your business to be take the leadership role in the transition. Implement the contract management software in that department, and then use the results of the implementation to better explore, understand, and expand it to the rest of the company. Last, import your paper documents into your paperless system in phases. It does not need to happen in a single day. Scheduling the task of importing documents over a given period can make the initial transition much less overwhelming.

What have been some of the most innovative uses you've observed of these online collaboration tools?
Just from Concord's perspective, there have been plenty of examples of how collaboration tools have changed the way businesses operate. For example, record labels have been able to share contracts out with their artists, construction companies have been able to share contracts with their developers, non-profits are able to share their donor agreements with their donors, etc. Across all industries, things are more accessible and better organized than ever before.

The most innovative, game-changing use of collaboration software though, has been the ability that companies now have to share contracts with outside counsel, while still being able to keep the information internal. In other words, they do not have to email, redline and then repeat. Edits can be made online, in real-time.

How do you think these tools will continue to evolve? What online innovations are you most excited about for how they'll help businesses operate more efficiently and effectively?
An interesting trend is the development of artificial intelligence, and how that can play a role in collaboration software. AI could have the potential to assist users in their understanding and creation or certain types of documents in the future.

Learn more about how your company can start centralizing, consolidating and collaborating on data. Download the Talon FAST™ solution overview.

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