Understanding CLM: Insights from the Pharma Industry with Angelina Bellanton

Welcome to another episode of Contract Heroes! This time around, we had a great conversation with Angelina Bellanton, the Senior Manager of Contracts and IP at Ikena Oncology and a veteran of the Agiloft system. Angelina told us all about her first-hand experiences implementing and working with Agiloft to improve contract success at not just one organization, but two! Read on to learn more.

Q: How did internal communication between departments benefit from implementing Agiloft?

Angelina explained that most companies start out with a repository and nothing more. Thus, handling contracts often takes place via email. This results in a lot of back and forth that wastes time for both parties and usually has them leaving the conversation without even obtaining the correct information that they needed in the first place.

Implementing a tool like Agiloft helps streamline this process. Any necessary information is always visible to all parties inside the Agiloft system. If the finance team needs a piece of information or wants to know where an agreement is currently located in the overall lifecycle, they can log into Agiloft and find out without having to consult anyone else via email.

Agiloft’s tracking abilities are also very useful for auditors. The system allows them to find a particular agreement and view its entire lifecycle from drafting to approval to signature all in one convenient place.

Q: How has Agiloft changed the way you “put out fires?”

Angelina mentioned that her day almost always starts with putting out a few fires. Ever since she has begun working with Agiloft, putting out those fires has gotten a lot easier. There was never a protocol in place for requesting information before, with most people just sending questions in the form of emails. Now, a year after implementation, there are fewer requests to handle, as most of the information anyone could need is already available to them inside the system. Overall, solving problems has become a more efficient process, saving both time and energy for Angelina and her whole team.

Q: How important is it to have a good contract intake form?

Angelina stressed the importance of a robust contract intake form. Before creating one in Agiloft, they tested a few different versions of the form in Google Docs. This allowed them to figure out what information they should prioritize, what types of questions to ask, etc. Even after incorporating the form into Agiloft, the process is still ongoing. However, Angelina mentioned that one of the nice things about Agiloft is that making changes to the form and other pieces of the system is extremely easy. The entire tool is very flexible and open to change along with their needs.

Q: How does Agiloft make contract compliance easier?

Creating approval workflows in Agiloft has been a huge help for Angelina’s organization. They’ve been able to automate requests, with the contract type and the amount associated with the agreement determining where it ends up. This made the lives of employees in both the finance and the legal teams much easier.

The reporting functionality that Agiloft offers has also been beneficial. It provides details that finance can use while closing one quarter and figuring out the budget for the next one.

Q: Are there any KPIs you find to be particularly useful?

Angelina explained that she has customized her dashboard to allow her to easily view the most pertinent information for the organization. Examples include:

  • Agreements that will be expiring soon.
  • Agreements in the drafting stage.
  • How many agreements are currently under review.
  • The amount of time it takes for approvals.
  • Turnaround times during the signature phase.


She has also been able to set up automated reports for the finance team. They can use them to quickly and easily double check the agreement information when making payments.

Q: Is it necessary to have one person managing the software for the organization?

According to Angelina, it’s important to put in time and effort if you want to really make the most of a CLM tool like Agiloft. Angelina is the main point of contact within her organization for daily usage issues or questions with the system. However, she remains in contact with their outside implementation as well. Communicating with the outside team is particularly useful for making larger changes to the system. 

Every month, Angelina holds meetings with the different departments that engage with Agiloft to see if there are any improvements they would like to make. As the organization grows and evolves, improvements like these are necessary to ensure that the CLM keeps up with both the current and future needs of the organization. For that reason, having a management official like Angelina is essential to keep the system updated to the ever-changing goals and needs of the business.

To close out our conversation, we asked Angelina to give us a few tips for anyone who is just starting out on their CLM journey. Here’s what she had to say:

  • Keep both your current and future needs in mind and look for a system that can grow with you to continue to meet business needs.
  • Put in the effort to find the right system now so you don’t have to go through the process again later.
  • Talk to stakeholders early on and get feedback from everyone in the organization, not just those in closest contact with the system.
  • Find a vendor or outside implementation team that works well with your own team.