Consensus: a game-changer for CLM software

Barhead Solutions proudly launches Consensus, an end-to-end contract and matter management app for legal, procurement and contract teams. By enabling users to work on the Microsoft Cloud, Consensus makes it easy to locate, track and manage contracts and other updates, increasing legal and contracting efficiencies for organisations and industries.

‘Lawyers are often the guardians of a company’s non-financial information and face common challenges. For one, they deal with a vast amount of information that they need to be able to find, access, manage and maintain easily,’ said Amanda Fajerman, Engagement Manager, Consensus. ‘They have key responsibilities to the organisation across the contract lifecycle such as advising on legal risks during contract negotiation, reporting on trends, and managing contractual obligations following execution.’

Legal and Procurement teams have an increasing mandate to digitise and automate their processes, capture data, and enable data-driven decisions. ‘Companies lose around five to 20% of deal value, or 9% of deal revenue, because of inefficient processes, and that’s why there’s such a demand right now for organisation-wide contract lifecycle management or CLM software,’ Amanda said. As the previous Head of Legal Technology at LOD and a lawyer herself for the past 15 years, Amanda occupies a unique position as an expert in designing and implementing legal tech solutions, with her thorough understanding of the challenges legal teams face.

One thing that sets apart Consensus from other CLM solutions is Microsoft’s low-code to no-code capabilities. ‘I think one of the great things about the technology we chose to build Consensus upon, is it allows us to achieve an immense amount of capability with an almost impossibly short time frame,’ said Luke Kelly, Product Manager, Consensus. ‘We’re leveraging off that speed to scale, competing with the most prominent platforms out there that have had many years and millions of dollars of investment.’

Microsoft’s Power Platform democratises app building, data intelligence, chatbot deployment, and workflow automation with its four product offerings. Like other apps built on Power Platform, Consensus is easy to deploy but completely adaptable, making it the safe and ideal choice for solving challenges now and scaling later. ‘Something that is demonstrated very clearly across many different Power Platform apps in the past is that it unlocks, expects and accommodates company growth,’ said Luke, who looks after the short- and long-term roadmap for Consensus, including product strategy, design and direction. ‘Building on bespoke solutions akin to solutions provided by small businesses, we are really changing the game by building on Power Platform, building on an enterprise grade platform that is built to scale.’

Journeys within Consensus: critical features of the app

Paramount to Consensus is a centralised, connected and integrated source of data and activities. Consensus seamlessly connects with Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Office 365, Teams, SharePoint and other web apps, removing data siloes in large organisations and unifying data for collaboration across different departments.

‘I think one of the key unique features of Consensus is its very close connection to SharePoint. We get the best out of Power Platform and connect to the best of SharePoint because we live in Microsoft Cloud,’ said Luke. ‘We can seamlessly connect to key line of business apps such as Outlook and Teams, allowing users to interact with Consensus easily within their daily activities and workflow.’

‘Consensus provides a central source of truth across all of the organisation for data, documents, contracts and matters. Integrated with Microsoft 365 products that lawyers use every day, it is infinitely extensible across the organisation through Power Automate or Dataverse,’ said Amanda. Here are the key features of this uniquely viable product driving efficiency and enabling users to succeed:

  • Self-service portals – Give business users the ability to access self-service portals to request legal assistance, create contracts, check status and more.
  • End-to-End Lifecycle Management – End-to-end contract and matter management with actionable emails, reminder notifications and intelligent capability for insights.
  • Advanced search – Search experience powered by Microsoft Search increases productivity and saves time by delivering more relevant search results.
  • Automated workflows and activity tracking – Configurable approval workflows, activity management and entire audit history and timeline.
  • Mobile and Cloud-based – Share a standard view of contracts, customer and supplier details, and business processes in a central cloud-based and mobile repository.
  • Leverage Microsoft integrations – Leverage native Microsoft integrations by connecting data sources such as Dynamics 365, Azure, Teams and more.
  • Dashboards and Reporting – Track and report on processes with custom views to provide BI improvement opportunities and reporting compliance.
  • Collaboration and versioning – Connects with SharePoint for internal and external collaboration and in-situ version history.

Barhead’s story: aligning with Microsoft’s vision

Barhead, an IT consulting firm specialising in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, offers enterprise and technology solutions that help unlock business growth. In the past, Barhead has empowered several organisations through apps like Clearspace, a return-to-work management app. Barhead is a four-time Microsoft Inner Circle Partner and a winner of the 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award for Social Impact. This year, Barhead was a finalist in two global categories for the Power Apps and Power Automate Award and Community Response Award.

‘Microsoft is certainly looking to focus on industry verticals and Barhead is aligning with that and being in step with Microsoft on their vision along the way. Consensus fits very nicely within that vision because it’s a solution built for legal and procurement teams.,’ said Luke.

‘Our aim with Consensus is to really change the nature of the conversation by demonstrating this unique product, which leverages the infinitely extensible possibilities of the Power Platform. Tightly integrated with the Microsoft 365 suite, it provides the perfect foundation for all the personas in legal and contracting teams, to not only manage the type of work that they do but enable and extend those sorts of possibilities in terms of automation and efficiency,’ said Amanda.

‘A big challenge for organisations is identifying where their data is actually stored and who owns it. There’s a big drive for organisations to bring data back into their control, which is what we enable,’ said Luke. The Microsoft Cloud enables you to secure your data and give you full ownership of your organisation’s critical information.

According to Microsoft, 97% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Power Platform to digitise their processes, with nearly 16 million monthly active users. In addition, the future of the CLM market is expected to double over $3 billion in the next five years. Aside from the strength of Microsoft technology, why go with Barhead?

‘Barhead is passionate about accelerating the take up of Microsoft technologies in legal teams. With the addition of our new Legal Tech team, Barhead brings a massive depth of experience to this space. In a major technology play, we are building another center of excellence on top of our existing technology expertise by specialising in legal solutions alongside industry specific solutions,’ said Doug Maloney, Head of Product and IP, Barhead Solutions.

Amanda offers another side of the coin. ‘There’s a lot of single purpose legal tech solutions on the market that either just solve document management, or contract management or matter management and a lot of legal teams struggle to get those solutions implemented because they’ve got to go through a lengthy IT process. Barhead seeks to empower everyone in the organisation, from the legal team and beyond, within a reasonable timeframe,’ said Amanda.

From an enablement point-of-view, lawyers spend 90% of their time working in Word, Outlook and other Microsoft products. In any platform, user adoption is crucial. ‘Because our solution is so tightly integrated with Microsoft 365, it gives a degree of familiarity. This high user adoption results in gains for functionality and change management,’ Amanda adds.

‘There’s high user adoption, ease of onboarding, reduce change management needs and intuitive familiarity, combined with an ability for ‘development at the speed of thought’. Microsoft is really boasting best in breed in terms of collaboration, productivity features and intelligent insights through dashboards and reporting. Not to mention that you can work anywhere, even from your mobile devices.’

Barhead is excited to be launching Consensus on the 11th of August. The company will be showcasing a series of webinars to demonstrate the power of Microsoft technologies for legal teams. Come and learn more about Consensus, shaping the future of workflow for legal and contracting teams.

CRN Article