How Vonage Accelerates Revenue with High-Impact Legal Ops
Legal operations professionals are under increasing pressure from within their organizations to create greater efficiencies and streamline their contract management functions. At Vonage, these professionals were tasked with swiftly and accurately providing department-specific contract data across the organization. Watch this on-demand webinar to hear from Vonage Senior Legal Operations Manager Jordan Kadec and Evisort Director of Product Marketing Jay Combs in an interactive discussion about how you can:
Jay Combs (00:00:03):
All right. We're going to do the two-minute rule here and get started. Jordan, are you ready to do this? Awesome. All right. Well, welcome everybody. I'm Jay Combs, I'm the director of product marketing here at Evisort. And I appreciate everybody taking the time to join us today. I know there's a lot going on in the world, so grateful that you could all take an hour to come and talk legal ops with us and learn from each other. Also, want to wish everybody a happy St. Patrick's Day. I know folks might be headed out to celebrate or you're working on cooking, or boiling your corned beef and cabbage, so thanks again for taking the time.
Before we dive in, just want to go over some basic stuff for the format of the webinar. Jordan and I are going to be doing a little back and forth interview but throughout, you guys can ask questions in the Q & A box. If you go to the bottom of your Zoom menu, there should be a little button that says Q & A. If you pop that up, you can enter questions in there. And we'll do our best to answer them throughout the session, but we will also save time at the end to answer questions and hear from you guys, talk directly to Jordan that way. I'm also going to run a couple poll questions throughout the interview, just to get some data, see what's going on in the audience, see what you guys' priorities are, so we can tailor the conversation as we go.
And with that said, I'm going to take off this title screen and hopefully everybody can see myself and Jordan. So let's dive in. So I'm excited to introduce and talk with Jordan Chapnik Kadec about her and Vonage's legal operations journey to transform how her legal, sales and finance teams improved how they work together to drive revenue and protect the business. Jordan is a senior legal operations manager at Vonage and she's got a pretty varied multidisciplinary background that spans sales, corporate development, contract management, now legal operations. She holds degrees in organizational psychology, business administration and highly relevant to this conversation. She recently earned a certificate in artificial intelligence and business strategy from MIT's Sloan School of Management. Welcome, Jordan.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:02:35):
Hi, Jay. I'm excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me. Looking forward to spend our next hour together discussing really issues close to my day-to-day function.
Jay Combs (00:02:55):
Awesome. All right. Just one thing in the chat here, we can only see Jay, looks like it's set to show whomever's talking. All right. I am going to just fix the view here. Thanks for the heads-up on that. Always fun to work through the technical difficulties. The view, speaker. All right. How's that? Mike D. does that look good? Better? Perfect. Cool. All right.
Well, before we ask any questions, I first want to get a sense from the audience. I'm going to run our first poll, that's just to see what kind of teams and roles we have out in the audience. So just reply to what your primary function is and that will help us get a better understanding of the audience. Appreciate it. All right. While folks are filling that out, let's dive in. So the first big question I really want to ask is, could you just describe your role but more importantly, talk about why legal operations is so critical to Vonage, the different teams you work with, and why it's important to driving revenue.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:04:19):
A huge question, so you have to limit me and say, "Hey, Jordan, you can talk only five minutes, 10 minutes about that." Shall we start by saying that when I started legal operations, when it was seven years ago, I was pretty sure it's some position that was made up. And after three years, well, two year, three years, I realized it's a real thing and I was over, overexcited understanding that I'm really standing with all the people just at the source, the very beginning of a new industry that just out there to change the world. So this is how I feel and without any exaggeration, all I would say that for my last three years working for Vonage and being part of legal operations.
If I'm looking at legal operations function and we relatively small team of legal operations. I would say that the main areas that legal operations really covers and impacts, it's a first part will be all the financial side, budget management, vendor management, let's put it together and then the other side is everything that traditionally comes with operation function, which is efficiencies, processes, data management and all of that.
And I think the third part that really very unique and a position of legal operations being a new industry and a new function is advising. It can be sales management positions, legal leadership on a strategic direction that we should take to be in a much better place, in a competitive place, next year, tomorrow, in three years, in five years. So it's really taking all the knowledge from the operation finance, and understanding about the technology, very advanced technology that legal industry provides, put it together and see how it makes us champions.
Jay Combs (00:06:45):
Right on. So it seems like there's three main functions, the finance, the budgeting, the operational efficiency and the advisory aspect to legal ops. How does that, I guess, translate to helping the legal team? Is legal ops really just about helping legal? How does that translate to the broader business?
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:07:10):
Oh, Jay, it all started good, it all started good. So firstly, let me just say no offense but I really see legal operations not as function that here to help. I think help, it's a really definition of a different business unit, not legal operations. Legal operations is here not in my mind, not helping to implement someone else's strategy but to provide a vision, a new vision of legal operations that say, hey guys, let me show you, this is the direction, this is the better, maybe, way to look at this, this is the better way to approach it. So I think this is a real sensitive point in my mind, in our understanding, in my understanding of legal operations saying, we're not helping, we creating something, we're showing the way. So that's different. To your point, we're not helping. To the other point, I do think that legal operation's creating the strategy, taking everything that we have, advantage in the industry, putting it together and saying, hey, we can control all the data that we have coming our directions from contracts, and it can have a tremendous impact.
Jay Combs (00:08:43):
Yeah. Talk a little bit more about, I guess, pulling the data from contracts, why is that important to your role and then also influencing the legal team, the finance team, the sales team? What does that mean for your role, I guess, exactly?
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:09:03):
Let me start by saying that the basic understanding that today technology, the stage that we able to lab machines do what we are human failing to do is a thing, meaning if in the past, attorney, you can remember certain amount of data, you can be a really proficient, certain amount of provisions that you remember, but there is a limit to what a human can do. There is no limit to what technology can do. So to your point, what the technology is able to do today is to take a huge amount of data, analyze it and pool what do you need at this specific point? What do you need at your need of regroup now? What do you need to employ right now to a specific position, to a specific case?
And it necessarily can be equally right for finance partners that we're working with, for sales partners we're working with, for just let's say the last regulations, right? The regulations that may change around us in this hectic world or the components are constantly changing. You necessarily need to go to the source, and the source will always be the data that you're pulling from your agreements. You just need a very smart tool that will be able to analyze this data quickly for you.
Jay Combs (00:10:46):
Obviously, as somebody who works for a contract management company, seeing contracts as a source of intelligence, a data that's often hard to analyze or get information out of, I think this leads to actually our next whole question. I'm curious to see, I'm going to post this right now, post this to the audience to see what challenges focusing on legal ops or legal teams are facing with their contracts. And tying this to the conversation around data, and I think this also speaks to some of the use cases we're going to get into later in the conversation.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:11:28):
I hope it's a multiple choice, otherwise you need all about [inaudible 00:11:33].
Jay Combs (00:11:34):
Yes. And we probably could put some more answers in there, but we've got four primary ones that we've heard from the market quite a bit. But back to data. Before we get into the use case, I want to understand how you use data to drive success in your role? Why is it so important in your day-to-day, but also for the strategic progress of your team and your business unit?
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:12:05):
I think in that sense, Vonage is not different from any other company, meaning that companies used to, we all used to file things in folders, we're all used to have a hard copies and now the world is changing, well, the last, you can go 10 years ago and see where we stand with the simplest thing that for us, there's just essentials these days and they were not available. And this technology impacts us and our corporate life. So it is no difference to it.
An international company, not even company that working locally, we're all running into the same issue. We have much more data that coming through legal departments. We have much more contracts that running through us, that hits exactly the point where we've said there is a certain limit to what a human mind can deal with, right? We are very good at analyzing, we're very good at making conclusions. As a human, we are very good in taking and compare and have a deeper discussions about... What we're not good about is searching huge amounts of data.
And maybe it sounds in a very basic, something that I say, let's look at the case and those cases, those efficiencies, you're not necessarily plan them, they're just running your direction because their need exists. Let me take you an example if you mind and share with you just some case. One, our finance department said, "Hey guys, let's just do some work around taxes," and legal operations necessarily, legal departments will necessarily partner with the tax department, with the wider finance department, so let's touch base on this. Tax issues is one of the most complex issues. And necessarily when you work with a big amount of customers, and I wish we all have or will keep having a big amount of customers. And this is where you sell a product or you sell service, and they necessarily need to charge customers with the sales taxes. For that purpose, for that simple purpose, you necessarily need to know where is your customer sits, or where is your customer doing their business. Okay?
So let's say your ideal company, and you have all this data pulled already from the contracts, or not, or partially. So what do you do? I can share with you that it was in my mind, perfect example, just perfect example for this webinar and for my personal experience with Evisort, when our tax department reached out and said, "Can you help us? We have a new product that we launched, and now we want to start collect data about the location of the customers." And the sales goes up. That's perfect, that's really great, but we cannot keep observing taxes, so what do we do? We just have to find those data points about the addresses. So you necessarily go to legal department and say, "Hey guys, do you have a dress for every customer that we signed for this period of time?" Human mind cannot just deal with that. Otherwise, you just pay for a headcount who will sit and do this robotic work. Copy paste, copy paste.
So now we took a challenge, we say, "No we have this super smart tool, let's see what they can do." We met with Evisort and guess what Evisort said, "Actually we do not collect this data," so that part was disappointing. And then the next step was, "Can we train your algorithm?" And the answer was yes. So that was for me, each time you hear about we need to train algorithm, it is years of work, it's years of work. But we just all ask. As a rule of thumb, the better algorithm is, the better platform is less training data you need to provide, so this is a very important rule we need to always remember, is there's a lot of technology out there. And then you go, "Not a big deal. We can provide 10,000 agreements for a service provider to train their algorithm on our data."
But we can do it for the first time but then for the next challenge you have, how much data you still need to provide to train on a new thing. So in our case, I really took maybe 10 or 15 agreements, which is very low training data in my data amount. It's fairly, very, very low. For those who works closely with contracts, you will necessarily know that it's more than one template or two or three templates that will cover the same sailed area. Sometimes it's your agreement, sometimes it's a third party. Long story short, I do want to not want worry you with the details. However, we're able to train, algorithm and pull the data.
To be brutally honest with you, we will not be able to pull 100% of the data on their addresses. However, it was more than zero. Okay? So it was more than they had, they didn't have anything. So we were able, in a very simple exercise to pull 60 or 70% of the data on the addresses. It is an amazing store, saving human labor, long hours. And again, going back to understanding that when the time is right, you are able to regroup very quickly. You're able to go and extract this data, you able to go and analyze this data very quickly because of the technology, because of the technology.
Jay Combs (00:19:02):
I know for a lot of people, I think once we get start talking about algorithms, you think you have to have a data science degree to understand what's going on. You just went through a lot of stuff so I want to just break it down because there was a lot in there. And the first thing that I heard in here was, you got a new product line that you were starting to sell, and you weren't tracking maybe all the data that you needed to successfully optimize that business or protect the business, accelerating revenue or driving revenue isn't always about just getting more and more, but it's also making sure, I think, protecting the profit that you do have or the revenue that you do get, whether it be from taxes or from risk, or from other things that might happen that could eat the margin.
So there was information around an address that you were talking about. How come you didn't, I guess, track that up front? What happens in these processes as you're rolling out a new business line, why wouldn't you track all that data up front? Why not just keep it top of mind from the beginning?
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:20:06):
Is this is a good question. This is a good question. I think the truth is, my experience working for corporate for the last 15 years is that usually corporate transactions covered by several platforms. You will necessarily have finance representation, you will necessarily have oracle, again in the corporates usually, you will have some finance representation that will collect all the revenue before taxes, after the taxes. You will have this very traditional platform data collection. And then you will also have a platform that will cover all the sales side. So we have to remember that corporates start with a puzzle, corporate start with a position when they collected data from different sources, this is how it exists.
And then remember that, I think we still from the contract state of point, we still in a transaction to understand that how we collect the data and how we take all our paper, all our contracts and making it a game changer, making it a data. There is a difference because data is like a play-doh, right? You can take a play-doh and you can do the fanciest thing you want, but you need a play-doh. So our contracts, we first we need to pull it through this sausage machine. Okay? That will be able to... I'm sorry, [inaudible 00:22:15]. I'm using, for everyone who's hungry, about the sausage machine.
So you necessarily need to understand that this data, those contract, this is priceless thing. This is a priceless thing that you have in a company. This is your customers, the data that you have in those customers signed with those customers that no one, no human can remember. So I think, let me say, we legal operations, we're a little bit late to the party, right? We already have important guys around the table, we have finance, so this is very well established industry with a very sharp understanding how they manage their budget, how they control the finance data, how they report to the board of directors based on this priceless finance data that they have.
The part that we are dealing with is the customer data, the risk data that comes directly from contracts. We will not be able to do anything with this data until the big corporates and small corporates and all who wants to join this digital transformation, who take their contracts and make them a play dough that they able to play with. I think as a company, Jay, to your question, I think as a company we're still in this transaction, so sometimes when we are launching a new product, we not necessarily think about, oh in the long run, we'll probably need this and that. You're starting some pilot, you're starting something new, it's not necessarily an established process already. So each platform that's existing place will collect the essentials. So finance will immediately collect the revenue. This is the first thing that they will collect.
Salesforce, just so this is aware of an example, Salesforce, sales platform will necessarily collect how many sales, how fast are done, all the classic pipelines. And the space that made unfilled, can I say unfilled? No one fulfilling it, is collecting this part of data. It's always there. It's always there. The way example that I gave you about the taxes. It's not about the taxes, it's about launching something new that I think every leader of most of the companies this modern days will say they facing new challenges, that they can not just go with some book from the MBA or whatever degree. They cannot just go to some MBA book, chapter three, line four and say, "Ah, right, we have this case." There is some things that happening around us. Again, go to the last sanctions with the Russia, who could imagine the United States, European companies need to very quickly regroup and see how do they do the new transactions, how do they able to minimize the risk, how they able to reinvest.
So all those actions that company leaders need to take, they not necessarily know what they will be required to do tomorrow, in two days, in three days, next year. So it is not about knowing necessarily exactly what will happen. Maybe in our case if there's another product manager smarter, faster, they will plan for it then you're good. You don't need any platforms because you know have such a great management skills in your team. However, we all know that there is a certain limit to planning well, there is some things that you cannot plan. And in that case, in this gap, this is exactly in my mind, the success. This is the gap that you make yourself exceptional and not just good. This is when you plan to be prepared for unknown. So in my mind, this is to be prepared to unknown. This is where smart data that pulled from contracts, from the source make the difference. It was a long answer. I'm so sorry.
Jay Combs (00:27:33):
No, I mean the key thing I took away from that it's agility. Being able to respond to different scenarios or events, or go back and answer questions with maybe data that you haven't historically tracked across multiple business teams is really, really important. And by its nature, it's a cross-functional role. I think there's a couple things to dig into here. One, you're working with a lot of different systems and different teams. And as a result, who owns the data? How do you get it? How can you bring it into a single source of truth so you can mine it for answers, whether it's finding addresses for certain tax codes or regulatory compliance. And then this concept of being able to track information that you historically haven't because you just can't plan for the future. You don't know what's going to happen. We saw it when COVID happened, we saw it with force majeure. A lot of folks had to go figure out which vendors or customers that had force majeure clauses in their contracts. Or more recently, I know we had that for international businesses with GDPR, there's a deadline coming up at the end of the year where you got to make sure you have the latest up to date standard contractual clauses in your contract.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:28:50):
Very true, very true.
Jay Combs (00:28:52):
and it's going to continue to change. You're constantly chasing this. So maybe you can talk about how have you set up your systems working with other teams. How have you set up your systems to be able to go back and basically future proof, I guess, your ability to respond to these business questions? And talk about what's possible. I think probably if you're not familiar with some of the technology that's out there today, do you have to hire, do you go to legal outsourcing to go through thousands of contracts, or can it be done relatively simply? You mentioned something about an algorithm earlier, but just how easy or hard is it to actually go back and pull data out of contracts that you haven't tracked before, and work with other teams while doing it?
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:29:40):
I think depends. I think it depends. It depends what you have in place. Again, to answer this question, I think each one who listening to this webinar needs firstly to analyze what they have in their home base. If there's a case of the company who may have 90% of the agreements, those are standard agreements, no special conditions and everything on your paper. So I would say those companies in a really good place, and they probably can and will act great without having strong piece of technology that will help them to manage the data. This is one side of, how should I call it? For-
Jay Combs (00:30:57):
The contracting world of the paper, obviously.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:30:59):
Jay Combs (00:31:00):
You should be lucky to only have contracts on your own paper. I know that's not the case.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:31:10):
Yes. And then, on the honest side of the scale, right? You will have company, well only third party paper. And a big amount of contracts that are constantly changing. So you almost do not have a standard. I assume most of the companies will be somewhere in between. So if you make any decision, what will be the best way to approach, if I understand correctly the questions Jay, if you thinking with yourself, "Okay, so what will be the best step for me to take? Which direction should shouldn't go?" I would start firstly with checking where is your data? Where is it? I know in a box, on Google Drive, where is that? Ideally, it will be in some digital form. It can be Words, PDFs, images. If you have hard copies, move them. Move them. Lately, I don't remember when it was the last time when I used my credit card, I pay with Apple, pay my phone, I leave my home, I don't have keys and I don't have a credit card, I have a code on my door and I scan my payments with the Apple pay.
So this is the same. If you have hard copy paper, make it digital, make it all digital. And then from this point going forward, understand what is you need, what you from this data. Again, if you're on a scale that 90% of the data standard, this is probably the simplest tool that will be able to screen your data and analyze. If you were somewhere in between, depends on a complexity, depends on what you may need from your data. You will know how complex is that. And then, the third component that in my experience, people not necessarily thinking about is how easy is that tool that you will decide to have, to work with your data, to analyze your data? How easy it will connect to all existing tools that you already have in place, right? And what I mean by that? I'll say again, we're last to the party, right?
Finance is there, they killing it. Salesforce is there, Salesforce is amazing. They collecting data, they pushing sales processes, they collect data, they exist, they are part of the corporate environment. It will exist in every place, so you necessarily, I think, as a legal operation will think about some tool that almost naturally may pull the data from those sources. Almost naturally, the easiest way, the less effort you will need to connect to those existing tools, to those existing platforms to pull data from them. Better for you. Better for you, right? Because obviously as most of the legal departments know, no one is waiting for us and saying, "Hey guys, come on, what platform do you have for us? We're really looking to work with it." So, people are like, we have this and we have that. It's not really exactly what we necessarily need and we struggle with that.I mean we're fine, we're fine. We're good. So everyone is fine and good. So if you want to really make a change, so we really have to go through the change management with the new tool, whatever tool you get. So don't make your life complicated. Make something that starts with a less effort, less effort, less training information that you need to provide to train your algorithm, make sure that you have data that you can really feed to this tool, and make sure it's not hard on your existing ecosystem. It's not hard for you to pull the data.
Jay Combs (00:36:06):
Just to clarify some of that, so pulling in the sources of contracts, where do the contracts live? Being able to quickly obviously keep them where they are because there's many other departments that continue to use those systems. And whatever system that legal ops is going to use, it has to maintain the integrity of those existing systems. And so being able to bring that data into a single source of truth.
And then when you're talking about training models, being able to start with just a couple examples of text, be it in the case of your revenue and tax example, it was just a business address, which is really in theory straightforward to pullout. And it sounds like you were using Evisort to basically feed a couple examples of where that was showing up in your contracts, and you're able to feed that then to the finance team without disrupting their systems whatsoever and get the answer that helped them really figure out how to optimize tax strategy. And so, even though it's a data question, it really levels up to quite a big business challenge in solution that you solved.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:37:13):
It is. It is. It is. And I think really the magic is that it seems from the outside that really, with little effort, you can provide the complex questions, and you can seamlessly to adjust to changes inside and outside of the company.
Jay Combs (00:37:37):
Right on. What are, I guess, some of the changes that you're seeing coming down the pipe this year. Does the legal ops team have a set of one or two, three big priorities that you want to address related to contract management or related to the business as a whole? And if so, what are those? And as you answer that question, I'm also going to run another poll question around priorities related to contracting for the audience here. So, when you guys are ready, and please share what your priorities are.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:38:11):
I can talk about Vonage priorities, but obviously the priorities is necessarily directed to this stage. You identify yourself as a legal operations, as legal department, how mature is your start point? How mature is your start point? I think that really will lead you to your less priority. At Vonage, we firmly believe that you have to start with the really good foundations. You really have to start with the foundations. It is necessarily will be annoying part of the job because the foundation it will necessarily require for to deal with cleaning your data, mapping existing processes, not necessarily legal processes, but understanding across the company, what is your sales processes. And this is extremely important because this knowledge will drive you to understand where do you want to go?
So for Vonage, I think we currently the position where we have a good foundation that we will work on. And this year, as 2022 already closing Q1. I cannot believe that already in March. So I think this year will be remarkable year for Vonage because at Vonage we have this understanding that, and when I say understanding, let me rephrase it. This year I sense that we have this buy in, and I know this is a wide understanding and legal operations and of the buy in. I can talk, it doesn't matter what I say, but until my words going to reach the people who hold the strings, it does not matter. I can assure you that will stand and talk and explain to people who holding the strings why it's important. But once you have your buy-in, you can go forward. You can go forward because you will necessarily will need with a change management.
And so this is what this year we going to start doing, and this is by cleaning our data, which is extremely important. A few colleagues of mine went through this process and I think the results are remarkable. Remarkable. How accurate is the data that you pulling out, what type of reports you able to pull out? It's unspeakable. Really, you can sense it only if you have a clean data, you can really rely on this data. Again, maybe it's not 100%, right? Who's perfect? No one. I don't know, maybe there's a couple of guys here who participate, they are, but I'm not. So what I'm saying is that our expectation of the technology will not be the next thing, the next perfect thing. It is not. It is not the perfect thing. But it will do so much more than we, human by ourselves, capable to do. It will really, really, really change the world.
So putting this aside, so cleaning the data, to your point Jay, and the other thing is with an understanding of where the process is currently mapped. Remember Salesforce is always there, Jira is always there. Those guys just around a corner, they have their ways. For us this year is really pulling those. But remember, very gently. The less interruption that we may be to sales, and really coping those processes from Jira, Salesforce to, in our case, workflows that sits in Evisort.
And just this morning I had a very interesting discussion with business operations from one of our business units and the discussion was, "You know guys, we have so many platforms and why, seriously, why do you..." I mean it was in much more polite way, but the discussion was, "You bring in one more platform? Don't we have enough my?" Answer was, "Every platform that we use is shaped for something very specific." So, Jira shaped for IT, it's a ticketing system, right? It's shaped for something. This is how the architecture of this platform will work.
I mean you can go around this way or another, but this is how it's structured. There is a specific limit, there's a technical limit where it can go with this platform. Same for, I keep saying Salesforce but check it as an example. There is certain level where Salesforce structure can go to, from the legal perspective. Look at this, from this data point of data collection. How far can you take it?
And platform will necessarily limit you. It will you necessarily limit you. Because for what it designed to be. So we'll look at legal, we are sitting just in the middle of all major transactions in every company, every company. So there is some people who will say that legal necessarily will become a friction point, in a polite way to say, and a less polite way to say will be, "You guys are bottleneck." But here's the thing. We can stop being bottleneck, however we need a tool for it. We need a tool that will represent legal. It will not represent sales in the design of the platform. You cannot use Google Form and thinking that Google Form intake for, amazing, I think best thing, best thing. However, it's not designed to complete the full process for legal department. It sits just in the middle.
Remember, we want a great connection to existing platforms, and want to go it as smooth as possible, as smooth, and possible. However, mapping those processes from one platform and migrating them to legal platform, I really want to call it legal platform and not contract management platform, because there's a lot of contract management tools. Think of it, because we are legal, we have a little bit different goals, legal operations. We want to collect the data, we want to take it through the full circle of approvals. We want to take notes of all steps of red lines. We want to have all of that. We want to have all of that.
We as legal want to be pulled only when the legal review is needed. We're not interested to be pulled at the beginning of the deal desk starting to deal with the contract, not interested, thank you. Don't pull us at this stage. We just want to be in a right place, in a right time, dealing with having all information that we need to deal with. In this case, we will not be the bottleneck. We'll be able to process fast. We will be able to deliver contracts that your customer will be happy. Just give us this chance, and to have this chance you necessarily need some tool. And this is how it works, we necessarily need some piece of technology, right? Yeah, this is an exciting year for Vonage to your question, Jay, this is what we doing this year.
Jay Combs (00:47:39):
Yeah. Thank you for that very in depth answer. I think the takeaway that I got from there is, teams can be a bottleneck as part of the deal process. And accelerating those deals or those transactions is about streamlining that process, but also helping to scale up the legal team so you're not having to answer say mundane questions that don't really need to be put through that process, but the removal of that bottleneck is a big, big part of it. So that was really helpful to hear how you managed everything together.
I think there's a question on the Q & A, so we'll answer that, but I also wanted to just follow up on that. And how do you sell that vision internally? How did you get buy-in from other teams to use a contract management system, or as you're calling it, your legal platform. Since they already have their system in place, what use case did you use? What ROI numbers? What did you say to them to say, hey this is the way to go?
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:48:45):
This is one billion question, if I answer it correctly I'm the next billionaire to be clear. To be clear. To be clear.
Jay Combs (00:49:02):
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:49:03):
Let me give you this analogy, because I think question asks so many times in so many forums that I remember at. I think this question asks so many times because there is no an easy way to do that. Let me tell you that. Let me tell you that. When you're in a leadership position, right? You not necessarily know everything, right? But you do know when you need something that you're missing. So when you are missing something in your strategic understanding of where you go, and when do you have this aha moment that you understanding missing something, it can be, you go to your boss who probably, let's say if you general counsel, going to be CEO of the company.
Person does keep your budget flat. Take 10% off. And then if you find yourself in a corner, then you have conversations about obtaining risks for the company, and you have less in your pocket to explain how do you accelerate the existing strategy of the company? How do you deliver dollars? It will be very difficult for you, for the GC, to explain why they need their budgets up, when there is more and more contracts that falling through. And I think this is a moment when every GC has to say, "I'm not in a really good corner in this negotiation this year. What should I do differently next year?" When this understanding exists, there is some whole that they're missing. This is where you necessarily will go to some good advising company, good advisors, you will pay a lot of money.
Let's say we'll go to Accenture, great company by the way. So you go to Accenture, and you meet people who got their degrees from Harvard, Yale, best universities all over the world. They will bring you their experience, they will bring their degrees, they will bring their understanding of the industry. And what they will tell you, they will ask you what do you have? They will understand your struggle, and you will pay them basically. So they, Accenture, with their knowledge and their experience, will give you a new way of seeing your options. Some new advantages that you can have as a legal department. And this is exact understanding, this exact strategy, this is what legal operations do, this is what we do. So if you're considering go to Accenture, or any other excellent advisory company, just know that in my mind, you can do that legal operations will be the part that you missing.
Look at others department around you. I will say to every GC, go to the sales, it's not enough that you VP sales, right? You will necessarily have, as your right hand, you will have VP business operations, why? Because sales cannot stand, they cannot win without business operations. Marketing have operations. How about legal? How about legal? We cannot stand without operations. We cannot not. Not just because legal, it's very expensive and one of the highest budget, it's probably not. However, the capability of general council, having this negotiation and delivering better and better products, right? And keeping up with this huge amount of contracts, huge amount of deal that running through legal department. Countless, countless agreements are just running through. It cannot be managed just by having additional attorney. This is not a solution, this is a bandaid. And if you start dealing with bandaids without having any strategy, you in a problem. So firstly I think general counsel have to understand that they have some problem, and then understanding and just looking around, the part that GCs are missing is a strategy person. Strategy person who have something in their pocket that GC not necessarily have.
Jay Combs (00:54:52):
Yeah. Yeah, it's a great analogy and it brings everything full circle for our conversation. And actually tied to it, the question that is in the Q & A right now, I'm going to read it off is, how do you advocate for the value here? The question, we answer this live is, how effective is it to separate storage platform from purchase orders, or how effective is it to have a separate storage platform from your purchase orders and sales orders along with the customer agreement when the PO or SOS are already on Salesforce or another CRM? Basically, isn't this a duplicative amount of work or a duplicative way of paying for a vendor to do the same thing?
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (00:55:41):
They will say it is. They will say it is. Let me answer this question. I love the question by the way. I don't know who asked but I love the question. Very are down to earth question. So firstly, it's not very expensive. It's not very expensive. And when I'm saying that, what do I mean by that? The amount of money paying to Salesforce admin, based on users, amount of money that paid to companies such as Oracle. I don't have a number, but I have a sense that's very high number. I would say, hundreds of thousand. My guess.
So, you have to know this is a technology that you want. Just before you start dealing with the outside noise, decide what do you want, right? Decide what suits you. Make your homework. Make your homework. Because to answer questions for others, first all it requires that you will be able to answer those questions by yourself. You may have some piece of technology. You have to get to know it. Is it good? Do some tests, right? What I'm saying, do some tests. Each day you will have some new challenge running your direction. People asking you to run reports on data that comes from contracts, you able to do that? If yes, you in a great position you. So just need to work around the existing platform, and clean your data. You're in a good position.
It not. If you're not in this position, it may be the right thing to do the change, although you've invested different platform, do the change. To be very open with the you, before Vonage decided to move into certain direction, we tested almost all existing tools to provide us a solution. It requires time. Because to the question, you have to answer those questions to yourself. Do you know why this platform is better for you than other? I cannot answer this question for you because it really depends on a company, but you have to know this answer. And just the fact that you already invested somewhere, in some platform that does not deliver what you want, It doesn't mean they have to stay. Because life is short. We all should do what we learn to do, what we love to do. And you better will fight for something that will make you successful legal operations, successful GC, versus be the average. So this is my approach.
So I don't know which tool is better for whom, but I do think that everyone who exists on this call will have this gut feeling, if whatever you have delivers, or you need to go and search for something new.
Jay Combs (00:59:26):
That's a really good point I think too, just the concept of having a separate storage platform. I think part of what you know can do with contract management, you can do Evisort, is not necessarily a separate system. We're not trying to replace what already exists. I wouldn't look at it as duplicative, but something that compliments and can provide new data, and work with the existing systems you have you're not doing the same thing twice. The whole idea is to work with what you already have, but get information in the way that's going to be beneficial to you. So I think it does change. It takes a little bit of a mindset shift as well to understand what is possible. Because I don't think that ability to integrate with systems was possible five, 10 years ago, so there's new stuff happening every day, so it definitely means you have to evaluate and you have to look at the vendor that you're working with, it's a really important part of the process.
I know we're at time. Thanks for folks for staying a little over. And Jordan, thank you for all the great insights, all the time. We really, really appreciate it. I'd love to turn it over to you to close out. Do you have any parting words of advice for the legal operations community?
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (01:00:46):
Firstly, thank you for joining. And Jay, thank you for inviting me. I appreciate Evisort giving a stage to legal operations community, to general councils who looking outside what's out there. This is priceless, and thank you so much. As a piece of advice, I think the best thing is know your worth. Know that as legal operations, someone who you not necessarily need to hold the official legal operations hat, but know your worth. Know that you necessarily will bring to the table that does not exist today, and we can explain why your new view, your different strategy is priceless. Just don't give up on it. It's not easy, but don't give up on it. And just know that it's the best thing that you bringing to the table.
Jay Combs (01:01:58):
Yeah, cross functional working relationship can be really challenging, but that's the role and there's so much value to add to the business, and to help drive revenue and protect profit that can come if you're willing to invest and stand your ground and be a leader in that.
So, thank you for being a leader in legal operations and thanks for joining us. And everybody else, thank you for joining the webinar. We really appreciate it. Have a happy St. Patrick's Day, and hope you're well. And that's it. We'll send out a follow-up email to all and have a great rest of the day. Goodbye.
Jordan Chapnik Kadec (01:02:36):
Enjoy your weekend. Bye.
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