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This post was originally published February 2018.
There is no denying that clickthrough agreements (or clickwraps) have become both ubiquitous in our daily lives and a fundamental part of doing business. And for good reason: people expect transactions to happen fast, sometimes instantly, especially in online marketplaces, SaaS businesses, and mobile apps.
Slowing things down for contracts isn't an option. Businesses use clickthrough agreements to inject contracts seamlessly into their checkout flows, registration forms, and other moments of electronic engagement. However, a lack of workflow around your clickthrough agreements can expose your business to even more risk.
Contracting may sound simple, but think about the sheer scale of the traditional contracting process:
And the complexities add up exponentially for even a smaller online marketplace, SaaS or mobile businesses.
The common thread here: complete lack of workflow. At best, there might be a rough awareness of how and where to conduct various components of a clickthrough contracting process, but the cumbersome scale of legal events makes it difficult and overwhelming.
While clickthrough agreements are clearly a way to make contract acceptance seamless and high-velocity, clickthrough contracting doesn't necessarily adapt well to established norms and best practices for managing contract processes. You can't just make an update in Word, publish it to Sharepoint, and pull PDF or paper records when needed. Not only does this create a back-office, time-killing nightmare, but it creates all sorts of risk resulting from unenforceable contracts (just ask BMO Harris, Safeway, or Transunion).
Related: 3 reasons the PDF is bad for business.
If you are starting a clickthrough contracting process from scratch, the solution can be relatively straightforward. But building predictability into an already existing clickthrough contracting process can be a challenge, although we often see our customers do so successfully.
Include the following in your audit:
These steps will get you started creating an efficient and repeatable workflow. Keep in mind that this is not just about the ability to audit where your clickthrough agreements are being clicked. It's about what they say over time and the ability to quickly and accurately audit all clickable events associated with them.
To start this process, run a “Clickthrough Fire Drill”, in which various teams are tasked with modifying a set of clickthrough terms and quickly producing records of acceptance.
The results, while typically concerning (i.e., it takes much longer than anticipated), are a great way to drive home your lack of workflow and the pain that results from the absence of well-planned processes.
There is a tendency to not think through all of the actual stakeholders in the process (legal, contracts, procurement, engineering, architects, marketing, sales ops, etc). Carefully look into who is responsible for these components:
This can take some time, but we've seen it work well time and time again for our customers. Due to the sheer volume involved, elimination of manual processes is key to creating scalable clickthrough workflows. Figure out how you can automate and centralize all aspects of your clickthrough workflow. In addition to automation, consider establishing Service Level Agreements between stakeholders to hold everyone accountable and set clear expectations.
By improving your clickthrough workflow, you give yourself and your company peace of mind knowing what to do and how to do it. You'll have more control and insight over the entire process. You'll manage your risk better, which typically means less risk, and most importantly, you'll spend less time spent on a process that is intended to actually save you time!