In 2009, after a multi-year effort to centralize its contracting process,
Microsoft realized that its existing paralegal resourcing model for legal
contract review was not sustainable in the long term. There had been an
internal mandate to utilize a new purchase requisition system, which
resulted in an increased volume of procurement contract requests
flowing to the Global Contract Office (GCO) in the legal department.
Further, the new purchase order process resulted in ever more complex
transactions being forwarded to the GCO. As a result, Microsoft’s in-house
resources were dealing with an enormous and growing volume of
procurement contracts, including master services agreements and SOWs
from a variety of suppliers and service providers.
The turnaround time for legal review averaged three days per contract,
potentially delaying the procurement of needed goods and services.
With more than 10,000 procurement contracts passing through the
group, and this number set to increase, any delays had a significant
impact on the business. At the time, Microsoft’s internal legal contract
review resources had been in the same roles for 2-3 years and needed
career growth. They also needed the time to focus on the more complex
transactions now flowing into the GCO as compared to the growing
volume of routine procurement contracts. With ever-increasing volumes
of contract requests threatening to further strain resources, the GCO
realized they would not be able to keep up, even with the help of
temporary workers. The group required a new innovative approach that
would better align resources to business growth.
From July 2008 through January 2009, Microsoft initiated a dual study of
their current processes and the opportunities offered by outsourcing.
From the study, Microsoft learned that contract review follows
repeatable steps and that the high volume/low risk nature of certain
contracts made the work ideally suited to a legal process outsourcing
(LPO) provider. In addition to lowering resource costs, these factors
would also make it possible for an LPO provider to apply Six Sigma
practices and achieve improvements to the legal contract review
workflow while offering measurable performance metrics.
The study ultimately led to an RFP that compared vendors across
multiple key performance indicators. After a rigorous selection process,
Microsoft selected Integreon as its LPO partner in May 2009.
Integreon provided Microsoft a dedicated team of seven paralegals
based in Integreon’s Fargo, North Dakota, delivery center. Then, as now,
the team worked in a dedicated, locked-down area of the facility and
operated inside Microsoft’s firewall to maintain data security.
During implementation, Integreon worked with Microsoft to define the
key performance indicators and develop service level agreements that
ensured on-time, high-quality delivery. To ensure we strictly follow
Microsoft’s guidelines and processes, the Integreon team works from a
constantly updated “playbook”, an extensive, jointly-developed manual
that documents the entire legal review process. Developing the
playbook was an essential part of the collaboration between Microsoft
and Integreon throughout the on-boarding and knowledge transfer
period, a collaboration that continues today.
Because the Integreon team is dedicated to Microsoft, their familiarity
with client-specific systems, processes, culture and contract-related
particulars further streamlines the workflow and improves quality.
Integreon uses detailed monthly reports to track results and provide
valuable information for continuous improvement to Microsoft’s
contract review process. Quality is rigorously tracked through a wide
range of specific metrics, which include template selection, master
agreement references, outcome, contract consistency and other
mutually agreed-upon parameters.
As the dedicated team gained familiarity with Microsoft’s processes and
systems, they were able to provide insight that improved and
streamlined the overall contracting process. This has led to Integreon
helping Microsoft update its playbook and advising the company during
the development of a new proprietary procurement and contract
Initially, the team’s primary responsibility was to provide legal review of
procurement contracts. This included making a determination whether a
contract was required and, if so, subsequently drafting the contract. Over time,
the engagement has expanded to support almost 20,000 contracts per year.
Integreon has taken on greater volumes of work, and reviews contracts in
foreign languages that include: German, French, Spanish, Italian, Hindi,
Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.
To enable Integreon to provide multi-lingual services, we expanded the
Microsoft program into our delivery center in Bristol, UK. As the UK’s fifth-largest
city, Bristol is a bustling metropolis with a very diverse population. The
multicultural recruiting capabilities we’ve discovered in Bristol have helped
make us unique in the legal process outsourcing industry. Integreon is the only
LPO provider with a scaled, multi-lingual LPO delivery center, onshore in the