“Before Gatekeeper, contracts were everywhere and nowhere.”– Anastasiia Sergeeva, Legal Operations Manager
Location: Paris, France
Description: BlaBlaCar brings together the largest long-distance carpooling community in the world. The platform connects drivers traveling with free seats and passengers traveling in the same direction. They share a journey and the costs associated with it. With the integration of buses and short-distance carpooling into its platform, BlaBlaCar aims to become the go-to marketplace for shared mobility on the road. Practical, economical, friendly and responsible, wherever there is a road, there is a BlaBlaCar.
Key Stakeholders for Gatekeeper: In-house Legal Department
In 2017, BlaBlaCar’s rapid growth had led to some typical contract management issues for their in-house Legal Team. A lack of central repository was making it impossible to stay on top of key documentation and dates and their team was having to spend a disproportionate amount of time on unnecessary admin and ad hoc communication.
Having identified a clear need for a dedicated Contract Management Solution, they selected Gatekeeper. Three years later, the partnership is still going strong.
The initial selection of Gatekeeper was based on the strength of its repository and its powerful workflow engine. Together, these two features would give the BlaBlaCar Team the visibility and reporting capabilities they required along with the ability to automate and optimise their key contracting processes.
The aim for the Legal Team was to ensure consistency in the adoption of their processes, that renewals wouldn’t be missed and that non-specialist work could be kept to a minimum.
Gatekeeper has delivered against all these objectives and continued to innovate to add further refinement to the platform. Gatekeeper has been widely adopted throughout the business, with new employees receiving dedicated training and has helped put contract management much higher on the agenda across multiple departments and teams.
- A comprehensive contract repository. This was key for BlaBlaCar - with a presence in 22 countries they needed to be able to organise contracts across all the relevant legal entities. Gatekeeper’s solution provides the configurability required to easily categorise contracts accurately across BlaBlaCar’s teams, suppliers and subsidiaries.
- Flexible, powerful automation. The team at BlaBlaCar wanted to be able to build and optimise their own approval processes directly in their chosen solution. Gatekeeper’s Kanban Workflow Engine was ideal for this, enabling complete control over approvals, notifications and form fields for submissions. This ensured the Legal Team could replicate their existing processes, monitor for performance and then streamline as required.
- Alignment with the Gatekeeper Team. The BlaBlaCar team were impressed with the Gatekeeper team’s commitment to innovation and that, as a relatively small company, they would be able to rapidly develop the solution in line with their customers’ feedback.
The Full Story
BlaBlaCar is an innovative technology business with operations across 22 countries. In 2017, following a period of sustained growth in customers, team size (now 750 employees), suppliers and partners the team reached a point where it had become impossible to track all of its contracts effectively.
The legal team was swamped with requests for contract reviews and an ever-growing backlog of contracts for which renewal and termination dates needed to be tracked, analysed and executed.
Documents were stored across Google Drive and in individual email accounts meaning central oversight was impossible.
“Contracts were everywhere and nowhere” said Anastasiia Sergeeva, Legal Operations Manager.
At this point, it was clear that a dedicated software solution was required to bring contracts under control and to allow the business to continue to grow.
They approached researching the market in thorough fashion and prioritised two main features:
- A robust central contract repository, which could act as the single source of truth for the business. This would need to be flexible enough to organise contracts around a number of data points and categories such as teams, supplier types, subsidiaries and business entities.
- A completely configurable workflow engine, which would enable them to run their key contract processes automatically and consistently, while helping highlight areas for optimisation. This would deliver time-savings for the Legal Team as well as helping them regain control over the receipt and ongoing management of contract documents.
Gatekeeper was the only solution that delivered what they were looking for on these two points but was also the standout option based on the Gatekeeper team’s commitment to working closely with the team at BlaBlaCar to ensure the project was successful.
This commitment came in the form of dedicated Customer Success resource for implementation and on an ongoing basis, as well as a clear roadmap of product enhancements which would see the Gatekeeper optimise the return on investment for BlaBlaCar.
Having selected Gatekeeper, the initial implementation focused on three areas:
- The bulk upload of the contract documents and their associated metadata to Gatekeeper.
- The configuration of workflows to replicate the BlaBlaCar team’s internal processes.
- Training of BlaBlaCar team-members by the Gatekeeper implementation team on how to use the new system.
“We didn’t do it alone...” says Anastasiia, “...the Gatekeeper Team worked closely with us the whole way through helping to cement the relationship and reinforce that we made the right choice. This is our investment in a successful future.”
The impact of having Gatekeeper was immediately apparent:
- Managers are able to monitor their team’s contracts in a clear dashboards
- The right stakeholders are notified in good time of approaching end and renewal dates for contracts so they could proactively contact suppliers and renegotiate agreements in line with the business needs. This also ensures that unnecessary contracts are terminated rather than rolling over with auto-renew clauses. In both circumstances, BlaBlaCar were able to save money or drive additional benefits from their agreements.
- Gatekeeper streamlines the process between the business and the legal team, saving time for both. The legal team was no longer required to engage in lengthy email communication with stakeholders about new contracts or chasing up signatures.
- The Finance team uses Gatekeeper as an additional layer of control over the company’s expenses - they’re easily able to cross-check existing agreements with outstanding invoices.
- The comprehensive contract repository makes it incredibly easy for the legal team to locate and report on contracts as required.
To emphasise how central Gatekeeper is to BlaBlaCar’s business, every new employee has a mandatory onboarding session with the solution to ensure its role is understood and the correct contract processes are followed.
Furthermore, Gatekeeper continues to innovate and deliver enhancements to the solution every month.
“The Gatekeeper Team never stop developing new features, ensuring it’s always meeting its customers’ needs. The best part? It’s intuitively clear how to use these new features.” continues Anastasiia, “The Gatekeeper Team are helpful, competent and, most importantly, passionate about the product.
The immediate goals for BlaBlaCar and Gatekeeper as a collaborative team now focus on the Gatekeeper API and supporting even further integration with other platforms used across the company. Given the natural importance of contracts to a business, it makes perfect sense for Gatekeeper to sit at the junction between Legal, Finance, Sales and Enterprise Resource Planning.
“BlaBlaCar has been a great customer to work with. Having firstly solved for their immediate use-case, we’ve been able to collaborate on the evolution of Gatekeeper and bring further innovative features to help the team optimise their processes, save valuable time and maximise their return from our solution”, says Patrick O’Connor, Director at Gatekeeper.
For more information on how Gatekeeper is helping its customers manage their contracts effectively, contact us today.