A contract management process can be applied to many different companies. It refers to the support of the whole lifecycle of the contract. This means that the IT solution for this process should support the contract by connecting the CRM, the ERP and the tracking tools which follow the contract in his lifecycle journey. The real value of this process relies on keeping the information of two (or more) different teams – sales and service delivery – in one place and help them collaborate efficiently.
Valiantys has recently updated the process implementation for the contract management and moved to a more efficient model using Jira as the tracking system, integrating Confluence for the documentation and using Elements and groovy script apps to achieve a high level of automation.
Different business functions are included in the contract management process, so we will split the implementation into 3 different roles, the Account Manager, the Head of Professional Services and the Finance Manager. All of these roles will be in the same Jira project to collaborate and exchange information.
The Account Manager is creating an issue for the new contract. Automation has been implemented to auto-populate the business opportunity information straight from Salesforce (the CRM system that we are using) and automatically sets the correct business unit and currency based on the reporter. The Account Manager is filling in the rest of the information and creates the ticket. In the newly created ticket, the Account Manager inserts the estimation of day’s into the pricing matrix and sets the milestones for invoicing.
The Head of Professional Services then assigns the ticket to him and starts creating assignments that represent the sub-tasks of the project. Total budget and remaining budget are calculated taking into consideration the dates that are planned in the assignments.
The Finance Manager is moving the tickets in the workflow accordingly, based on the status of the PO and changing the status of the invoices appropriately.
CRM – Jira Integration (Elements Connect)
In our case, the CRM system we are using is Salesforce. The integration of Salesforce into Jira is implemented using the Elements Connect plugin. This add-on includes a free extension that allows us to query the Salesforce database and populate information into Jira. So the Salesforce related fields in the create screen (see below) are all Elements Connect fields which query the Salesforce database and get the related opportunities, customers, etc. which are associated with the reporter. Then the Account Manager only needs to choose an opportunity from his list and the rest are automatically populated.
Pricing Matrix & Invoicing (Elements Checklist)
To avoid manual calculation of the budget (based on the workload and the daily rate). We have this process semi-automated using Elements Checklist. The pricing Matrix is generated by the plugin, which allows us to define the daily rates and generate the correct rates based on the reporter and the business unit he is assigned to. This provides a dynamic way to have the rates calculated in one place for all the departments around the globe without having to check the different rates or the different currencies. The only manual action is to fill-up the days that are planned for the project and the rest will be calculated automatically by Elements Checklist.
The same add-on is used for the invoicing process and generates the milestones section, which allows the Account Manager to create different invoicing intervals, the Finance Manager to keep track of the project and update the status of the invoices.
Assignments (Elements Copy & Sync)
The process of creating assignments is done using the Elements Copy & Sync add-on which provides the ability to create assignment sub-tasks and have a panel in the main issue to track their progress and display certain information. From this, the Head of Services can plan straight from the main issue and also the rest of the team (sales and finance) can have a quick overview of the progress – everything is in the same space.
Jira – Confluence Integration
With Elements Copy & Sync we can have a button that automatically creates a Confluence page dedicated to the specific project. So, we define a specific space that this page should locate, we then create a page there with all the project documentation: such as the scope of the project, technical details about the environment and much more.
That way, we keep the documentation updated without having to open Confluence and search for the correct space. Also, this plugin provides the ability to map different information from Jira into Confluence to avoid copy and pasting data from one tool to the other.
Benefits of the Implementation
This improved and highly integrated approach to our contract management process has brought many benefits to the company. Because of the plugins that are used, we provided a higher level of automation which accelerates the process and saves time. No manual input required for the daily rates and no calculation from the account manager who is logging the ticket.
Also, the process has been simplified, using a basic workflow that will not block the contract lifecycle and the integration with CRM and documentation systems allows flexibility and efficiency on the day to day tasks.
Last but not least, we use one project where different business roles come together and collaborate. This allows us to have all the data in one place and control it better, which will help us to create different statistics that help for future use.