Conga Aids Utah’s Economy
As its name would suggest, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development is responsible for awarding tax rebates, grants, and incentives to help drive business within the state. It’s a complicated process that involves a lot of steps, and until recently, it was made that much harder by old technology and outdated processes.
Each time someone applies for a grant or incentive through the economic development office, the application gets filed through an online portal and entered into Salesforce.com. The application is reviewed by a board, and if it is approved, a contract is sent back to the applicant. The applicant can ask for revisions, which are subject to board review. Once the applicant signs the contract, it goes back to the development office’s compliance team to ensure the applicant paid all the necessary taxes or performed promised economic development.
With up to 200 awards annually that have to go through all of those steps, the office’s old technology was just too cumbersome, says Jaron Janson, the office’s Salesforce administrator and program manager.
“We used Microsoft Excel and Word with track changes. It was very draining on the legal team. Track changes aren’t always a reliable mechanism,” Janson says.
The track-changes feature can be confusing if more than one person is handling a document. Keeping track of different versions and the status of the contract was also a challenge, according to Janson.
“It was easy to lose momentum on contract negotiations; we needed to have more efficiency,” he says. “We looked into a number of different systems, but most were for much larger organizations. We have 40 Salesforce users, but only five or six who work on the contracts. We needed something that offered easy layout and a good user experience.”
Janson also wanted a program that would enable new people to step right in to take over work on specific contracts without having to determine where everything was in the process.
Because Salesforce is the underlying program for most of the office’s work, it was essential that any contract solution be integrated with Salesforce. The economic development office had a long-standing relationship with Conga and was already using Conga Composer, a document generation application. And though there were a number of competing solutions available, most required 10 or more licenses at a much higher price than Conga Contracts. The contract with Conga was signed in March and the solution went live in July.
Conga Contracts is a cloud-based solution, but the economic development office needed time to customize the solution to accommodate its many record types and templates. Once the customization was complete, it was just a matter of turning on the application.
Though the application has only been in use for less than a year, Janson has already seen many benefits.
“It’s accelerated our contract-generation process 30 to 40 percent. What used to take an hour or two now takes only 30 or 40 minutes, Janson says. “Stakeholders are notified when different steps are completed. It has really helped our team come together. Now everyone with a stake knows where everything is. And we are seeing a significant increase in speed in the response time [from applicants].”
Other benefits have come from the ability to track versions and maintain them in Salesforce. Employees can now locate contracts wherever they are in the process, track their status, and move them along more quickly with the dashboard. Continuity and compliance are ensured by having all contracts in one centralized, secure repository.
Contract drafting is also much cleaner thanks to Conga Contracts’ clause management feature, which offers pre-approved legal language and clause versions.
Conga Contracts’ analytics capabilities provide insight into which contract types, teams, or departments are causing slow-downs. The ability to track contract language also benefits employees, as statute changes can affect language that appears in multiple contracts.
Janson expects even further benefits as his team becomes more familiar with the program.
Since implementing Conga Contracts, the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development has seen the following results:
- the contact generation process has been cut by 30 to 40 percent;
- work that used to take up to two hours to complete is now done in 30 to 40 minutes; and
- the response time from applicants is much faster.