Digital Transformation

How a Digital Platform Boosted Legal Services Innovation

Ferring's Sheila Dusseau on How the Whatfix's DAP Accelerates Contract Execution
How a Digital Platform Boosted Legal Services Innovation
Sheila Dusseau, head of global legal operations at Ferring

Pharmaceutical companies are grappling with complex contract-related challenges. In response to the increasing volumes owing to the regulatory and compliance contracting requirements, Switzerland-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals transformed its contract lifecycle management, or CLM, with Icertis' cloud CLM software.

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Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a research-driven, biopharmaceutical group, specializing in reproductive medicine, maternal health, and areas within gastroenterology and urology. With an employee base of more than 7,000 worldwide, Ferring has subsidiaries in more than 50 countries and markets its products in over 100 countries.

Contract management involves organizing a body of contracts, contract terms, templates and clauses to drive standardization and efficient retrieval. With a modern CLM, Ferring can quickly engage the right providers, suppliers and subject matter experts to support its needs.


Ferring's employees had to navigate through thousands of ecosystem partners and complexities of Icertis contract tasks and workflows. This time-consuming process impacted contract execution and user experience. A significant challenge was to ensure everyone - admins, occasional users and regular users - could fully engage and use the new CLM easily.

To ensure this, Ferring previously relied on resource-intensive, in-person training sessions and live tutorials. Furthermore, one of the challenges was identifying who had completed the required training or whether the employees successfully acquired the knowledge and skills to use the CLM platform effectively.

In addition, the Ferring team was fielding an increasing number of Icertis-related IT tickets, resulting in increased waiting times and frustrated users.

"Our goal was simple: create a great CLM user experience and reduce touchpoints and support tickets. We wanted something to make our system more user-friendly and intuitive," said Sheila Dusseau, head of global legal operations at Ferring Pharmaceuticals. "We also focused heavily on innovation and required that the solution didn’t just pose a current fix, but also came with a team and capabilities that fostered continuous improvement and creativity."


Dusseau and her team explored various solutions but found that these "lacked experience" with the Icertis CLM system. Ferring eventually chose the Whatfix's connected digital adoption platform, or DAP.

According to Dusseau, the Whatfix team presented "a whole list of ideas that went beyond simply adding in-system prompts and user hints."

"This second element demonstrated their ability to get to know the client and think creatively while using their innovation," Dusseau said.

Using this DAP solution, Ferring employees were able to navigate the complexities of a large number of Icertis contract tasks and workflows, which improved user experience and accelerated contract execution. This freed up more time for users to focus on their business and allowed the legal operations team to spend more time on legal services innovation. Users had access to contextual information (Smart Tips), step-by-step instructions (Flows) and a knowledge repository. Through this, Ferring was able to improve the Icertis user experience, ensure contract compliance and reduce the volume of contract support inquiries.

Implementation and Benefits

Ferring standardized its CLM processes and tasks on Whatfix, offering in-app guidance to ensure a short onboarding time for new users. This increased the adoption of Icertis and provided a more engaging contract management experience for users.

To accomplish this, Ferring identified recurring user challenges and added Smart Tips in the CLM at instances where these challenges were typically encountered. As a result, users did not have to wait for help desk assistance, as their questions were immediately answered by an estimated 4,000 Smart Tips shown every day. This helped in creating a self-reliant culture and reducing the number of support tickets.

Ferring also launched a knowledge repository using Whatfix Self Help. CLM users can find pertinent documentation to address their troubleshooting issues and questions without leaving the application. In addition to driving productivity, this Self Help widget had an average search success rate of 96%.

The Smart Tips and Self Help widget were critical in reducing the number of support tickets by 33% in the first quarter of the launch. This enabled the Ferring team to prioritize significant initiatives, instead of fielding repetitive questions and resolving support tickets.

Additionally, Ferring used the Whatfix DAP in other user experience initiatives related to CLM. Flows were used to help end users learn an objective or complete a task through a series of actions.

"We connected these Flows with our learning management system so that each new user could engage with videos and other useful materials, replacing the unwieldy in-person training," Dusseau said. "With accessible and reliable 24/7 support, our user satisfaction grew considerably. Smart Tips, used 110 times per day, and Self Help, with a 96% successful search rate, created a much smoother process for Icertis users."

E-Signing Contracts

Contract signing is a critical step in the CLM process. Ferring’s Icertis platform was not integrated with its e-signature solution for a while after its implementation; moreover, 35% of all user touchpoints were from people who were unsure on how to get an agreement signed. Dusseau’s team had to repeatedly explain the steps to finalize document signings, highlighting the importance of connecting the CLM to their signature application.

Ferring connected Icertis to their e-signature platform before deploying Smart Tips, a knowledge repository and in-app hotspots (known as Beacons). This was done to educate users on submitting contracts for e-signature.

Ferring also conducted an Icertis user survey using Whatfix to improve user experience according to user-related insights and feedback.

Road Ahead

Ferring aims to capitalize on Whatfix’s user analytics to analyze how users use Whatfix during the contracting process. This is to determine the frequency at which users are active within the system, the features that are and are not used, areas causing user friction, and steps to improve user experiences while continuing to innovate the CLM process further. In the next phase, Dusseau said, Ferring will explore how Whatfix and Icertis AI can work together to help end users. The company will focus on analytics and user behavioral data to derive productive insights for overall business decision-making.

About the Author

Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira

Sr. Director - Editorial, ISMG

Pereira has nearly three decades of journalism experience. He is the former editor of CHIP, InformationWeek and CISO MAG. He has also written for The Times of India and The Indian Express.

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