How the all-new Conga is digitally transforming business processes
One of the secrets of business growth is creating efficiencies in workflows that free up time — time currently spent chasing email trails, following up on documents and their completion, assembling quotes, filling out POs, getting required signatures and approvals. By deploying technology and rethinking business processes to help lift the burden of these types of tasks, companies can be well down the road to digital transformation.
That sounds easy, but it’s not. Tasks that keep the wheels of commerce spinning might be repetitive, but the truth is that they must be performed with a great deal of accuracy. There is little room for error. In some cases, getting a single decimal point or comma in the wrong place can spell financial and PR disaster. Utilising technology not only relieves workers from the burden of “paperwork” (it’s not often paper-based in many cases), but also ensures that processes remain accurate, safe in terms of cybersecurity, and quicker, too. Once workers no longer need to perform repetitive manual tasks, they are freed up to focus on more strategic work that adds value to the organisation.
When digital transformation initiatives are focused on the areas of the business where processes are most critical to revenue generation, it becomes possible to create more efficient work practices that lead to huge savings, more effective methods, and a better customer experience. The recent merger of Conga and Apttus creates a major player in the software industry that offers solutions to solve many modern organisations’ problems. The all-new Conga achieves this across the full extent of business processes: procure-to-pay, digital document management, contract lifecycle management, collaboration, and data management and reporting.
At Tech Wire Asia, we thought at the time of the merger that the two companies’ capabilities were well-suited. Each had enviable reputations in their spheres: Apttus had carved out a name for itself in streamlining one of the most complex areas of any modern business, namely the processes that define procurement to payment (RFQ, quotations, tenders, and finances). Conga is most renowned for its document creation and management capabilities, most notably Conga Composer, as well as electronic signature and data and process automation solutions. Contracts is a key focus area for both organisations. The extended company’s capabilities now encompass a full, end-to-end transformational value-proposition.
Now, the integrated company’s capabilities are strengthened – making the “whole” that is the new Conga greater than the sum of the two parts. Each organisation has proven its commitment to putting customer success front and centre, which means that Conga is helping companies across APAC achieve digital transformation at a time when the challenges are very much obvious to all.
As the newly-appointed CEO of Conga, Noel Goggins said, at the time of his appointment: “Conga has a strong foundation for growth, with world-class products and a global reach that enables customers to digitally transform their businesses.”
The merger of the two companies into a single entity that so effectively addresses revenue operations is particularly timely in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, digital transformation efforts have been spurred on due to the necessary decline of in-person contact. Digital document and business process management are two areas that have taken on additional importance since the merger on May 7 2020.
We managed to catch up with Terry Crawford-Smith, the VP of Sales, APJ, at Conga to talk about how things have changed since the companies merged.
“The current environment has actually accelerated the need for automation within the legal part of the business because […] traditionally, […] if you look at government restrictions around how contracts needed to be executed, certain types of transactions required a wet signature. We’ve seen those regulations freeing up – to allow signing electronically which was not allowed in the past. […] I think the commercial folks are recognising the need to speed up, and they can with our solutions. […] One of the things we offer is workflow automation and [the] approvals that go with that document, and the audit trail behind it.”
While both companies had much in common, they did tend to address slightly different target audiences in terms the specifics of what was on offer. But the new, combined Conga has benefited from a broader range of experience that’s mutually advantageous to the marketplace.
Industry comment was largely favourable at the time of the merger, and not just within reporting from these pages. SpendMatters.com said, “As you peel back the onion on customers, the CLM market and where future deals could arise, you can see the potential logic behind Apttus’ owner, Thoma Bravo’s, move. At its core, the deal is about quickly producing scale, as the combined firm counts well north of 11,000 customers. It also brings a significant toolbox of CLM-adjacent tools (e.g., CPQ, BPM/workflow management) into one ecosystem, which in turn creates a competitive alternative to the other major player in the CLM market (especially from a customer number standpoint), DocuSign.”
In his exclusive with Tech Wire Asia, Crawford-Smith said, “[…] what do they need and expect from us at Conga — what sort of thought leadership will benefit our customers and prospects? Where we are providing this leadership is certainly around commercial excellence, […] where we help customers prioritise their investments and assure the business outcomes that align to their corporate goals and initiatives.”
Of course, business growth is much easier once the bottlenecks (like endless proof-reading of similar yet different-enough POs) are alleviated. But transformation must be secure and reliable, as well as quick and efficient. Here, Conga’s record in data protection and adherence to governance proves invaluable. So too does the Conga platform’s capabilities when it comes to drawing insight from digital business documents: identifying areas for improvement and areas that represent opportunity, for example.
Terry Crawford-Smith, again: “We address the full scope of contract lifecycle management; we provide a powerful repository where you can instantiate your contract obligations and accelerate the contract generation and approval process through standardized clause libraries. Bringing Apttus’ strength in the enterprise, and being able to plug in the Conga capabilities, which are really fast to deploy, we have accelerated the value customers can receive by investing incrementally with Conga. So, for example, the Conga Sign product can install within five minutes, and somebody can be trained up within half an hour through best-in-class online learning content – they can be up and running incredibly fast.”
“That’s going to get people adopting,” he continued, “We complement speed of adoption with the industrial strength of an enterprise CLM lifecycle solution. So, I think just being able to offer different entry points for clients and having that broader, complimentary set of products is a force-multiplier for Conga, our partners and ultimately, our customers.”
Digital transformation may involve all areas of the technology stack and the corresponding elements of business processes. Still, the most significant gains to be made are clearly laid out: in transforming, iterating, and accelerating business processes related to revenue streams. That’s the now-larger Conga’s remit and one that is growing in scope. Click here to read more how this company is making transformation happen in the region.
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