From Digital Personnel Files to Smart Contract Management

Since February of 2022, some 40 staff members at RegionalMedien Austria AG have been using Fabasoft Contracts to manage the roughly 500 contracts concluded by the RegionalMedien Austria Group. Using Fabasoft Cloud’s “Digital Personnel File” app to manage all employment contracts in compliance with the GDPR was instrumental for the Group’s subsequent decision to digitalize the entire contract management.

In a conversation with Robin Schmeisser, Managing Director of Fabasoft International Services GmbH, Miriam Terner, Head of Legal, Fleet and Facility Management at RegionalMedien Austria AG, and Andreas Graf, Legal, Fleet and Facility Management, provide insight into the Austrian media company’s contract management system and share their experiences with the software.

Miriam Terner im Interview mit Fabasoft
 
Mag. Miriam Terner
Head of Legal,
Fleet and Facility Management,
RegionalMedien Austria AG
Andreas Graf im Interview mit Fabasoft
 
Andreas Graf
Legal, Fleet and
Facility Management
RegionalMedien Austria AG

What was the contract management process like prior to this, and what prompted you to go completely digital?

GRAF: Before we started using Fabasoft Contracts, our companies stored their agreements as PDF files in conventional network and folder environments. That solution, with its inconsistent logic, redundancy in contract filing, and limited traceability, frequently posed major challenges for the team in the legal department. Similarly, manually coordinating appointments in Outlook created a great deal of work and harbored a potential for error.

TERNER: On top of that, management had to initial every page of every contract by hand, which isn’t particularly satisfying when you’re dealing with a 30-page document. The lack of insight into the units at the provincial level and the time-consuming search for documents, content, or the most current version in response to inquiries served to compound the problem. Seeing how simple it was for our HR department to handle the employment contracts in line with GDPR using Fabasoft’s “Digital Personnel File” reinforced our desire to have a document and contract management tool. The high resource investment was enough to persuade us of the need for digitalization.

What were your requirements for the contract management software and why did you choose Fabasoft Contracts?

GRAF: The ability to search by keyword and to have traceability at all times were important criteria. For that, you need artificial intelligence along with a clear overview of the agreements.

TERNER:Integrated digital signature capabilities were also a key factor in the selection of a smart application that offers a high degree of automation to maximize efficiency. The market survey clearly confirmed that Fabasoft Contracts was the best match for our requirements and that it is also well suited for use in the context of board of directors and supervisory board meetings.

Speaking of board of directors and supervisory board meetings: Are you using Fabasoft Contracts for those as well?

TERNER: Not just yet. We plan to create a preparation space within Fabasoft Contracts for our Supervisory Board meetings, the Annual General Meeting, the Executive Committee meetings, and the preliminary discussions, as well as a confidential space that is only accessible to the members of the committees. Thanks to the system’s intelligent access rights scheme and centralized data rooms, we can eliminate the risk of nonsecure e-mail correspondence and unmanageable document storage on disparate servers.

What kinds of tasks do you handle with Fabasoft Contracts and in what ways is the product particularly helpful?

GRAF: We manage roughly 500 agreements in Fabasoft Contracts. Before implementing, we conducted a review of the processes. Now we have templates available for contract creation that have been reviewed by the legal department and are immediately passed on to the department management through existing approval and release workflows, and then on to the Board for signing. For external agreements, the system initiates a review process from the legal department before release. After uploading, the software works with AI technologies to automatically extract the relevant parameters, including contract type, amounts and totals, and deadlines, displaying them in structured, customizable lists. The filtering and sorting options mean that we can get answers to questions in a matter of seconds, and quickly determine things like which companies we have an agreement with for order processing as defined by the GDPR.

TERNER: Importing new agreements is now handled by the individuals who create these agreements with the business partners. We conducted internal webinars and used gamification elements to train some 40 colleagues in this process, and to demonstrate the benefits of the tool in advance – especially in terms of how dramatically it accelerates workflows. On top of that, the system’s native digital signature capability helps keep things moving by allowing decision-makers to sign contracts at the touch of a button. Since implementing the new system, the legal department has been freed up to refocus on its core competencies, including reviewing content and providing counsel and guidance.

Which features stand out as being particularly valuable to you?

GRAF: The reminder feature and the integration with Outlook have proven to be especially helpful, providing reminders by e-mail or push notifications for events like the (re-)negotiation of contracts, discounts, or cancellation options.

TERNER: The “Time Travel” feature provides transparency with regard to version, status, and any amendments. At the same time, it helps us to recognize when someone needs assistance. We are extremely pleased with Fabasoft Contracts and its broad range of features. All the information provided in the selection process is in line with the reality, which is why we recommend the software. Much praise also goes to the support team for the quality of their work and the speed with which they provide feedback.

 

About RegionalMedien Austria

The RegionalMedien Austria Group comprises RegionalMedien Austria AG and its subsidiaries, as well as cooperation partners in the individual provinces.The independent media company has a workforce of approximately 800 employees working in 81 offices throughout Austria. According to Media-Analyse 2021, the 129 cost-free regional weekly newspapers (with a circulation of around 3.5 million print copies) have a reach of 41.9%, while the 121 online editions (around 2 million unique users) have a monthly reach of 28.6%.