Evaneos is a platform that connects travelers with local travel agencies around the world to provide tailor-made trips. Florence Rivat joined the company as General Counsel in December 2019 with the mission of creating the company's legal department.
In light of the problems encountered, Florence naturally turned to technology for a solution and chose to work with Leeway to combine operational performance and legal security.
In this customer testimonial, we explore Florence's expectations at the time and her insights on the adoption of a contract management solution.
Evaneos has a presence in six European countries. The company works with over 1,000 local agents so that travelers can contact local agencies to organize tailor-made stays.
In this context, there are multiple stakeholders, so the first thing to do is analyze what already exists. With this in mind, Florence set out to collect all the contracts concluded with partners, suppliers and customers.
It was a fairly large job seeing as the contracts were located in different departments and managed in different ways. Risky clauses and the lack of transparency on deadlines were presenting a source of insecurity.
The idea of digitizing the service was obvious as, once the data has been gathered, it's possible to use the content of the documents to analyze the risks and control the end of contracts. Of course, only a digital tool could do the job properly (Goodbye Excel!).
At Evaneos, there was already software in place but it unfortunately didn't meet Florence's expectations. It was, for example, impossible to automate reminders or centralize all contracts.
In light of these observations, the needs identified were quite clear:
1️⃣ establish a fluid and easy to feed contract library;
2️⃣ ensure the tool is easily accessible for operational staff so that they can be autonomous;
3️⃣ analyze risks and manage deadlines.
By standardizing legal practices and by having the power to anticipate risks, we can create a real legal culture within the business.
With regards to the specific issues of Evaneos, Florence first of all wanted to automate part of the redundant work to free up time for her team and operational staff. The security of legal operations, by having alerts on expiry dates and by storing contracts in one place, was also part of its specifications.
What were the tangible benefits of setting up Leeway?
The key to legal department efficiency is for the teams to be autonomous to retrieve information and also to manage simple contracts. Each operational person thus has a clear overview of the commitments and remains responsible for the deadlines to come. The aim is to relieve the legal department of requests with low added value for the company.
The other advantage of a contract management solution is the time saved on administrative tasks. These tasks, such as receiving attachments sent by suppliers, scanning contracts and saving them in Google Drive, are essential but time-consuming nonetheless. With a contract management solution, operational staff and lawyers collaborate in a common space where administrative work is automated.
Having visibility over all contracts is a central issue. First of all, it is the only way to control and be alerted about contracts that are coming to an end, so the department can prevent them from being automatically renewed. The underlying idea is also to retain the history and centralize all the commitments to standardize contractual practices.
In addition, the implementation of a validation circuit promotes this visibility; thus, during the validation of expenses, we quickly identify which team is responsible for the corresponding contract, reducing the risk of error and loss of time.
Controlling contract templates is also very important. Lawyers can add value by creating standard models, but without a management solution that centralizes the models, the legal department sends the new version by email. However, for whatever the reason might be, this version often gets lots in the ether. The operational staff then find themselves using outdated templates that are no longer appropriate.
A digital solution within a legal department like Evaneos only makes sense if it is open to operational staff. Beyond the support in the legal field that Florence expected from Leeway, she obviously wanted a logical solution for the wider team.
Florence wanted a role-based contract license. At Leeway, only those responsible (in this instance, the legal department) are charged, with internal employees and counterparties being able to use the platform for free.
Thibaut, co-founder & COO of Leeway, recommends respecting three phases for successful digitalization.
What kills legal efficiency is not having visibility over all contracts. So, bringing the elements together in the same place is essential. Then, you have to integrate all the main information into summary sheets for:
⏳ a comprehensive view of contracts (and to avoid opening documents each time);
🔔 configuration of automatic reminders of deadlines.
Recovering the data and then actually using it is the key to success.
The idea is to ask operational staff to participate in legal life by offering them standardized contracts. These must be easily accessible since they will be generated directly by them and sent to the co-contractor via the platform. This saves time not only for the field team who no longer has to wait for a response from legal, but also for lawyers who can focus on strategic topics.
A validation circuit makes it possible to control the contract from the beginning to the end.
1. The negotiation process: the counterparty goes through the platform. Our experience tells us that this tends to be well received.
2. Contract validation: depending on the type of contract, approval stages are defined before the first dispatch and/or before the contract is signed.
3. The signing of the contract: the contract is signed via the electronic signature and then archived with all the contractual documents.
4. The launch and execution of the contract: the operational staff fulfill their obligations and check that the counterparty does the same.
5. The end of the contract: the alerts are there so as not to miss the termination of the contract or to monitor that the commitments have been fulfilled on time.
6. Storage of the contract: the history is kept and all employees have the same level of information. Above all, finding information only takes a few clicks.
The tool is therefore adapted to the life cycles of the contract. The benefits are multiple and include classification of information and commitments, general view of key dates and time stamping.