Delivering visibility and consistency in the vendor management process has significantly increased productivity at Mailchimp.” – Michael Packard, Senior Program Manager of Vendor Risk Management
Location: Atlanta, United States
Description: Mailchimp is an always-on marketing platform for small businesses. It makes innovative, beautiful products that empower those businesses to find more customers.
Key Stakeholders for Gatekeeper: Vendor Risk Management, Legal Operations
Up to 2019, Mailchimp’s vendor management function was experiencing some of the more common symptoms associated with running a large VLM program without a dedicated software solution. Internal and external stakeholders weren’t following the mandated processes consistently, and the team felt like they lacked appropriate visibility over their vendor portfolio.
Gatekeeper offered the solution they’d been looking for by combining automated workflows for vendor onboarding and management with an unlimited user model that was the ideal fit for the comprehensive program they aspired to run. Gatekeeper also helped create a master system of record for all vendor contracts, including legacy agreements.
In 2020, Gatekeeper launched its NetSuite SuiteApp to support customers like Mailchimp integrate their key systems of record and monitor their vendors effectively. Feedback on the development of this App and Gatekeeper in general from the Mailchimp team has been integral in moving the solution forward.
- The support and guidance received from the Gatekeeper Team during the selection process. Gatekeeper’s consultative approach throughout the selection process ensured that they stood out and was a clear indicator of the level of service the Mailchimp team could expect to receive as a customer.
- The pricing model - built around unlimited users. This was key for the team at Mailchimp as it removed uncertainty around costs and, most importantly, meant they would have no restrictions when it came to inviting users into the platform as they continue to scale their business. The expectation was that Gatekeeper would be used by internal and external parties for all vendor management activities and would therefore necessitate a large and fluid number of users. Gatekeeper’s unlimited user model was the perfect fit for this scenario.
- To deliver visibility and consistency in the vendor management process. Mailchimp’s existing processes lacked consistency across the business, meaning their vendor management function lacked clear insight into the current state of their vendors. It was clear that Gatekeeper would deliver the clarity that they required and automate their internal processes.
The Full Story
A cross-functional team from Mailchimp came to market formally for a vendor management solution in 2019. Prior to this, it had been acknowledged internally for some time that there was scope for improvement in this area and, in particular, for digitisation.
The end-to-end vendor management process was characterised by the internal team as being siloed and inconsistent, while different internal stakeholders had at different times raised the potential risks this presented to the business. Those risks covered a range of areas from financial to brand impact and also related to access to contract information.
In order to fix these issues, a concerted and structured effort was required from the Mailchimp team. The company’s previous efforts to address these issues hadn’t been successful, as considerable resources were required simply to understand and scope the extent of the stakeholders’ concerns.
This time around, the new project team had sufficient capacity and resolve to complete the full scope of work. The prospect of missed renewals and renegotiation opportunities was enough to discourage any further delay.
A comprehensive review of the available solutions led them to Gatekeeper, where two specific pieces stood out to them:
- The support and guidance offered by the Gatekeeper team during the selection process, which gave the Mailchimp team confidence that they’d not only found the right solution but also the right team to support them.
- The Unlimited User model of Gatekeeper’s pricing. This also fit the bill for the Mailchimp team as they aimed to use the solution extensively with both internal and external parties and didn’t want to be constrained by per-license models that would present issues with budget control and administration.
Having selected Gatekeeper, the team worked closely with their assigned Implementation Manager to configure the solution and deliver it to the business. It was here that they further understood where previous attempts to deliver a functioning Vendor Management Solution had come up short.
The need to align the internal teams, get their buy-in for using a new solution and agree to sunset their previous processes were all significant challenges that they worked hard to overcome.
With Mailchimp running a lean internal team, the support required from their Gatekeeper representative was considerable and the successful delivery of the project helped to emphasise that they’d selected the right software partner.
Separately from their initial implementation there were two other, significant workstreams:
1. Gatekeeper & NetSuite
The team at Mailchimp worked closely with the Gatekeeper team, providing input into the dedicated NetSuite SuiteApp, which was in development at the time. This has helped bring clarity and automation between two of the core software solutions used by Mailchimp.
Delivering visibility and consistency in the vendor management process has drastically increased productivity at Mailchimp." -Michael Packard, Senior Program Manager of Vendor Risk Management.
2. Contract Import via AI Extract Managed Service
With Gatekeeper in place, the Mailchimp team also wanted to ensure all legacy vendor agreements were stored inside Gatekeeper with fully-formed metadata records to enable reporting and workflows.
The challenge they faced was that prior to Gatekeeper, documents were stored in fragmented fashion. Mailchimp enlisted Gatekeeper to help here too, utilising their AI Extract Managed Service, which combines Gatekeeper’s AI Extract solution, with dedicated human resources to convert documents into data records.
The result is a structured master system of record with fully searchable document records via Gatekeeper’s OCR enabled Global Search.
Having our historic contract documents digitised, and the key metadata extracted, has given us greater visibility across our vendor portfolio.” -Genevieve Hutchings, Legal Operations
All Mailchimp’s new vendors are now obliged to go through their mandated onboarding process, ensuring all correct information is captured up front and that compliance is assured. This has helped to deliver the consistent and thorough onboarding experience that the team wanted.
Given the flexibility of the Gatekeeper platform, the Mailchimp team are now also considering the range of additional data it could be used to capture at the point of vendor registration to give them greater insight.
Mailchimp has been a great customer and partner for Gatekeeper,” says Patrick O’Connor, CEO at Gatekeeper. “They’ve been able to implement a transformational digital process using our solution while working collaboratively with us to evolve our core solutions and dedicated NetSuite SuiteApp. This close working relationship with our customers ensures we continue to focus on how we can make them successful on the Gatekeeper platform."
For more information on how Gatekeeper is helping its customers manage their vendors effectively, contact us today.